If your appointment based business already has it’s own website then utilizing an online booking system is a terrific way to attract new customers. Website booking systems let your customers book and purchase your services 24/7, and are surprisingly easy to setup and use with little technical know-how.
Online booking systems have many advantages that can boost your businesses bottom line. Decreasing advantage is an upsurge in bookings. Customers who may not have booked your services will book on impulse, instead of continuing their web search and booking with another business that does provide the convenience of bookings online. These days everyone is comfortable with using the Internet to book and pay for services, so if your business doesn’t provide the convenience of online bookings then you’re missing out on new business.
To start out offering online website bookings on your website you must first choose an online reservation system. Most booking reservation systems charge a little monthly fee which can change from $20 per month up to $100 per month for enterprise solutions. Prices are usually determined by the amount of services you provide, and the amount of staff/resources your business has.
Many online booking systems allow your visitors to pay for bookings utilizing an online payment solution. When choosing an online booking system be certain that PayPal payments are supported, as PayPal is by far the most trusted and trusted payment gateway today.
Before selecting which website reservation system you’ll use make sure you try out a demo of what the booking calendar can look like for the customers. Booking systems vary greatly in the technology they’ve been built with, which means you want one that’s user friendly and looks good on your site. The booking experience an online reservation system provides could be the difference between completed bookings and abandoned bookings due to an outdated or un-friendly interface.
You wish to make the booking experience as easy and straightforward as you possibly can for the customers. Don’t choose an online reservation system that forces your customers to create accounts before completing a booking. This is the big turn-off for your customers, and will result in many abandoned bookings. Additionally you don’t want to force your customers to enter line after line of personal information you do not even need. A good online reservation system should enable you to choose what information you collect from your own customers when making bookings. It is important to request only the information you need, since long booking forms may also result in abandoned bookings.
Other features to look out for in an internet site reservation system are email and SMS/text appointment reminders. Automated appointment reminders will reduce no-shows, saving your organization money while providing a handy service to your customers.
Many businesses today use tools such as Google Calendar in running way of life. If your business falls in this category you then should choose an online booking system that has Google Calendar integration. Some online reservation systems let you integrate with Google Calendar using “calendar feeds”. Calendar feeds can only just update your Google Calendar one-way, and there is a long delay between updates this means your Google Calendar isn’t always updated. If using Google Calendar is essential to your organization then choose an online booking system which has full two-way Google Calendar integration, enabling you to modify bookings directly within Google Calendar and also ensuring that your Google Calendar is definitely up to date.
Lastly, ensure that your online booking system is powerful and flexible enough to handle things such as staff leave, custom working days/times for the staff, and non-working days for if you are closed for business. The final thing you want can be your customers booking times when your business or a staff member is not available.