10 Essential Features Your Booking System Must Have
Want to take your business to new heights of revenue and efficiency? Check out these must-have features of a powerful online booking system.
Nov 15, 2022
13 min read
Nov 15, 2022
13 min read
Many small businesses rely on scheduling appointments and reservations to bring in more customers and increase sales. And in a world where almost everything is online, tapping into the power of technology is the best way for your local business to succeed.
Here’s where an online booking system comes in – convert web visits into revenue while also dramatically boosting productivity and efficiency.
How You Book Appointments, Services, and Reservations Matters
If you’re still calling customers to book appointments, you’re way behind your competitors. That’s because modern customers seek speed and convenience. They expect a smooth and seamless experience with the businesses they choose. The last thing they want is an endless game of phone tag just to book a reservation.
Here are some of the questions you need to ponder when assessing the effectiveness of your appointment system.
Is It Easy for Your Customers?
A scheduling system that is too complicated or slow is one of the many reasons why businesses lose out on customers. You have to make it easier for them to engage with you on their own terms, whenever and wherever they please.
Since most people use their smartphones to interact with local businesses, nothing can be more convenient than offering your services within the reach of customers’ fingertips. The simpler and faster your booking process is, the more likely customers are to book your services.
Is It Easy for Your Team?
Besides an easy customer interface, a top-notch scheduling system should also empower and motivate your employees to build stronger relationships with customers. Don’t let your team spend too many hours booking, canceling, and rescheduling appointments. Your staff will appreciate a booking process that helps them better communicate with customers and understand their unique needs.
Is It Fun?
“80% of customers say the experiences provided by a company are as important to them as its products and services.”- Salesforce
For your business to stay top of mind with on-the-go consumers, you must ensure that you offer a memorable customer experience across all touchpoints of the buying journey. Adding a digital tool to the booking process will give you more opportunities to exceed customer expectations by giving them the tailored experiences they crave.
Plus, you can encourage more customers to book online by rewarding them with discounts, promos, and other special offers.
Why You Need Simple Software to Make Your Booking Process Great
Gone are the days when businesses depend only on phone calls and walk-ins to make reservations. An excellent online booking tool or appointment scheduling app can drive small business growth in more ways than one.
For example, It can help you deal with administrative woes — from reducing time-consuming tasks to improving communication and more — so you can run your business more efficiently.
One of the main benefits of an online booking calendar is it allows you to organize your schedule with less stress. The tool lets you manage and track all your bookings in one place and get easy access to them even when you’re on the move. Plus, you can take control of your time with ease and confidence when you have a 360-degree view of all your bookings.
You’re not only wasting precious time if you’re still manually managing your bookings. You’re also letting go of massive opportunities to win more prospective customers. An online booking tool saves you time and money by automating repetitive tasks. This way, you can focus on more important aspects of running your business. You’ll also be able to lower your costs when you improve the productivity of your team.
Lastly, you can improve your quality of life significantly by offloading energy-draining manual tasks that have nothing to do with your business’s products and services.
Simple Calendar Link Sharing
The beauty of automated booking is that you’re able to set up your availability and customize your preferences. Once this is done, you can then share your calendar link in various ways (email, text, chat, etc.) and for multiple crews and locations.
An online booking software lets you send strategically timed appointment reminders and follow-ups via the customer’s preferred communication method — whether that’s SMS, email, or Messenger. Texting, for example, is the most popular communication channel for today’s mobile-first consumers, so it’s good practice to let customers know of any upcoming appointments through SMS reminders.
With an automated booking tool, customers can easily cancel and reschedule appointments or by using a drag-and-drop interface. You can improve the customer experience by moving the rescheduling process online and giving customers the freedom to make changes to their booked appointments.
Benefits of Automated Booking Software
Small and local businesses simply cannot afford to lose thousands in revenue due to no-shows. Automated SMS and email reminders and push notifications to customers’ phones can significantly reduce no-shows and cancellations. You can also gain more repeat customers if you make rescheduling as straightforward as possible.
Easy and Fun for Customers to Use
“94% of individuals would be more likely to choose a new service provider if that provider offered online booking options.”- Zippia
When you allow customers to book an appointment online, you give them much more convenience, control, and flexibility than if they were to make a booking in person or over the phone. Real-time appointment scheduling keeps your customers happy because it makes your services more accessible and interactive.
You can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty through personalized booking experiences that are based on your customer’s unique needs and preferences.
Save Hours of Labor
An automated booking software lets you and your customers do everything digitally — that means your staff won’t have to waste time chasing customers that “went dark” or doing administrative work. Your team can focus on more important tasks and spend more of their free time meeting with customers.
Plus, an online booking tool minimizes human error, making sure that you don’t risk displeasing clients because of overlapping schedules or incorrect dates and times.
Offer Add-ons and Upsells
What better way to drum up sales than to offer additional products and services at the time of booking? For example, a salon could suggest that a customer add a manicure when they book a pedicure. Online booking tools make it very easy for you to promote and sell add-ons and packages.
You Must Always Maintain an Up-to-date Digital Calendar (Google, Outlook, etc.).
Online booking software makes it easier to check reservations and manage your business schedule from a convenient location. But when there’s an influx of customers, it can get complicated to sync tons of bookings.
You must make sure that you add and update your appointments on your Google or Outlook calendar so you and your customers can manage bookings accordingly.
You Need to Share Your Scheduler Link Regularly.
What good is an automated booking tool if you and your team never use it, right? Getting used to sharing your scheduler link often is more difficult for some than others, but it will be worth it in the end. On that note, it’s important that your team knows which link is theirs and that you hold them accountable to sharing it regularly, too.
Figure out the best ways and times to share your scheduler link across multiple platforms — SMS, email, social media, messaging apps, etc. From there, set some basic guidelines across your organization to ensure every customer and prospect has access to your online booking process.
You’ll Want to Have as Many Booking Options as You Have Services - No More, No Less.
Choose the right online booking system that can support your business needs for the long haul. You don’t want to confuse your customers with any booking features that are irrelevant to your business. If you’re offering different types of services, go with automated appointment software that offers multiple types of bookings on a single platform.
You Must Take the Right Amount of Information When They Choose a Booking.
When your customers select an appointment option and date/time, you can ask them to provide you with the information upfront. The more information you gather up front, the more you know, and the easier it is to give them your best. That said, asking too much information upfront can scare customers away or make them feel like you’re “too much.”
Knowing your industry and audience, it will be up to you to decide what customer information (or down payments) you require at the time of booking. If you’re a restaurant, a name and phone number are likely enough. But if you’re a landscaper, you’ll likely need more information, such as if there’s a gate code or pet that your crew should know about before arriving on site.
10 Must-Have Features for Your Booking System
1. Easy to Use
Simplicity is a top priority when you’re integrating an online booking system into your business processes. Customers must be able to find the timeslots and dates that work for them — fast and easy. Make sure people can book and checkout with as few steps as possible.
Most online bookings are made from smartphones — so if you want to increase your conversation rates, having a mobile-friendly booking engine is the way to go. Your booking system should provide a superior customer experience — meaning it’s easy to navigate and responsive across all popular devices — mobile phones, desktops, laptops, and tablets.
3. Syncs Well With Other Simple Tech You Use
Your booking tool should come with easy third-party integrations. This gives it the ability to connect to the rest of your tech stack so you can easily send and analyze customer data. Many booking tools can be integrated with popular business apps like Google, Outlook, Office 365, MailChimp, your website, email and video conferencing tools, and more.
4. Accommodates Multiple Locations, Sites, Crew Schedules, etc.
A multi-location appointment scheduling software is best for businesses looking to scale in the service industry. It is a smart, unified tool that lets owner-operators, managers, and shift supervisors seamlessly manage appointments across many locations. If your business operates worldwide, there are even booking tools that will adjust calendars to multiple time zones.
A crucial aspect of automating the entire booking process includes giving customers the flexibility to schedule repeat appointments. Recurring service booking software can improve your cashflow by turning your one-off customers into repeat, loyal ones. This feature lets customers choose how often an appointment should repeat — whether that’s daily, weekly, monthly, etc.
7. Easy to Customize (Types of Bookings/Services, Form Entries, Design, etc.)
Your booking website or platform should complement and reflect your brand. Choose an online booking tool with features that let you customize the elements of your booking page — colors, layout, font style, logo, header, images, shareable links, etc. This will help you make a strong first impression on your site visitors. Go with a booking tool that also allows you to update information about your services, business hours, and pricing.
8. Payment Processing Integration
With digital payments on the rise, it’s no surprise that having the ability to take online payments is a must-have feature of good booking software. Boost your bookings by giving your customers multiple payment options online.
Make sure that your appointment scheduling tool integrates with payment gateway software. Get paid faster by letting customers pay for appointments at the time of booking, especially if you require a reservation fee or deposit.
9. Customer Management (CRM) Integration
Get better results with an all-in-one solution that allows you to stay on top of your booking needs while also enhancing your customer relationships. Use an appointment scheduling software that works well with a small business CRM.
This integration helps you convert more customers through comprehensive profiles — complete with details on the history of bookings, upcoming appointments, reasons for cancellations, and more.
10. Customer Intelligence and Reporting
A state-of-the-art booking system uses advanced data analytics and algorithms to help you better understand your customers. This feature gives you a quick overview of your booking performance, as well as details about your customer’s booking trends and preferences. You can use these valuable insights to provide personalized booking experiences every time.
Having the right online booking solution should be on top of your business growth strategies. It will boost your online reputation and ensure your business thrives in a fast-paced digital environment. Take your business to the next level with an automated booking tool that empowers you to deliver exceptional customer experiences at scale.