When you find the perfect scheduling software for small business purposes, it changes your life. It gives you just the step up you need to rake in bookings and turn leads into sales. All of a sudden, you can coordinate your schedule and streamline bookings with minimal effort. Your time is spent in front of clients instead of on admin trying to align meetings.
Ideally, the platform you work with should make it easy to set up your schedule, show off your business, take and track appointments, and sync your calendars. At the same time, you need to consider your customers’ experience on the receiving end of the software. For example, is it easy to use? Can they manage their own bookings? Does it accept payments for your business?
In this ultimate guide to scheduling software for small business use, we answer your questions about these types of platforms. We also look at the knock-out features and benefits you should be on the hunt for, as well as list a few great provider options to look into, including Book Like A Boss.
What Is Scheduling Software?
What is scheduling software? Scheduling software is a tool that helps you to work more efficiently with your team and your clients. You use it to track and manage your time and your employees’ time by creating and maintaining schedules, booking meetings, selling your services, assigning jobs, and keeping track of your day in real-time.
As the name suggests, scheduling software is very useful for booking meetings. You sync your calendars to the software, and the person on the receiving end gets a real-time overview of your availability. They can then immediately book a meeting time that suits you both. Say goodbye to back and forth emails to work out availability or accidentally double-booking yourself.
More than that, though, great software gives you a chance to show off your brand. You can customize it to be an extension of your website. It can display your logo, customer reviews, photos, videos, collect customer information, and more.
It doesn’t only book meetings either. It schedules classes, offers recurring events, sells your services, and even reserves physical spaces.
How Does It Benefit Your Small Business?
Scheduling software for small business use makes it easier to schedule appointments. It removes the time-wasting steps you’d have to take if you were to run the process manually.
With less admin to take care of, you and your team can spend more time speaking with clients. You can focus on selling, letting the software open doors and do the hard work of getting your brand name out there.
Enhances Team Productivity
Using appointment software can enhance your team’s or overall business’ productivity in other ways. For example, you can create an optimal booking schedule to ensure that no time is wasted before, between, or after meetings.
You can also include meeting notes in internal appointments to ensure that invitees are clear on the agenda and objectives before entering the room.
It also allows teams to work efficiently by selecting the most suitable person out of a pool to take a meeting based on availability or expertise.
Reduces The Wider Admin Around Bookings
Scheduling software allows you to manage other aspects related to taking bookings, such as collecting payments, requesting customer information, and sending reminders. Through integrations and automation, you can streamline these processes to reduce wider admin.
Improves Customer Experience
You can improve the overall customer experience with your brand by using scheduling software for your small business. This is because the software makes it simple for customers to book appointments with you. By clicking on a direct link, link in your email, website, or social media, customers get a simple, convenient calendar view to book meetings from.
Gives Insight Into Customer Behavior
With features like appointment history tracking, meeting reminders, and bookings analytics, scheduling software can give you better insight into how readily people are willing to engage with your business. This way, you can identify areas of improvement that you need to work on during outreach.
Who Uses Scheduling Software For Small Business Purposes?
Scheduling software can improve the operations of many types of small businesses. We’re looking at salons, professional coaches, legal practices, schools, universities, real estate agents, healthcare providers, field services, specialist teams, and more.
Whether you book services, events, webinars, digital or physical products, 1-on-1, or group appointments, this software is for you. If your customer can book it, you should use it.
Booking platforms are also handy for internal business scheduling needs, making it easy for large or remote teams, or departments like HR, sales, etc., to collaborate.
Top Features To Look Out For
Your scheduling software should offer easy multi-channel bookings that are online 24/7.
Customers should be able to make bookings online, on your website, via a booking page or link, and more. They should also have access and be able to make bookings via their smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc. This promotes usability, accessibility, and convenience for everyone involved in the appointment.
Lastly, you should be able to take bookings around the clock, even if you’re not online at the time when a person is ready to hit reserve. This way, people can actually reach you without it taking several days to set up an appointment.
Integrations are essential in today’s connected world. When you can use your scheduling software for small businesses alongside your favorite apps, such as MailChimp, Zapier, and PayPal, to name a few, it makes work that much more streamlined and convenient.
Notifications & Reminders
Automated appointment reminders are an important part of good schedule management. With the proper reminders being sent at the right time, your customers are sure never to miss an appointment. Plus, you can stay informed of any booking updates or cancellations as they are made in real-time.
Your software’s branding and customization need to be on the money and match the rest of your business. It should offer customizable URLs, booking domains, landing pages, and design. This is to ensure that your customers have a consistent experience across all of your digital platforms.
Real-time calendar sync is super important. It allows you to keep on top of schedule updates automatically. When you have live sync, it removes the complexity of juggling several calendars at once. You’ll also get automated reminders and notifications to keep you and your customers informed.
Reporting & Analytics
Reporting and analytics are critical factors in business growth and management. They allow you to track your bookings’ performance and adjust your strategy accordingly. You can monitor your customers’ location, cancellation, the causes of cancellations, and more.
You should be able to use your software from various platforms and devices, whether a laptop, mobile, or tablet. For example, BLAB is fully mobile compatible to give users a consistent experience across the board.
How Much Does Appointment Software Scheduling Cost?
It all depends on what you choose, really.
Costs range significantly depending on the provider and plan you select. Typically, you’ll get a certain number of basic features on an entry-level plan.
After that, you pay for extra functionality and user licenses. It all depends on your own unique business requirements.
As is typical for most SaaS pricing models, you might encounter a flat rate fee that includes a set number of account users. An alternative is a per-user fee.
You might also come across monthly vs annual pricing, where the latter is usually discounted to cost less over a longer period. This encourages customers to commit for longer with the promise of saving money.
Setting the benchmark with very affordable pricing, Book Like A Boss starts with its Solopreneur plans at $7.50 per user per month paid annually. At the same time, you are looking at $35 per month for three users, paid annually, for a Company plan.
Can You Use Scheduling Software For Free?
Yes, you can use the software for free. In some cases, providers offer a freemium version. In others, you can make use of a free trial.
While “free” sounds great in theory, be aware that a freemium will probably land you an elementary version of the software with limited functionality.
If you are serious about growing your business, you’ll probably need to step up your game and pay for a professional plan.
On the other hand, free trials are fantastic. Many platforms in the scheduling software for small business space offer this option, so you can at least test them out before committing.
Four Great Options: Scheduling Software For Small Business
1. Acuity Scheduling
Acuity’s software has all the basics you could need in a scheduling platform for small businesses. Think of this software as an always-online personal assistant for your business, especially if you rely heavily on appointments. It’s great for sales-oriented companies and those that offer classes requiring specific time slot bookings.
A nifty feature that lends to this is their coupon and voucher option. You can offer these incentives as a clever way to convince customers to book appointments for future dates. The code is unique to each customer, and they can use it one or more times, depending on the rules.
Try out their seven-day free trial, and if you have any hassles, browse their online help center for advice. If you want a look and feel that ties in with your brand, the platform allows for easy customization. Your customers can expect branded booking forms, and you can also personalize colors, logos, scheduling instructions, and appointment type categories at the drop of a hat.
Integrations are well catered for with Acuity Scheduling. Get access to Google Sheets, MailChimp, Front, ActiveCampaign, and HubSpot. You can also integrate Slack, Wave, Pipedrive, and Gmail into your scheduling software.
2. Book Like A Boss (BLAB)
Whether you want to sell services or book appointments, BLAB’s scheduling software for small business users and solopreneurs has you covered.
More than simple booking software, this platform has all the features and value that you need. First off is the landing pages builder that allows you to customize booking pages.
You can completely adapt booking pages to your liking. For example, you can add a cover or profile photo as well as a photo gallery to your page. Then, you can set a custom booking domain and personalize the URL you send out.
It’s also possible to design the pages with your unique logo, font, and color. Plus, you can add customizable sections to the page, such as FAQs and testimonials, to earn the trust of those booking.
Don’t forget to tell your audience more in the ‘about me’ section. You can also add your social media links, YouTube videos, and Facebook comments to your booking page while you’re at it.
Want to stay on top of booking management? Get website embed functionality and group bookings. Then take it up a notch with SMS reminders, two-way calendar sync, availability settings, text pages, one-time or multi-day events.
You can also count on getting access to a messaging system, bookings and client list, and mobile optimization. Then, you won’t experience language barriers, thanks to the platform’s multiple language abilities.
If you’re looking for integrations, this is where it’s at. Here you’ll find Zapier, Microsoft Exchange, Google Meet, YouTube, and Facebook Pixels. If that isn’t enough, there’s Apple iCloud, Office365, WordPress, and Google Analytics.
When it comes to payments, you’ll find Stripe, PayPal, and Square on the list. Through those, you can offer time-based services to your customers that allow for payment processing, memberships, and offline payments, even with multiple currencies. Customers can pay what they want, throw in a donation or tip, or make recurring payments.
Need support? BLAB has you covered. Aside from a knowledge base, tutorial videos, 24.6 chat, and chatbots if you need help, there’s also a private Facebook group you can reach out in.
3. Square Appointments
Square Appointments is a good option for scheduling software, especially if you’re heavily focused on payment processing. Square accepts web payments from all major credit cards, and their point of sale functionality is on point. Aside from that, offline payments are also available.
Highlights of its features include payment processing, automated notifications sent via SMS or email, and easy appointment setups for you and your customers.
Track your customer’s history by verifying their purchasing history to know how often they interact with your brand. This makes it easier to track your engagement with your customers, improve your customer relationship management, and provide the best continuous service.
You can include the software as a booking widget on your website, making it easier for customers to make bookings. You can also link it to your social media.
The Square Assistant (AI) also eases booking admin as it can confirm and reschedule bookings and appointments for clients.
SimplyBook.me’s scheduling software for small businesses has a professional look to it. This web-based, all-inclusive software provides detailed business stats, accepts online payments, and offers an overview of your calendar and time. It also gives you the option to use it in a language that suits you, making it more accessible.
The platform accepts online bookings around the clock. Your customers can make bookings using a variety of platforms like Instagram or a Google business profile. If you sell membership subscriptions, events or classes, tickets, or other time-sensitive services, this platform is a great investment to help you manage your calendar.
Sometimes, creating demand is the best way to get your business growing. So you may want to limit your availability even if you’re not fully booked. If this is the case, you can create a SimplyBook.me waiting list where your customers can sign up. You can also block out specific times in your calendar so customers can’t make bookings in them.
Need some more info on your client? Their name, contact details, booking needs, etc. You can collect this and more information for your appointment using the software. Attach booking forms with information fields for this kind of data; you can add as many fields as you’d like.
In addition to taking bookings, you can use scheduling software to process payments, manage your calendars, and collect client information. With various integrations, including calendar, video messaging, and payment integrations, you can fit this software right into your current admin flow.
In addition to these features, scheduling software gives you the power to improve your customer service and customer experiences. Collect feedback with digital forms after the appointment to help you identify areas of improvement in your appointment and bookings management.
You can also use customer history data to track individual customers’ appointments and create continuity in your customer service. This, together with more general booking data and insights, can help you point out trends in your bookings and ways to improve how your business manages them.
If you’d like to know more about Book Like A Boss, the leading all-in-one landing pages builder for companies and solopreneurs, start your free trial today.