12 Reasons Why You Need An Online Booking System for Small Business

Working in the service industry provides you with a lot of opportunities for automating your business processes. If your first associations in regards to booking appointments are repeat phone calls, no shows, and overall wasting your time, you’ll love our list of online booking system benefits. 

We’ll explain how you could save time, increase revenue and unload your employees with a simple booking integration and by using appointment scheduling apps and their helpful features. Moreover, you’ll be able to provide better customer service and offer your clients not just an easy way to book appointments, but also privacy.  

Make it easy for your clients to book appointments

The easier you make it for clients to book appointments with you, the more appointments will get booked. It’s really that simple. People nowadays don’t like searching for your work hours, picking up the phone and booking an appointment, so the ability to save time is an essential feature here. 

Keeping in mind how busy people are nowadays and how fast-paced life is, it makes sense to offer a booking system that can be accessed 24/7. That way, people can make business appointments whenever they want, which is very accommodating and works hand in hand with online payments. 

Moreover, a booking system makes an instant appointment, without the need to wait for an email response, a callback, or anything similar. For busy business owners, this is a huge advantage. Customers can pick one of the meeting times and get a confirmation email for their booking.

Organize your workload easily

How many of you have tried making a reservation only to wait for the other person to flip through a notebook looking for vacancies? This type of booking system isn’t only bad for your business organization but also makes you look unprofessional in front of your clients. 

When you utilize an online booking system, you’ll see how many people like to schedule appointments during non-working hours. Research shows that 90% of customers prefer booking their appointments online and 35% of them like to schedule their appointments during non-business hours. 

If you’re not offering such a service, you could be losing out on a number of potential customers. 

Furthermore, appointment scheduling apps can help your employees better organize their workload. They can easily see when you have vacancies and when your days are packed. This can help them create schedules for all the employees and organize PTO. For example, fitness businesses can easily schedule 1:1 training sessions at any time.

If they know when you have gaps in appointments, they can create social media posts to encourage people to book on certain days by offering discounts and more. Also, if you have multiple locations, you can refer people to a different office, depending on the vacancies. These additional features in appointment apps can make your life much easier. You can create different email templates for different types of use cases and let all types of clients easily book appointments with you.

Gather valuable data

 By automating your booking software, you’ll be able to gather a lot of information, such as:

  • When are people making the majority of monthly bookings? Which days of the week, which parts of the day, etc?
  • Why do they cancel their appointments?
  • Which of your services are most popular?
  • Which services do individuals combine when making appointments?
  • How many people make monthly appointments?
  • How many people book their appointment online?
  • Which of your services are not popular at all?
  • Which services are people buying as gifts for others?
  • Are your services seasonally popular?

A lot of appointment scheduling apps will include some type of business intelligence and analytics that can help you gather data on your customers. The more you understand your customers, the better you can market your services to them. For a fitness business, for example, this can make a massive difference in revenue, or for any client-based business really.

It can inform your social media strategy, your email marketing and your sales funnel. Once you understand your customers’ behaviour, it will make it easy for you to shape all your future strategies and processes for your marketing and sales teams. Even larger teams will make it easy to improve client relationships through online booking functions. 

An automated booking service can also help you gather email addresses and phone numbers, making it easy for you to contact your customer base with newsletters and SMS messages. With their card on file, you can send them messages in a matter of minutes without using complex project management tools or clunky intake forms.

That way, you can nurture the relationship you have with your customers and turn them into loyal ones with the fantastic user interface. 

Provide privacy and great customer support 

If you’re running a beauty salon, people may be embarrassed to contact you and ask for acne treatment, waxing appointments, fat reduction appointments, and more. 

With an online booking system, your clients will feel more comfortable reaching out and making a booking through an online bookable calendar. 

Furthermore, with this type of booking system, you’ll automatically create a better customer experience for your clients. They won’t have to wait for you to answer the phone or their email and can see for themselves when you have a vacancy instead of waiting to talk to sales teams. 

You can include additional information about the service in your booking system as well. Things like: 

  • The price
  • A description of the service
  • Whether they need to do anything in preparation
  • Do they need to come a bit earlier
  • Do you offer a quantity discount and more

The more information you offer upfront, the quicker your clients can agree on a service and make a booking through your bookable calendar. Nobody wants to reach out to a customer support agent and send follow-up emails in order to get answers to simple questions, especially if they’re in a rush to pull out their credit card. 

Make sure to also link to any helpful articles you’ve written on your services. 

Let your clients pay in advance

Certain online booking systems will allow you to ask for payment in advance using a credit card or payment processing integrations. You can ask for a deposit or full price and that way you’re further speeding up the booking process as well as helping your clients have a better experience. This is one of the custom features that will make your entire business function more smoothly.

This way they don’t have to check what type of payment options you take and wait for change on the day off. The more convenient you make it for your clients with your appointment scheduling software, the better response you’ll get. 

This strategy will also reduce no-shows by using follow-up emails, but we’ll get more into that in a later chapter. 

Increase up-sells

Upselling potential clients who are already annoyed they had to pick up the phone to schedule an appointment is a very hard task. An online booking system on the other hand can help you sell a package of products and services as well as a higher tier of service, using unlimited bookings.

An online booking app allows you to present your offer, any discount that you’re having a the moment, as well as information on which services go well together. 

Create package deals and notify customers about any seasonal services as they’re picking the right time slot. Customers won’t necessarily be looking at the most affordable option, so you can use the opportunity to show them your calendar availability and get some upsells.

Reduce no-show rates

No-shows are not just annoying, but also cost you a lot of revenue for your entire business. You need every booking you can get, and losing out on a scheduled client can be a hard blow. 

If you’re a hairstylist and you’re not selling your own products, you can only sell a limited amount of services, e.i. see 10 to 15 clients a day. That’s why it’s so important to keep a consistently packed schedule. 

A booking system won’t eliminate your no-shows, but it can help you reduce them. Most booking systems offer a follow-up option which includes email and SMS reminders, notifications and more. Once you have the time of booking, you can also avoid scheduling conflicts with two appointments showing up at once in your online calendar.

With so many notifications, it’s not likely your clients will forget about their appointment. Furthermore, if you allow them to pay upfront, or ask for a down payment through your booking software, you’ll lower your no-show rates. The improved scheduling process and the customizable reminders will make your clients book meetings more easily and improve your customer relationships.

Not only will people be more inclined to follow through, but also once someone cancels, it will open up the time slot for someone else to grab – they’ll get email reminders about it. Some booking systems will allow your clients to set tracking on a specific time sloth so that if it opens up, they will get notified and be able to make their booking. Watch your client list grow and the number of your bookings per month soar every day.

Free up your employees’ time 

Although most employees in the service industry understand that they’ll have to take a certain amount of admin work, we’re sure they would rather avoid it and focus on professional services. With an automated booking system, they won’t spend so much time answering the phone, emails, and social media messages and other forms of customer management. Moreover, they can schedule client appointments more easily while avoiding double booking with a single booking link.

This means that they will have more time to be proficient at their jobs, which leads to more time for educational workshops, time to share ideas for the growth of your entire business and more. 

Moreover, once they start working on a customer, they won’t have to stop in order to answer the phone, which creates a better customer experience for appointment-based businesses. 

A happy employee is a motivated employee. Get rid of boring business tasks with automation and let them focus on what’s really important. 

Reduce human error

To err is human, right? Maybe you’re writing all the reservations down in a notebook and one of your employees has the handwriting of a doctor. You can never read what they wrote and it creates a lot of confusion. 

Well, you can reduce that human error by integrating an online booking system. It will help you organize your monthly bookings without any overlap. All you have to do is set a time limit on all of your services. 

For example, if you’re a restaurant owner, you can set a time limit on a lunch reservation, a diner reservation, and anything in between. That way, your system will know when to open up the next time slot for that table. The guests will get booking confirmations automatically each time, improving their booking experience. These robust features cover a wide variety of uses cases.

A booking system also allows your employees to access the data at any time, which is really handy for business owners. They don’t have to physically be near your office and the designated notebook.  This system will increase the number of your positive reviews and improve your customer satisfaction, even with last-minute meetings.

Encourage your clients to make the appointment

If you’re a dentist, we’re sure you’re aware of the fear people feel when approaching your clinic. This is a fear a lot of people share and they might be dreading making their appointments. 

In order to help them have a seamless experience and ease their worried mind, make the booking process as easy and quick as it can be. 

That will automatically put them in a better mood and help you achieve patient retention. 

The same thing goes for anyone working in an industry that has a lot of people on the waiting list for an appointment. Automating your booking system will help your clients move forward on the waiting list based on cancellations and changes in the schedule. Even with monthly appointments, different software tools make working around this issue a breeze. 

Grow your brand awareness

Once you integrate an online booking system in your business plan, make sure to use it in your marketing efforts. Tell the people on your social media, on your email lists, and in-person that they can now book an appointment easier than ever through simple meeting links. 

That way, people looking for a service provider who offers a great customer experience will find you and become your loyal customers. 

All the data you gather through the system and in your customer database can be used in your future marketing efforts. Make sure to utilize it in the creation of your buyer personas for easier targeting of your future content and ads. 

All you have to do is make sure you’re providing the same level of service on all your platforms. That includes live chat on your website, social media, and the booking system. 

Make the most of the tourist season

If you live in a place that is a tourist hotspot, seasonal or whole year-round, you’ll want to expand your client pool to them. Since not all tourists speak the same language as you, making a reservation via the phone might be impossible for them, especially if you have custom pricing. 

That’s why having an online booking system is an essential tool for your business. Seeing how this is an industry standard for so many countries, tourists will search for it if they’re interested in your services. 

In order to bring in more clients, make sure your booking system automatically translates the content into the visitor’s language. The less hassle they have to go through to book an appointment, the more eager they will be to do so. 

If you’re targeting tourists, make sure to have clear instructions on how to find your office. Help them orient themselves with monuments and other tourist attractions. 

With an automated booking system, you can easily create social media ad campaigns targeting people visiting your location. That way, you can book 5-minute meetings or any other online meetings you want.

Conclusion

With our list of benefits, it’s easy to see why automation of your booking system is so important. It can increase your sales, open up your employees’ days (since they’ll be doing less admin work), reduce human error, provide data, cut down on back-and-forth emails and more. 

When searching for the right tool, make sure it has all the advanced features you need, is easy to use and offers a great customer experience. 

If you’re using any other sales tools, look for a booking system that allows you to integrate those tools and streamline your sales process. Once you get started, you’ll quickly see the key features and benefits and love how easy the whole process can be.