Appointment Scheduling Software – The Ultimate Guide

This guide will be covering what exactly is an appointment scheduling software, what’s it’s used for, the benefits compared to similar solutions in the market.

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What is appointment scheduling software?

The term “Appointment Scheduling software” naturally characterizes itself as an application that manages the way you schedule your appointments. The appointment scheduling software falls under three kinds: Desktop applications, Web Application, and Mobile applications.

According to Wikipedia:

“Appointment scheduling software or meeting scheduling tools allows businesses and professionals to manage appointments and bookings.”

A professional scheduling software comes with a customizable business calendar that is integrated with your personal calendar and makes sure that your appointments aren’t overbooked. Some applications provide features of sending notifications to their customers or their staff members via email or SMS.

Most of the cases, the appointment scheduling software is sold using the Software As A Service model. They primarily focus on eradicating the old-fashioned way of scheduling, usually through phone calls.

Why do you need an appointment scheduling software?

In the past few years, the information technology revolution has transformed the way we see things. Everything is now getting commercialized online. And to mark your presence in the market is very important. Most people are using various apps on the web and mobile for multiple tasks, and scheduling appointments is not any exemption.

Appointment schedule software is conquering almost every domain at a rapid pace, such as medical, spa and salon, fitness studios, etc.

According to the recent survey by finances online over 90% of the millennials book appointments online.

“Not just that, the global scheduling software market continues to expand. It is expected to encounter a compound yearly growth rate of 15.1% within the year 2024, with its total market value approaching $360 million. The United States continues to have the largest share in the market by surmounting 40% of the market.”

Appointment scheduling software has become popular in modern times as they offer accessibility, responsiveness, and a reliable cloud-based platform that can be accessed from anywhere making it cost-efficient and time conserving.

Types of appointment scheduling

Appointments scheduling software comes in many variants that are customizable, it is basically a web-based platform to book your appointments on the website in a very secure and convenient manner.

Let’s look into the different varieties of appointment scheduling.

1. One-on-One Bookings

When you are running a business that relies on clients’ appointments, you know the effort it takes to plan and manage the calendar and make your appointments precisely.

One on One online booking will allow your clients to go online on your business’s website and book the appointments efficiently according to their best match of time and date. Once the appointment is booked, Sync with your calendar.

2. Membership Bookings

Members are always the pulse of fundraising efforts for your organization.

Tracking membership activities and their history give benefits to the organization for their next visit. Whether you are managing a single appointment or multiple appointments scheduling, membership will always make your business secure.

To subscribe for monthly or yearly membership booking, you don’t even need a membership card as everything is wrapped into the software, which makes it more reliable and comfortable for the users.

3. Group bookings

Finding time in a tight schedule is always a challenging task for the scheduling businesses. But when it comes to group bookings of services, it’s still favourable for the company.

The phrase “All for one and one for all” may define it as well.

Group Bookings allows the company to do its business on a large scale for multiple users, which is always beneficial. Although keeping track of all the bookings at the same time might be a difficult task, it unfolds a powerful asset to the business. Thus booking your appointment online to a large scale will always help you to make it easier and more successful.

Group bookings will help you to fasten the speed of booking without sending too many emails for every user back-and-forth and spending a lot of time for prior online bookings. An automated reminder will be sent before the scheduled time through the synced calendar to your attendees.

4. Event bookings

The event management industry has grown enormously in the past decade. But the management is not always everyone’s cup of tea. It takes a lot of time and effort to plan a perfect and organized event. And for every event planning, you also need to schedule the things accordingly.

Gone are the days when you need to roam everywhere and plan for a perfect place, timings, and dates according to the event’s needs. The clients can do registrations, coordination, and scheduling of their activities according to their requirements.

You can easily have a track of how many people attended your event, how many didn’t, and above all, you store all their details from the intake forms and can reach out to them in the future.

5. Facilities or, Resource Bookings

Resource booking is a crucial step in project management. It involves various prospects for the clients to book the facilities for their event’s or project’s needs.

It may include identifying the constraints, fixing the deadlines, fulfilling the client’s demands, and keeping track of the future availability of resources. Resource booking may be a difficult choice for your business, but it’s very promising for future benefits.

An online resource booking system will help the users to book the resources according to the requirements of the project or events. Online booking of the resources will save time for your clients rather than searching for the available resources manually. And by booking online, you can have a clear picture of the resources and can deploy them effectively and efficiently.

Essential features for online booking system

1. Employee and Customer management

Employee management is a unique feature that is provided only in premium scheduling software. This feature helps business admins monitor their staff through their calendar in real-time. The employee management is a trait to any appointment scheduling software as: You know which employee is opted by your customers the most so that you can give him/her a performance bonus and by always making that particular staff available for your customers gives your customers complete satisfaction over your firm. You can also track the time spent by your employees for your business and much more. The base of any online booking application that provides client management is to send the updates to your customers about their booking statuses such as a confirmation or a cancelation mail, etc..

2. Appointment reminders

Sending automatic reminders and notifying your clients either through emails or SMS of their current or the upcoming bookings is one of the essential features of any appointment scheduling software as it is the solution to avoiding no shows. Sending your clients an email notification regarding their meeting details is also a necessary feature.

3. Calendar Integration

Your business calendar integrated with your personal calendar to avoid overlaps with your existing booking is the best feature that any appointment scheduling software can provide. These business calendars also enable you to create meetings directly from your calendar that is visible to your employees.

4. Real-Time Automated Engine

It allows you to immediately confirm or deny an appointment after making an appointment request. Your clients can access your appointment services from anywhere from any device.

5. Payment processing

Lets you process your payments online, using the latest payment integrations such as PayPal, Razorpay, Stripe, etc. This is an interactive feature that lets your customer pay from anywhere. It becomes easy for you to track the booking revenue and enables you to sort your premium clients too. If you can view all this from a single dashboard it gives better insights into your business. These are the few essential features for any appointment scheduling software.

Only Scheduling Software Is Not Enough?

As a famous saying goes,

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities.”

You will know your priority only if you have a CRM built in your appointment scheduling software; thus, “Having an appointment scheduling software is Worth in your business, but having a CRM built into it is a great Asset.”

CRM is an acronym for Customer Relationship Management.

Customer relationship management is a strategy that helps businesses better organize and access customer data. It’s a platform that connects marketing to sales to customer service and organizes their notes, activities, and metrics into one distinct way. Having an idea of what your customer requires is very important for any business to grow.

Appointment Scheduling software + CRM = 3x Business Growth.

It is because you will know the flavor of each customer, and you can handle them the way they want to be handled, say, for example, John is a dancer. He requires a professional teacher who teaches him to advance hip hop dance only on weekends between 5 pm to 7 pm. As John being your premium customer you don’t want to lose him, so you write a note saying this:

CRM will help you keep your customer at the fore of everything that your company does. Next time you know that John is looking for Hip Hop Dance and loves coming on the weekends, and is our premium client, next time John would prefer to go to your dance studio than others because you treat him the way he wants him to be treated.

These are just a few examples that you need to look for in your appointment scheduling software with a built-in CRM.

How to choose the right appointment scheduling software

what is appointment scheduling software

Now you would have understood what an appointment scheduling software is, but choosing the right appointment scheduling software for your business is very crucial.

You need to be very clear in what you want and narrow down your thoughts by going through any of the above SaaS appointment scheduling software reviews.

1. Write down your needs.

You need to do a bit of internal evaluation and ask yourself a few questions by defining your current and future business needs.

  1. What kind of appointment scheduling software do you require?
  2. Do you need a business calendar?
  3. How much customization do you require?
  4. What are your Integration requirements?
  5. What are your pricing limitations?
  6. Who will be handling your services?
  7. How many staff accounts will you need?
 

All these questions will help you find out what kind of appointment scheduling software you will need to run your business.

2. Try multiple appointment scheduling software

Take a note of the software that you think satisfies all your needs.

Trying out multiple appointment scheduling software will give you a better insight into what are the products that are available in the market and what are unique features that each software provides. But remember not to divert from your requirements, don’t let the product decide your needs.

 

3. Take product demos

By requesting a demo, you will be able to unbox many features that you would have left exploring, as they are the product experts in and out of the application.

After you, demo select a hand full of the best software that you think is satisfying your requirements and take a trial on it. Most of the appointment scheduling apps give you seven day trials, which is more than enough to make your decision.

Remember: “Try It Before You Buy It.”

Free appointment scheduling software

In the market, you will find a couple of appointment scheduling software that provides you the application for free, but remember something that comes for free isn’t that effective.

You can always set your priority either you want quality booking software or an appointment scheduling software that gives you free access for a couple of months and then traps you paying an immense sum of money.

The other way to look into this is that we would not admire the product of free.

Remember: “People value what they pay for.”

This phrase is very beautifully explained in an article from business insider which say,
“Understand that people value what they pay for. You’re not doing them a disservice by charging them, you’re actually doing a profound service for the people who want to take action.”

Yet you can try out the free scheduling software, use it for some time, but they aren’t worth relying upon as minimal features in any free appointment scheduling software are provided.

Before you jump into any free scheduling software, ask yourself, are you going to stick on tho this software forever? If not, then don’t opt for it as migrating from one domain to another can be tricky, and you may lose SEO traffic if you don’t Handle your data correctly. By choosing the premium software, you may start up small but can expand with no pain, as you will not have to migrate to another application.

Pricing of appointment scheduling software

The global market of appointment scheduling software is expected to reach $546.31 million by 2026 from $205.85 million in 2018, rising at a CAGR(Compound annual growth rate) of 13.1% from 2019 to 2026 as they provide ease of usability and increase in demand for mobility to the customer.

High technologies such as cloud, machine learning, API integrations, etc. are giving pave to the business of appointment scheduling. Based on the features that you opt for, the price of the software may vary from $9 to $400 per month. These scheduling software firms charge for different plans on a monthly and yearly basis.

Most people are likely to consider pricing as their decision making factor, which usually is not the best practice that we would suggest as mentioned before, you value the product that you pay for and not for something that comes for free.

We have researched and compiled a report on the cost and plan offerings of scheduling software available in the market of 2020.

How to design your online booking website

Most of the appointment scheduling software they provide you a subdomain or a custom domain for your customer to make their appointments, or if you already have a stunning website you can always opt for the plugin option, so think twice before you invest in any of the appointment scheduling software and check if they are proving any such feature. 

Some of the best software providers have an inbuilt template which is usually customizable, sometimes they even give you the provisions to set your own font, display image and much more to suit your needs and reflect your company brand.

Remember your booking page is very important, so try making it as impressive as you are, make use of the best keywords so that your clients can find you in the very first place on Google. It’s essential to make sure you are always updating your services and your onboarding process is very simple.

On your booking page, you can also integrate with your preferred payment gateway such as Stripe, Razorpay, PayPal, etc. By blending these popular gateways your customer has full faith in you.

Keep an eye on the intake forms on your booking site, try grabbing all the possible information that you need from your customer so that next time it is easy for you to contact them.

Closing thoughts

“Life is a matter of choice, every choice you make makes you.” Hope you found this guide useful. Remember, it’s all about understanding your needs and making the right choice on software that meets your requirements. Appointment scheduling has a vast variety of essences, it isn’t necessary that your flavor should match the top resource out there. Master your thought and understand the different offerings of each application and make a wise choice. We hope you found this guide useful, you can take a look at our FAQs for clarity or simply write back to me at [email protected]

FAQs

1. What is appointment scheduling software?

Appointment scheduling software is a web-based platform to book your appointments on an application or website in a very secure and convenient manner.

2. What is the difference between Online Booking Sites and Appointment Scheduling Applications?

Online booking sites are specifically designed for booking a single service, mostly like movie tickets, air tickets, etc. In contrast, an appointment scheduling software is where you can schedule for various services related to your personal or professional needs, such as one on one booking, group bookings, event booking, resource bookings, etc..

3. Is Appointment scheduling software secured?

Yes! Most of the appointment scheduling applications assure 100% security and safe transactions using the latest cloud-based technologies.

4. Will my scheduling platform have a mobile application?

It depends on the platform you are using. Some of the appointment scheduling services may have mobile applications such as Acuity Scheduling, Mindbody, Gigabook, etc. for ease of use, and some of the business will just run on web applications, although you can make your booking from your web application too.

5. Before what time is a meeting reschedulable?

The time limitation for rescheduling the appointment may differ from one application to another. Some appointment-scheduling software lets you frame your reschedulable time. Some have limitations over it. Usually, you can reschedule your meeting 2 hours prior to the meeting.

6. Can my clients make the payment online?

Yes, of course! most appointment scheduling applications will allow you to complete the payment online. You may do it with your debit/credit cards. These payment gateways are secure.

7. Will my bank details be secured while making the payments?

Yes, indeed, as the soul of the business is integrity and reliability, none of your client’s bank details will be exposed as the payment gateways are integrated into the software. Most of the payment integrations are Stripe, Razor pay, PayPal, etc. who don’t give access to the client information.

8. Will my staff have different login credentials?

Yes! As far as some of the best appointment scheduling software like GoSchedule are considered, Every member of the group will be given their login credentials. Still, with limited access, such as they can view only their calendar, they can’t customize the booking page, etc., whereas an admin can see all his staff’s schedule and customize the booking page too.

9. Will my staff get a personalized calendar?

Yes! They all will be having a personalized calendar, and they can also integrate it with their Google Calendar as far as GoSchedule is concerned.

10. Can I sync my calendar with the business calendar?

Yes, you can do that with GoSchedule. There is an option for you to integrate your Google calendar with your business calendar to make sure there is no overlaps in the booking that your clients make.

11. While an appointment is scheduled, who can view my customer’s details?

Most often, your client’s details are visible to the account admin and the associated staff member if the customer had opted.

12. What if my client doesn’t get a confirmation for the booking?

There are quite a few reasons they may not have received the confirmation email. Either the entered email id might be wrong, or sometimes their mail would have sorted the email as spam or junk, so do check the junk and spam emails. And if they still don’t find it, they can contact the respective support team via email or call them for assistance.

13. Can I permanently delete my account anytime?

Yes! You can delete your account permanently anytime, but make sure you remove all your card details(if any) and other essential information and can deactivate your account permanently by reaching out to the support team.

14. How do I contact a particular service provider?

The appointment you book will impart a confirmation email or a message that will have all the necessary information you need to know for that particular service. But if you don’t find any, you can simply contact the application support team, which functions 24/7 by visiting the companies official page.

15. Do all appointment scheduling software provide 24/7 customer support?

Yes, most of the appointment scheduling software provides 24/7 customer support, yet if you don’t get through them, you can undoubtedly drop an email, and they shall get back to you.

16. Do the clients need to call for canceling or rescheduling the appointments?

No! Your customers do not need to call your service provider to cancel or, reschedule the appointment unless they are facing any issue. Most often, appointment scheduling software provides feasibility to your customer to do it online by either giving the unique booking number in the portal and cancel it or emailing back to the support.