Pre-booked appointments and classes are nothing new for local service businesses. The majority of spas, salons, massage therapists, and acupuncturists operate on an advanced booking model; many yoga, Pilates, fitness, dance, and martial arts studios are also encouraging students to enroll ahead of time so they can better manage class sizes, waitlists, and scheduling. Bookings provide flexibility for customers, as well, by giving them the chance to choose their preferred service or class, date, time, and service provider or instructor ahead of time.
While bookings are a good thing for your business and your customers, they can sometimes cause headaches for your staff. Firstly, taking appointments or signups by phone is time-consuming. Secondly, if you have no receptionist or a high call volume, you may be missing out on bookings from frustrated customers who go straight to voicemail while you’re helping in-person visitors. Lastly, recording bookings in a paper schedule can lead to omissions or mix-ups that can make a bad impression with your guests.
Fortunately, there’s a solution to all of these problems: online booking software that allows you to take appointments and class registrations from your website. With a cloud-based booking system, you can save your employees from phone fatigue, missed appointment opportunities, and scheduling snafus—plus provide some added perks for your clients.
Here are a few key reasons why online booking software is a solid investment.
How Online Booking Software Benefits Your Business
By offering appointment scheduling and class signups on your website, your business will benefit from:
- Time Savings: The more your customers book online, the more free time you’ll have to spend with patrons who visit your storefront. This will allow you to provide more attentive service, which makes a huge difference when it comes to customer retention.
- Distribution Control: Worried about your competitors spying on your schedule, or confusing customers about the specifications or pricing of your offerings? You can choose which types of services, classes and time slots you make available to book online. This can be especially helpful if you want people to call in to talk them through complex, customized services or classes before they book.
- Business Protection: Online booking systems can help you protect your revenue by giving you the ability to charge late cancellation and no-show fees. You can also take upfront deposits for high-ticket services.
- Calendar Optimization: Tired of mid-week, midday downtime? With online bookings, you can make slow periods available to boost your bookings and revenue. You can also get a better sense of which time slots and services are most popular and adjust your staff’s hours and schedules accordingly.
How Online Booking Software Benefits Your Customers
Online bookings aren’t just great for you—they’re also great for your customers. With an online booking system, you give your patrons the benefits of:
- Convenience: Customers can book an appointment or sign up for a class anytime, anywhere, without having to worry about calling during business hours or being put on hold for 10 minutes during a busy workday.
- Education: Service and class descriptions can help your business stand out from your competition and give potential clients enough information to make a booking without having to spend time on the phone with your front desk. This will free up time for your customers and allow your staff to be less rushed when taking other phone calls.
- Automated Reminders: An online booking system will allow you to send automated booking reminders prior to appointments to reduce no-shows and last-minute reschedules. It takes the burden off your staff to remember to send one-off messages to your customers, too!
The Bottom Line
Relying on a paper appointment book or class schedule may be the easiest way to get started, but an online booking system like Booker will provide the ultimate convenience and peace of mind for both your employees and your customers.
About the Author
Ashley Taylor Anderson is a content developer and marketer who's spent her career knee-deep in the B2B technology space. In previous professional lives, she worked as a science textbook editor, media producer, and pastry chef.Follow on Google Plus Follow on Twitter More Content by Ashley Taylor Anderson