A growing number of service-oriented businesses, such as hair salons, barbers, personal trainers, massage spas and health spas, are utilizing online appointment scheduling and are changing the way they interact with their customers. Because many of these appointment systems are mobile-friendly, people are able to connect with these businesses wherever they already are, providing the 24/7 convenience today’s consumers demand. Allowing your customer to connect with you at any time of the day will keep them coming back.
Depending on your business’ needs and which system is selected, the many advantages of utilizing online appointment scheduling can include the following:
- Saving time spent booking appointments
- Needing fewer staff members to manage appointments.
- Easier management of staff schedules. Booking is real-time and staff is immediately notified when an appointment has been scheduled for them.
- Flexibility to choose when to collect payment: upfront collection at time of booking, or after services have been delivered.
- Clients are notified of cancellation policies and any fees incurred.
- Automated reminders to clients reduce the number of no-shows, which costs some organizations several thousands of dollars each year. By switching to online scheduling, some see a 50% or greater reduction in no-shows.
- Business or financial reports can be generated and provide informative data such as the number of no shows, the number of appointments each staff member completes, comparisons of location-to-location productivity, or the number of appointments that were booked because of a marketing promotion.
- Be integrated with back-office software to reduce amount of time spent on bookkeeping.
These benefits would be attractive to most companies, and especially to small businesses with limited staff resources. But the positive returns from using online scheduling do not end there.
Businesses will also notice:
- People spend so much of their time online and appreciate companies who make it convenient to do business with them. There’s no waiting, as often happens with phone scheduling and they can book appointments at any time of the day.
- Integrating your booking system with social media makes it convenient for people to make bookings when they’re already on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
- Include Customer Review integration to encourage NEW customers to book the first appointment with you online!
- Encourage customers to return, sooner. Send seasonal deals, or a birthday greeting with a coupon. Set these up once and let them run automatically.
- Online booking makes your business available 24/7, allowing you to receive more bookings than you would via phone. You can also offer items your customers can purchase like gift certificates, promotional items or services, while they are booking their appointment.
- The calendar would also show you where there are gaps between appointments. You can utilize the time with special demonstrations or promotions that can be marketed ahead of time.
- You can also assign resources (like a room or equipment) to specific services to help you prevent duplicate booking.
- Fewer overhead costs because the need for a person(s) to handle reservations is eliminated.
Technological advances have changed consumer expectations and customers have become accustomed to getting what they want sooner than later. They appreciate businesses that provide services quickly, at a time or location that is always convenient; positive experiences with these businesses will encourage customers to return time and time again and they, in turn, will influence others to do the same.
Ready to get started with online appointment scheduling for your business? Fill out our checklist and send to UmeWorks to start discussing your business’ scheduling needs.