Why Online Booking and Appointment Scheduling is essential to the future of your service business
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Why should you use a business and scheduling system for online appointment booking and business organisation? Every service business depends on two core aspects, providing services and scheduling those services appropriately. There are many more aspects to running any business, but the service industry revolves around those two core facets. When you run a company that provides services to others, you have to balance convenience for you and for your clients. Prioritising online booking couldn’t be more important to the future and expansion of your business.
There are many arguments in favour of online appointment booking— some focus on benefits to you, and others on benefits to your clients. I want to draw your attention to the combined advantage that organising your appointment booking system online can bring to your business.
Bookings at the heart of your business
When you provide services, you need a method of filling your appointment book. It’s easy to suggest that you can easily keep your business running with walk-in clients and that taking calls and fielding emails doesn’t take much out of your day. However, as your business grows and your regular clientele expands, you will find that you have more clients demanding the ability to book a specific slot in your schedule. As this demand grows, so too will the amount of time that you must spend fielding calls and responding to emails. How much of this time could you devote to paying clients if you were relieved of the burden?
When you start to organise your business in a way the prioritises the automation of appointment booking and cuts out the unnecessary wasting of time, you use your time and your working hours more efficiently. When you streamline the necessary process of appointment booking, you start along a path that assists the streamlining of many other business processes, and many of them you can organise and monitor with SimplyBook.me.
If we prioritise the time that you allocate to providing your services to your clients, reducing the time you spend organising the rest of your business becomes paramount.
Why your business begs for online booking
Appointment booking is at the heart of providing services. When you devote time to making appointments manually, either by phone or email, you take time away from paying customers. In a purely financial way, if you can devote the time you spend making appointments to paying clients, you make more money.
Taking this beyond your typical working day, when you aren’t available for answering phone calls or responding to emails, you can fill your available schedule slots without ever having to take time out of your home or private life. Even knowing that running your own business takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice, everyone needs downtime, or they’ll burn out.
Beyond the obvious benefits of saving time, making more money, and saving you from having to monitor contact channels at all hours, there are peripheral benefits too. While online booking saves time in making appointments, it also saves time on controlling your schedule.
When you manually arrange appointments, whether you write them in a ledger or an online calendar, it is time-consuming and not easily monitored. Let’s not even mention if you have to schedule several different calendars for multiple members of staff. When you use a system specifically designed to schedule and monitor appointments, monitoring, reporting, and tracking trends becomes a whole lot easier and quicker.
Why your clients are begging for online booking
For a moment, put yourself in the position of a client, it’s easy enough when you consider that you are a client for any services that you don’t provide. If you run a beauty salon, you probably still need to make appointments with your accountant, lawyer, personal trainer, cleaner, the list can go on. While you spend your day running your business and dealing with everything that entails when do you have the chance to call and make an appointment or email and wait for a response?
With most people working fulltime jobs, families with two working parents, and responsibilities extending beyond your operating hours, many clients find they don’t even remember to book appointments until businesses are closed for the day. The ability to schedule an appointment when the idea strikes is a primary benefit for busy working people.
Another reason that your clients want you to have an online booking system is that they can arrange an appointment that fits their schedule. There’s no negotiation involved. When a client calls or emails you for an appointment, they have to negotiate a slot that suits their needs. If a client can book online with a dedicated system, they can see which slots are available for their required service. If they have a specific time and date in mind, but that time isn’t possible, they can either rethink their schedule or find another provider. Alternatively, they can find another available slot that suits them.
How’s your response time?
Your clients demand convenience, but they also want a quick response. Do you know how many clients you may have lost because you couldn’t answer a call or respond to an email immediately? I don’t know. However, I do know that when I’ve needed a haircut before a significant event, and not received a timely response, I’ve looked elsewhere for a quicker response or online booking. With an online booking system, your clients can choose their slot, confirm the reservation, and make sure that you, and they, get a notification and reminder — an instant win.
Organising around your online booking and scheduling system
When one of the core facets of your business relies on appointment booking, you can then build your business organisation around that crucial element.
I’ve already talked about monitoring your calendars and reporting on your schedule. With a system that has appointment scheduling at the core of its development, you can report on many aspects of your business. How beneficial would it be to your expansion plans (physical location or staff numbers) if you could run reports on your most popular services or the number of cancellations you get. Without a lot of time and energy spent inputting that data manually, you can’t get a clear representation of that information.
In a different direction, when you open your business to online booking, you open your doors to those who search the internet for their providers. Smartphones, social media, and tech giants like Google make the online business more accessible, sharable and referable. The person searching for a great hairstylist, beautician, personal trainer, cleaner, or therapist is looking online. They are looking for someone easily accessible.
Easy Access = Easy Client Acquisition
Marketing your easy access becomes so much more straightforward when a client can go from finding you online to book an appointment in one easy step. Social media and Google also go a long way to providing social proof and sharing of positive reviews too.
In Summary… the benefits to you, your business and your clients
There are three basic takeaways that you should get from this article
- Client Acquisition
- Time is money – saving the first makes more of the second
- Worklife and Homelife – even as an entrepreneur you can have both
Even if you were on the fence about whether you wanted to implement online booking for your service business, the data speaks for itself. Your clients want it – everyone uses their phone and its associated search engine for all of their service and product needs. The fewer steps between finding a great service provider and cementing the immediate relationship (booking an appointment or meeting) the more likely a business is to secure that client.
Your business generates money by providing services. The less time you have to spend making appointments, generating reports, active marketing, answering phone calls and emails, monitoring workloads and schedules, the more time you can devote to providing services for which people pay you.
Starting and running a business is hard work that demands commitment and drive, but if you give all of yourself to the cause you will burn out before reaping the benefits of having your own business. Don’t do everything when you can lighten the load with dedicated software. You don’t need to watch the phones 24/7
We love our product and we’re sure that online booking can significantly help you and your business. Don’t take our word for it let our satisfied clients tell the story.