…and a few you might want to try
If personalisation is the name of the game between you and your clients, why wouldn’t the same apply for you? No two businesses operate identically. Consequently, a one-size-fits-all approach to any business management tool is not appropriate or even viable for how you run your business. You could have a software developer create a custom made scheduling system for your needs. However, that doesn’t allow for company growth or changing circumstances, and it’s a costly option. Alternatively, you can use an existing system. One that thousands of other businesses have approved, you can customise to your needs, and adapt as your company grows. To build the scheduling platform that works best for your business, you need a suite of custom features that you can mix and match to reflect your needs.
So What are Custom features?
The core SimplyBook.me system provides a functional online scheduling website with simple, easy access to appointment booking for your clients. For a small business with not many bookings per month, no need for special extras, just a simple process for booking an appointment is all that’s necessary. However, we still include an option to have one custom feature.
Custom features are the add-ons that expand your appointment scheduling platform’s functionality, both for your business streamlining and enhancing your clients’ customer experience.
The 6 Most Popular Custom Features
Across all service industries that use the SimplyBook.me booking system, several custom features hit the popularity buttons. The Top 6 appear in the most popular features of more than half the service business categories we serve.
Accepting payments can be crucial to ensuring that your calendar appointments are definitely (or almost) guaranteed clients. Studies have shown that clients who pay in advance are least likely to cancel or not show up. Alternatively, when so many companies want to offer all online or hybrid services, accepting online payments is critical to receiving your fees.
Whatever service you provide, you can make the appointment go much more smoothly if you get difficult questions or essential information out of the way within the booking process with intake forms. Whether you want to know what your client expects from your appointment, or you need to know about allergies and medical conditions that might affect your session, getting this information before the scheduled appointment makes things run much more smoothly.
If your business is doing well enough to operate in multiple locations, this feature might be just the thing you need. Set up staff and service schedules in various locations and let your clients choose the site that works best for them.
When you set up different sites, your client will only see services available in their chosen location. This will cut down on location mix-ups, and you can separate different facets of your business.
Point of Sale (POS):
The integrated point of sale feature works with your SimplyBook.me scheduling website to allow for onsite payments, and linking them will online bookings. Having a POS feature connected with your bookings enables you to maintain full records of bookings and payments. The POS system also allows you to create a booking in the scheduling system on the spot for walk-in clients and ad-hoc services. Even your spontaneous clients are logged in your system so you can report on it later.
Membership sales have multifaceted uses. While you can use membership sales to restrict specific services to members only, you can also allocate membership to loyal customers and offer them preferential rates.
Clients can purchase and book memberships through the booking website. Alternatively, you can create and allocate membership status through the admin interface.
Coupons & Gift Cards:
Coupons and gift cards are a significantly popular feature within the marketing suite. Discount coupons with either a monetary value or percentage “off” are super simple marketing re-engagement tools for lapsed customers and easily added to email marketing campaigns. Conversely, printed versions of the same coupon can be useful at promotional events to gain new clients.
The same functionality that enables unique identifiers also allows your clients to gift your services to others.
Custom Features for Specialised Industries
You can find the top ten most popular custom features by business category in the help centre. It will help you define the most critical elements that could assist your online scheduling and management.
Several beneficial custom features only appear in specific business categories. There are some features we only released in the past year. These haven’t had the time or widespread usage to appear in the most commonly used plugin lists but will become invaluable in the upcoming months.
For obvious reasons, this one only really shows up in medical services, where patient confidentiality is paramount to maintaining a medical license. However, using the HIPAA function is useful in both medical and paramedical environments where sensitive information is legally protected.
Purchasing a custom domain is all about ensuring a transparent and clear brand identity. Strangely, this custom feature only shows in the top ten for the sports and fitness industry. However, promoting strong brand identity, through having a dedicated and company-specific website domain name, it valuable for so many businesses.
Client Mobile App:
Our newest custom feature release is the dedicated mobile client app. As we only released it at Christmas (and half the globe has been under lockdown conditions in January), this feature has not yet had a chance to appear on the most popular custom feature list. We don’t doubt it will become one of the most popular and beneficial plugins because everyone uses their phone to manage their lives.
Another plugin that sports and fitness businesses use is class offering. Quite often this custom feature shows up frequently in fitness companies with a class-centred fitness regime, such as fitness and yoga studios – as well as online live classes – rather than sports and fitness businesses that offer self-regulated or individual training.
Alternatively, offering classes could be extremely useful for coaches, educational institutions, and even event managers.
I’ll keep saying it; blogging is a super valuable content marketing tool. That’s why we have a custom feature designed to allow you to blog on your booking website.
As a new feature in the early months of lockdown, this feature hasn’t had a chance to shine. While it was a perfect plugin to ensure only validated ticket holders could enter capacity restricted premises. However, the ticket feature’s real value will be evident in rebuilding the events and entertainment industry. Additionally, it will still be beneficial in vaccination and testing businesses. Sadly they will be with us for some time to come.
Customisation Doesn’t Always Mean Paying.
The customisation of your SimplyBook.me system doesn’t necessarily have to cost you. One of the system’s core tenets is the security of both our client’s data and their client’s data. Except for the HIPAA (patient data protection) feature, all the security enhancements available on SimplyBook.me are free to use. Whatever you need to do to keep client information secure is not an added extra; it’s necessary.
We have other plugins we think should be freely available. Custom CSS allows you the most design freedom to change your company website’s appearance. If you already have a look in mind, Custom CSS helps you make it a reality without compromising system functionality. Also, HTML description fields are not charged as a part of your subscription fee.
There are also business-enhancement features that help you in your system’s setup and management. Importing clients from an existing database could be time-consuming, but uploading a file to the system makes it easy. The Custom Domain feature is also a “free” feature, in that we don’t count it as a subscription custom features. However, you pay a one time set up fee for our developers to transfer your booking website to your custom domain (or sub-domain). You also have to buy your preferred domain name.
Test the Features for 14 days
One of the main reasons for offering the 14-day free trial, with almost all of our custom features available, is so that you can get a feel for the system. What your business needs now, what you might need in the future, and how you can make life easier.
Another reason for the 14-day trial is to let you see how the system works for you. Which features do you need? Which ones can you live without? How many bookings do you need in a month? The list goes on, but you get the gist. You get to decide how much you need and balance the cost of your subscription with the time saved and other benefits of an online booking system.
From the side hustle to the growing empire, every business that depends on scheduling needs a set of tools. With over 60 custom features in our box of scheduling system building blocks, we’re sure there is something for everyone.