April has been an exciting and busy month for us, with new feature releases and enhancements to existing custom features that have been on our request list for a while.
What’s more, vaccination programs worldwide are making headway into inoculating their populations. Over 2 million NHS vaccination appointments have already been booked via the SimplyBook.me platform. Whether you agree with it or not, vaccine programs are paving a path for us to get our lives and relationships back on track, families to come together again, and maybe even a holiday in our foreseeable future… fingers crossed.
While we wait for these things to take effect, let’s see what we brought to the SimplyBook.me system in April.
What’s new in April
Let’s take a look at what we have released this month for your improved SimplyBook.me experience.
Medical Testing custom feature
Everywhere has stepped up their testing regime to ensure early detection of the COVID-19 virus and isolate those infected with the minimum opportunity for transmission. However, COVID isn’t the only reason that people have medical testing. This month’s new feature is most appropriate for the medical sector, enabling follow-up interaction with patients after medical testing.
This Medical Testing Custom Feature works as follows:
- QR code created on booking for a test.
- On arrival for the test, the QR code is scanned, and the examination completed.
- Clients awaiting test results will a notification update on their results via a status change to their booking. “positive/negative/inconclusive” or terminology of choice.
New functionality in API
If you use the API and the enterprise system, you might like to know about the new function for generating detailed booking reports. To reduce the number of API calls your system needs to make, it is possible to pull all booking details with a single call. It is also possible to use filters and returns the data in JSON format.
Marketing Suite Updates
Marketing your business is crucial to its success, so we want to do as much as possible to help you with that process. New additions to the Marketing suite are as follows:
- Have you seen the new layout for the marketing suite? Easy to locate all the best marketing tools for your business in one place.
- Option to add Facebook event tracking pixel to the ‘success page’ of user booking pages. Allowing you to track the number of Facebook leads that end with a completed booking. It uses the same method of connection as the Google Analytics tracking code.
Enhancements to the Client Booking Calendar
While not extremely common, we know that some of our clients have services that extend beyond midnight. Previously, it has not been possible to extend buffer time beyond working hours, nor has it been easy to configure the related resources feature to accommodate bookings beyond midnight. It’s been fixed!
- If you use buffer time before or after each service appointment, you can now allow that buffer time to extend beyond the working hours. If you have a 15-minute buffer after a 60-minute appointment, you can now have a meeting that begins an hour before you close, but it will not carry the buffer time over to the following morning.
- Update to the related resources feature means that you can now allocate resources to appointments across consecutive days.
Small Booking Page Enhancement
A slight enhancement to the booking site home page will be the sign-up link. Another request from our fabulous users – if anyone knows how to make the experience better, it’s the people who use it.
Previously, we have always displayed the sign-up or login link at the end of the booking process. However, sometimes it would be better for clients to log in first before browsing or making a booking or purchase. Some examples might be for services and products only available to those with a login, membership, or booking history. Additionally, it helps out the business if they have sign-up information and the client fails to follow through on their booking. It’s great for retargeting and email marketing.
Coming up in May & Beyond
And now, let’s see what we have on the schedule for May. Okay, we know it doesn’t always happen, but you’d rather we got rid of all the bugs before landing you with a sub-standard feature that doesn’t work correctly.
Enterprise Users! Some significant updates to your systems
For your convenience and comprehensive payment process, we will only invoice for your cluster once on the 1st of the month. Enterprise clients can make additional purchases in his cluster during the whole month, such as extra subscriptions, SMS, or iBOB credits. The information is checked and verified by your cluster account manager, and you can start using the purchased options. You will only pay for those options on your next monthly invoice. On the 1st of the month, we will generate an invoice, and it will require payment within five days.
Improved Reporting Functionality
We’re updating the report export process to make it more functional. Some reports hold a lot of data and can take some time to compile, so we’ll show notifications when export is in progress and then send a message when the export is complete – no more waiting around for the report to finish. We will also send a download link to the exported data. We’re are also adding the option to export to CSV (comma separated values) format.
Custom Email Custom Feature
It’s been a common request for an easy and functional way to create beautiful Html email templates for mass mailing to clients. Well, good news! It’s in development right now.
Coming soon, a new way to create your emails to clients with simple Drag & Drop functionality to design mobile-optimised responsive emails. This integration will allow users to customise their company emails (reminders, notifications etc.). We have already created several predefined email templates for starters, and more will be ready soon.
It’s in another round of testing right now to iron out some wrinkles, but as soon as we can, we’ll get you some gorgeous mailing templates.
Yes, we are still going on about security – it’s an ongoing and constantly changing process.
- “Log out from all devices” functionality – Each user session will be stored separately, and an admin can end sessions individually or all together with a single click. There will also be an “auto-log-out option after a predefined idle interval added to the security custom feature.
- If 2FA is enabled and set, we need to require a one-time security code (GA or SMS) when the user changes their password, email, or access level. In response to the OWASP recommendations.
Every few years, OWASP revises its list of the top 10 web application security vulnerabilities. Their list includes the OWASP top ten threats and the potential impact of each exposure, and how to avoid them. Check out the most recent one here.
Just in case you missed it…
We’ve had some inspiring topics covered this month by our guests on business development,marketing , or how to improve your business. Our most recent guest post from Sumit Gupta at Deploy Yourself had some clear insights into what makes a good coach. Perhaps there is something you might need to work on to improve your services? In the same vein as coaching and training, Arslan Haider from MediaHicon shared some of the best WordPress themes for online e-learning modules.
For improved marketing processes, you might want to know how often to post on Facebook, above some of the other social media platforms – they all have different optimal posting schedules. Alternatively, you might want to step up your client reengagement with a targeted email approach. One of our regular guest posters from Ring Central had some information about using chatbots to improve lead conversion rates. There’s a lot of helpful information. For those of you in the beauty business, Anand Srinivasan gave us some fantastic and informative resources for creating an inbound marketing funnel for your salon.
Did you know that having an effective loyalty system is a massive draw when it comes to attracting new clients? Maybe it’s time to start your loyalty program.
In response to the more newsworthy data breaches in the news recently, we thought it would be good to address them. Within the SimplyBook.me system, there are several methods for maintaining data protection and cybersecurity. However, one that doesn’t get the attention it deserves is the password security tools. That’s why we have both a video and a supporting article. We also have a comprehensive guide to cybersecurity for small businesses. They are as vulnerable to a data breach as large companies, with far fewer resources and far more severe consequences.
There are a few trends that you might want to keep an eye on for the future. “X by appointment” became necessary throughout the pandemic, but some industries will be taking it beyond the recovery period. The clients have come to expect and demand the new provision. One such industry is finance and making an online booking for your banking needs. You might want to stay tuned for how appointment booking will impact other industries not traditionally needing a scheduled visit. The next one will be retail, and it’s so much more than social distancing.