Managing your business's appointments is more than just keeping your staff's calendar up to date and allowing clients, customers, and patients to book online. In reality, you have to accommodate emergency bookings, reschedule someone on short notice, rearrange calendars to manage no-shows, and more. Appointment scheduling apps remove the manual, repetitive work associated with managing schedules and let you focus on growing your business.
Once you pick your appointment scheduler, make the most of it by automating your scheduling. Here are 4 scheduling automation workflows to make booking easy, including things getting all new clients into your CRM or automatically sending follow-up emails after an appointment.
The best appointment scheduling and booking software
- Bookafy for all around flexibility and feature set
- Acuity Scheduling for customization
- Appointlet for scheduling appointments for free
- Setmore for native apps and integrations
- SimplyBook.me for international businesses
- vcita for managing customer relationships
- Genbook for optimizing your schedule
On the backend, you enter parameters about when people can book certain services, based on the business hours you set as well as the times and dates that your staff or other resources are available. The app also prevents double booking and over-booking, and gives you the flexibility to block off times when certain services may be unavailable. Say you run a pet grooming business and your poodle cutting specialist takes a two-week vacation. You can enter her days off in the appointment scheduling app ahead of time so that your clients won't be able to book any poodle grooming time during the days that she's gone.
What makes a great appointment or booking app? Booking apps do more than simply give clients a list of available times when they can come in for a meeting, treatment, or service. They also let your clientele cancel and reschedule appointments without having to contact you. Additionally, they make it easy for business owners and managers to do their jobs, allowing you to streamline communication, centralize payments, and manage your staff. Here's what you should expect from the very best appointment scheduling apps:
- Flexibility. Your business is one of a kind. The best appointment scheduling apps know that different kinds of organizations have different needs. Therefore, they let you deeply customize how your bookings work. A small gym offering one-on-one training sessions should have a different booking experience than a community workshop that rents gardening equipment. Do you want your clients to be able to choose from a menu of services? Should they be able to specify the location for their appointment, such as for services offered at their home? The best appointment scheduling apps let you customize these aspects.
- Calendar syncing. Nearly all appointment scheduling apps let you sync with a calendar. Some even require it. That way, you can see your business's scheduled appointments alongside other important information, such as when you'll be closed for holidays or renovations.
- Payment processing. The best appointment scheduling apps let you collect a payment at the time of booking. That way, you can take a deposit for an appointment or have clients pay for their services upfront. If a client doesn't show up, your business isn't at a total loss.
- Multiple points of access. Once you set up an appointment scheduling service, how will your clients access it? The best apps give you options. Likely you'll want to embed some code into your website to display the appointment scheduler, but you might also prefer a custom URL with all the booking tools in one place. Maybe you have a Facebook business page but no other website. In that case, you'll want to be able to integrate the booking tools on Facebook. Whatever your situation, the more options the better.
- Text Reminders. Automated text reminders are a must, and having the flexibility to send multiple reminders in different intervals is very important when looking for an appointment reminder app.