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“Make Me Look Busy” – How to use it and why it’s a good idea

Amie Parnaby
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Make me look busy

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Recently, SimplyBook.me released a much-requested feature for the booking system called “Make Me Look Busy”. If you asked for it, you probably know what it does. However, if you are new to the concept, let us enlighten you on the benefits of making your schedule look a little busier than it actually is.

What Does “Make Me Look Busy” Do?

It does precisely what it says. It makes your booking calendar look busier than it is. 

If you have a free day or perhaps with only one session booked, you can make it look like your services are more in demand than they appear. 

While businesses with usually regular clientele, and those who don’t have a problem with their booking pages looking empty, this feature isn’t for you. However, if you are a new business without the reach of a more established venture, you might want to give the impression that you have more bookings than in reality.

Another benefit of the Make Me Look Busy feature is that it displays the defined number of appointments available from opening to closing. For example, if you offer services taking an hour, your opening hours are 09-18:00, and you decide to display three available bookings that day. You would show availability at 9:00, 10:00 and 11:00. However, if your 11:00 slot is already booked, it will show 9:00, 10:00 and 12:00. Allowing you to fill up your available appointments from the beginning of the day to the end.

How to Set Up “Make Me Look Busy”

It’s a straightforward set-up and will apply to all your services and providers. Navigate to the Custom Features section of your SimplyBook.me interface and search for “make me look busy”. Click on the feature and read the information there.

Just like this:

make me look busy in custom features

Enable the feature and define the number of bookings you want to show as available every day – In the examples, I chose three. Like so:

enable make me look busy

NB Remember, this is not the same as defining your working hours. You just want to reduce the number of choices available to people booking through your website. Even when the original three are eventually booked, it will still show three available slots until your schedule is too full to accommodate three bookings.

Once you have defined the number of available slots to your preferred number, remember to save the information. Then go to your booking page and check your available booking times. On the right, the three available slots are 14:00, 15:00, and 16:00. I booked the 15:00 appointment and then tried again. There are still three slots available, but they now show 14:00, 16:00, and 17:00

Make me look busy is incompatible with flexible timelines, so you may want to switch to modern or slots if you’re going to use this feature. – you will find those in the Design Settings in the settings menu. The examples above use the Modern Timeline

If you want a detailed breakdown of how “make me look busy” works and the nuances, you can find detailed information and screenshots in the help centre.

But Why Do I Want to Look Busy?

You might be asking this question right now. Surely you want to be available for anyone who wants to book an appointment with you. What is the point of making my calendar look busy?

Add a Little Human Psychology

We are interesting and complex creatures, yet also entirely predictable. Some things many of us humans do when faced with an unusual situation. Such as a well-advertised but new salon with an empty calendar.

We have certain little switches in our brains that react in very primitive ways, like most of the animal kingdom. And despite our seeming civilisation, we are still animals in the most primitive parts of our brains.

So faced with an empty calendar, we do several things

  • Assume the worst-case scenario (go on, admit it)
  • Get overwhelmed with decision paralysis (too many choices, how do I decide?)
  • Lose urgency (there’s plenty of space/time, I can wait to book an appointment)
  • Eventually, forget… (you don’t want this)

And right there, you have the answer. 

Yes, there is such a thing as being too available.

You don’t have to be a business owner to answer a simple question;

“What do you think of a business with an almost completely empty calendar?”

  • That they aren’t in demand?
  • Don’t people like their services?
  • Perhaps it is a new business?
  • Perhaps they’re no longer in business and haven’t deleted their booking site?

Answer #1 – You don’t want to look like a poor business person or like you aren’t in business.

A new business is one of the four possibilities I suggested above, but the other three negative ones are more likely to jump into your potential clients’ heads – we are human, and it’s one of those things we do, assume the worst.

Answer #2 – You want to appear “In Demand”

You won’t get more bookings if you don’t look like you have any to start with. Businesses with empty calendars make new clients link the worst. They lose confidence in their choice to try out someone new.

Answer #3 – You don’t want to paralyse your clients with choices

You don’t want your clients to get overwhelmed with options. When faced with an empty calendar and no definitive idea of when they want an appointment, people will start thinking about other things:

  • What else do I have to do that day?
  • Where will I be?
  • When do I want my [insert service] done?
  • What else do I need?

When people start thinking about other things, they become more important than the reason they visited your booking site in the first place.

This then leads to the following answer.

Answer #4 – You want to create an urgent need for clients to book there and then. Don’t let them leave and then forget about you.

If people leave, they will likely forget about booking that appointment. When they have zero competition for the appointment they want with you, they have no sense of urgency to book. However, if they see you only have 3 (or whichever number you decide is best) open slots for the day they want, they will most likely book the one that best suits their needs and rearrange anything else to fit.

But you have secured the booking, and they have not gone away and forgotten about you.

There you have it! Four reasons to “make me look busy”, and I have another one to add;

Answer #5 Encourage people to book their next appointment after their service to ensure they get the time they want.

If you consistently show a lack of bookings at some of the clients’ preferred times, encourage them to book their next appointment as soon as the first is completed. You can book them any time; only the public face of your website will show a maximum number of free bookings.

So quick! Look busy! Nothing makes people want something more than the possibility that they might not be able to have it. Looking busy will help you cultivate a sense of urgency and scarcity that can really help in marketing your business.

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