Online Appointment Scheduling 101

Online appointment scheduling

Online appointment scheduling is more than just an easy way to take appointments. It's where every happy & profitable customer starts.

At the center of every business is customers. Getting to know them is one of the great pleasures of running the business, and over time becomes one of the defining reasons customers keep coming back. They feel at home.

Knowing your customer's name, their favorite services or class, and individual preferences makes a good business great, but it's no secret that it's not easy. Your menu grows, staff members change, and your customer list expands—it gets complicated fast.

One insight that customers share with us most is that online appointment scheduling isn’t just about figuring out where customers fit on the calendar. It’s about creating connections and capturing customer information. Scheduling is more than appointments. It's the easiest way to track and build every profitable customer relationship. And the easiest way to manage your schedule is by using a scheduling software that can support both you and your customers. 

Every Business Starts with the Customer

Customers (and their wallet) go where they are loved. No one knows this better than you. You've translated your passion into a tailored set of services, a welcoming location, and expert staff, all with the goal to deliver an initial service that's so great that the customer comes back again and again.

Of course, none of it was free! Each customer is an investment. You spend on ads and paint and signs, and sometimes deals. After the first visit, or maybe the second, you reach "break-even" -- when the amount they've paid you is equal to what you've spent on them. Now every following visit starts adding to your profit for that client.

So, the trick of course is how to find them, get them to come back, and to send more customers your way, all at a cost you're willing to live with. The businesses who do it best, we’ve found, all have something in common. They live by these 3 principles:

  • Customers tend to try something that's convenient for them.
  • Customers tend to return where they feel welcome.
  • Customers tend to refer others to where they feel at home.

You won't be surprised that getting to know the customer underlies it all, and it's scheduling that starts it off.

Every Customer Starts with a Booking

Think about the very first moment a customer discovers your business. When they consider you, they look through the menu, check availability, make a decision and schedule an appointment. In fact, it's not just the first time. It's every time. Before every service, and before every payment, there's always a booking.

Providing online appointment scheduling isn't just about filling a spot on the calendar. It's listening to and remembering your customer from the very first moment they start their relationship with you.

It avoids storing the customer's information only in a paper notebook or in the heads of your staff who go home every day. Scheduling is the front door to every customer relationship and the fastest way to start making your customers feel at home.

In our research, the businesses who use scheduling as the way to start learning about their customers are able to:

  • Greet a customer when they walk in the door.
  • Get the service right, every time.
  • Reach out to customers more easily to invite them back.
  • And, of course, make it extremely convenient to book wherever and whenever the need arises.

They're also, unlike their peers, able to get answers to questions like:

  • Who are my top customers?
  • Who hasn't been back in a long while?
  • Who loves this seasonal service we’re starting up again next month?

We've found that the path to very loyal customers—and the path to profit for each—is when scheduling becomes the heart of getting to know each and every one.

About the Author

Matt Mahoney

As VP of Business Development for Booker, Matt Mahoney is responsible for helping major online properties and their audiences connect with our local business customers around the world. He is currently focused on building Booker’s platform and service distribution business.

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