How to select appointment app for small business

Appointment apps are great solutions for businesses of all sizes: small, medium, and even large. 

They help with speeding up the workflow, keeping things organized and even making business owners or employees more productive!

With other benefits like being open 24/7/365 as well as saving time and money, appointment apps can work wonders with service businesses. 

But there’s something special about small businesses, which are often still in early development stages, and appointment reservation apps. Such businesses can specifically benefit from booking apps for various reasons. 

If you’re looking for a solution like this, you’re at the right address. Today, we’re sharing with you our tips when it comes to selecting an appointment app for your small business. 

Small businesses versus appointments apps

Small businesses are the type of business that can especially benefit from booking apps and platforms – and here’s why: 

#1 Productivity 

By definition, a small business is a partnership, corporation or sole proprietorship with fewer employees and/or less revenue per year than in the case of a medium or large company. For example, small business packaging ideas can be based on that. 

A business with not so many employees probably has employees that are responsible for various tasks, not always  consistent with their actual degree or expertise. 

A good example of such a responsibility is managing bookings. If you have employees who, on top of doing their regular job, also manage bookings at your company – you can change it now and increase their productivity with an appointment app. 

Managing bookings can be energy, focus and attention consuming. 

If you have a system that can automatically sort out your appointments for you or your employees, your business could actually experience increased productivity levels. 

The reason for this is because apps and platforms like this prevent your employees from losing focus and attention on their actual tasks. 

Unless you have a dedicated receptionist or secretary to take care of this job, you can leave this task to some reliable and well-developed software. 

#2 Time

In the case of small businesses, sometimes every minute spent working gets you closer to finding some great business opportunity, coming up with a groundbreaking strategy or simply growing and expanding even further. 

You may have a few, or even one specialist, working on something important in your company. 

Now, you surely wouldn’t want to “waste” their time on managing bookings right?

And what if you can’t necessarily afford to hire someone who will be purely responsible for managing bookings just yet? Or it may be that you don’t get a high number of bookings yet and hiring someone to manage them wouldn’t be profitable? 

This is where online booking platforms and applications come in handy. 

Thanks to the fact tasks like managing bookings, accepting payments or generating landing pages happen automatically – your employees can focus on their main responsibilities, saving time and energy, and you don’t need to hire new staff at additional cost.

#3 Business availability  

Finally, think about the current availability of your small business to your customers. How many days per week are you open? 3, 5, or maybe 7 (which is rather unlikely, unless you have a doctor’s office)? 

Maybe your business is currently open only for 4 days a week because you simply don’t get as many bookings as you would want just yet (but you will get there, don’t worry)? Thus, customers can only reach out to you during those days. 

What appointment scheduling options do you currently offer? SMS? Telephone? Booking at the reception desk? 

No matter the method, you’re definitely not tied to your phone or reception desk 24/7/365. Because of this, your customers get a limited time when they can book appointments with you. Not to mention days like Christmas and other bank holidays when you’re most likely completely closed. 

Now, what if we told you that a booking platform or app is always available to your customers? 

Whether they want to book in the middle of the night or during their Christmas dinner with family – you no longer have to worry about not being able to answer the phone or reply to a text message. 

Thanks to this, you also minimize the risk of losing a potential customer forever. 

During your first interaction with a new customer, giving a good first impression by being conveniently available can set out a great atmosphere for the future customer experience. Win-win, right?

That’s just 3 of many great benefits that appointment scheduling platforms and applications offer. 

Others include: getting paid quicker, maximizing reservations, easier management, access to valuable customer data and others.

How to choose the best appointment app for your small business? Tips & Things to look out for

Before you can start taking advantage of these great perks and benefits, you have some important homework to do first – and that’s in fact choosing your appointment app or platform.

You will only be able to fully enjoy your experience with a booking system, as well as its features, if you decide to choose a reliable and tested solution that will deliver on its promise.

It would be a shame to spend money on a tool only to find out it’s buggy, faulty and just doesn’t do anything – apart from charging you money – especially since you may have a limited budget as a small business. 

We know how to prevent it and what to look out for when you’re choosing a booking app for your small business. 

#Price

They say money isn’t everything – but for your small business it should matter. You wouldn’t want to waste your budget on a tool that will be a huge disappointment on multiple levels. 

When you’re trying to find your best booking application, keep the price aspect in mind.

You may want to look around first and get an idea of the average prices for certain features and whole solutions. Here’s a few things to remember:

  • Expensive solutions =/= good solutions

Overpaying for the brand name or simply choosing a very expensive app doesn’t mean that it will deliver good quality. Some tools may be highly pricey, yet they bring no value to the table – be aware of those and don’t let them fool you.

 

  • Cheap solutions =/= bad solutions 

Just like with expensive platforms and apps, going for a cheap solution also doesn’t automatically have to mean that they’re bad. You never know when you come across a little gem that will positively surprise you on so many levels: functionality, price, features, user experience and more.

When looking at the average prices for apps and platforms to manage your bookings, try going for a classical Google search, or use websites like G2 and Capterra.

Also, have a rough idea of what your budget is in your mind, but try not to be too strict about it – sometimes adding a dollar or two can make your experience a whole lot better. 

#Features

Moving on, you have to think about what features you’re looking for in your app. In other words, what do you want your application to offer you, as well as your customers?

Here are some of the most popular features that you should aim to find in your potential app: 

  • Customer base in one place 

Keeping your customer base, as well as storing valuable data on them in an organized place will be a great strategy if you’re looking to appreciate your most loyal customers and simply learn more about the type of people you attract.

With a mobile app and/or a booking platform, you can easily find out what your customers like the most, how much they spend, how often they visit you and even what their favourite payment method is. 

  • Automatic email, SMS and push notifications

We live in a world where everything happens fast and sometimes it’s easy to forget we booked an appointment 2 or 3 weeks ago. Do you experience so-called “no-shows” or last minute cancelled bookings often?

Reservation apps and booking platforms come to the rescue. With completely automatic appointment reminders, whether through email, SMS or app notifications, you will be able to minimize the amount of cancelled meetings. 

This will further save your time, energy, money and more. What’s there not to like?

  • Modern payment system 

You won’t have to worry about missed appointments or lost time or money. Using reliable solutions, you can accept payments prior to the appointment. Your customers may be able to pay online with quick bank payments, Google Pay, Apple Pay or even a credit card – make them feel happy and powerful by giving them a choice!

  • Subscription plans

What if you offered a paid subscription, membership or pass for your services? There are providers out there that can take care of this for you. Combined with modern payment integrations, you may even want to create advanced subscriptions with your already existing payment systems.  Why limit yourself to one-time bookings only?

These are just some of the features that you may be looking for. Of course, there are more that could help your small business in many ways, such as integrations, individual technical support, automated newsletters, or even privacy and policy conditions. 

Having a rich variety of features can completely change the pace at which your business is currently growing. 

For this reason, you shouldn’t underestimate the value of functional and responsive solution features – they will make your customers, and of course you, very happy!

#Payment plan

Moving on, you may want to think about how you’d like to pay for your tool.

Fixed contracts are passé nowadays. Today’s world of SaaS solutions is pretty much based on flexible and user-orientated subscription plans – either monthly or annual, with the option to cancel anytime. 

No cancellation fee, lots of flexibility and the freedom to upgrade or downgrade your solution is what’s trending today. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown everybody, and especially small businesses like beauty salons, travel agencies and recreational services providers that one day you may have a calendar full of bookings, and the next day they’re completely gone. Between March 2020 – February 2021, an estimated 200,000 additional businesses closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report by the Federal Reserve.

When you don’t have customers, you’re not earning money. So, locking yourself up in a fixed contract with your reservation app or platform can turn out very unprofitable. 

Pay attention to whether or not you can use an app or platform based on a subscription model – it’s convenient and safe. 

#User experience 

Last but not least, let’s not forget about the importance of user experience. Only choose a solution that will deliver exceptional service in this aspect. Here, it may be worth asking yourself questions like: 

  • “Who are my customers?”, 
  • “How old are my customers?”, 
  • “Will my customers know how to use my booking app?”, 
  • “Will my customers even want to use a booking app?”, 
  • “Is this booking app easy enough to navigate?”.

It’s crucial that you deliver your customers a booking experience that will be easy to use. Otherwise, you may risk losing customers because of the difficulty in successfully booking an appointment.

As a small business owner or employee, you’ll agree that each and every one of your customers counts a lot. To make sure you don’t lose them over silly software bugs or unnecessarily complicated settings, you should only pick an app with outstanding user experience. 

How can you know if an app offers great user experience? Check out the app or platform reviews and take advantage of free trials! The only way to really find out if your customers will find the process easy is if you let them try it out. 

In exchange for a little incentive like a discount code, they’ll be able to provide you with insightful details and opinions on a particular app or platform. 

Calendesk – your mobile app and booking platform in one place. 

As you can see, there are various aspects that you should keep in mind when you’re considering implementing an appointment app for your small business.

Tools like Calendesk, a booking platform and a mobile app in one place, are trust-worthy. 

Calendesk is affordable, offers a long list of great features, gives you flexibility and delivers an outstanding user experience. 

It’s pretty much the ultimate tool for businesses of all sizes, including small ones like yours. 

Whether you’re looking for a temporary solution, or a long-term productivity and profit driving game-changer in the world of online and mobile app booking – it’s here and it’s called Calendesk. 

But why would you want to believe our reassurance if you can check it all out on your own? 

Simply sign up for free and get ready for an unforgettable booking experience with your business.

Other than that, we hope you enjoyed this article and we wish you good luck with finding your appointment booking solution!