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What Is Appointment Scheduling Software? Analysis of Features, Types, Benefits and Pricing

Category: B2B News
What is appointment scheduling software?

Appointment scheduling software solutions are tools that allow professionals and businesses to better manage the scheduling of appointments and bookings. This type of software is also known as appointment booking software and online booking software.

Companies use online appointment scheduling software to automate scheduling tasks. The system can be used to arrange meetings and appointments. Top features you can expect in such solutions include:

  • Appointment reminders
  • Employee and customer management
  • Calendar integration
  • Payment processing
  • Revenue processing
  • Mobile compatibility

You can also use this type of software to update scheduling tasks and improve your company’s efficiency.

Both desktop-based and web-based appointment scheduling platforms include:

  • Integration with employee and customer data
  • Calendar system linked to a main database
  • Ability to evaluate calendar data
  • Permissions method

Customer appointment management (CAM) is an advanced type of appointment scheduling software used by large companies with a mobile workforce. Its main function is to automatically schedule and route home service appointments.

Leading vendors mostly offer their solutions under the SaaS model.

This article intends to answer the question “what is appointment scheduling software?” Beyond the simple definition of appointment scheduling software, we will help you understand the purpose of it in the management of your business and shortlist your options once you start looking for your ideal system. These are the topics we are going to discuss:

  1. Examples of appointment scheduling software
  2. Benefits of appointment scheduling software
  3. Types of appointment scheduling software
  4. Features of appointment scheduling software
  5. Buying factors to consider
  6. Pricing of appointment scheduling software
  7. Potential issues
  8. Latest trends

What Are Examples of Appointment Scheduling Software?

1. Acuity Scheduling – Acuity Scheduling is an appointment scheduling software that offers plenty of robust features through its user-friendly interface.

With the Acuity platform, setting up your availability is easy, even if you work irregular hours. You can choose from various appointment types and create separate calendars for each staff member or business location. These features help organize your schedule to reduce the costs of errors such as double-booked appointments.

Once your availability is set up, clients will be able to view your real-time availability without making any calls or sending emails. Your clients can even make appointments right from your website or your business’ social media profile. The platform notifies you of any appointments made and continuously updates your calendar as needed. You can even check your schedule from your mobile phone. This way, you don’t miss out on any appointments and you can improve relationships with clients.

Acuity also helps you improve your sales and marketing campaigns. You can put your brand on reminders, confirmations, and follow-up communications to your clients. This level of personalization ensures that your business is top of mind as your clients move through the sales funnel.

To make transactions even more convenient, the platform can also be integrated with online payment solutions like PayPal and Stripe. This way, your clients can make payments right after scheduling an appointment.

All these features, plus integrations with calendar apps and communications and accounting software, make Acuity Scheduling a powerful tool for any business.

2. Calendly — Calendly is a simple, easy-to-use, yet powerful scheduling software, which aims to save time, accelerate sales, and improve service quality.

It eliminates the old-school way of using email and phone tags for scheduling appointments, calls, interviews, demos, and more. It allows hot prospects to connect right away, and ensures staff don’t lose them to phone and email tags.

It works simply and beautifully. All you need to do is to set your availability preference, share the link with clients, colleagues, etc., and let them pick a time for the event, which is automatically added to your calendar.

It’s more efficient and simplified compared to traditional appointment scheduling solutions, and it makes it easy for users to setup, use, and manage the scheduling of appointments and more.

3. Checkfront — Checkfront is an online booking and customer management solution and a great Calendly alternative. It comes with many useful tools and also supports integration with many popular online services to make the reservations and bookings quick and hassle-free.

To make management easier for you, Checkfront will also facilitate payment processing, and make sure you have the necessary analytic tools to make the best use of your data.

Checkfront was first launched in 2009 as an application with the aim to easily integrate the relevant websites and services, and make the process of bookings, reservations, and payments easy for the online buyers.

The application got a lot of positive response in no time and the application that was founded by two people turned into a company that continuously evolved the application into a full-fledged booking and payment management system.

3. Appointment Plus — Business operations these days always seem to be in a hurry. Therefore, automation becomes an important factor in business models. Appointment Plus is one such software and a great Checkfront alternative that helps you to schedule appointments and it manages everything related to it.

Appointment management is a key component to modern businesses. Whether they are interviews or meetings, you need to manage clashes, reminders and other similar aspects which can be a bit daunting.

Appointment Plus gives you that luxury of easily and quickly managing these aspects and it becomes more of a digital secretary to you. At the moment, Appointment Plus operates in more than 16 countries of the world.

Some renowned businesses from across the globe have been using this software which is why it is one of the leading software services in this domain. Regardless of how big or small your business might be, Appointment Plus has effective and efficient solutions for all.

4. Bookeo — Bookeo delivers a set of online scheduling and appointment management solutions for various types of business and individual users. Its a reliable Appointment Plus alternative.

While Bookeo originally catered to small businesses and individual professionals such as photographers, car washing services, therapists, and more with its basic appointment scheduling tool, the product soon expanded to include more customer and business types.

Aside from Bookeo Appointments, Bookeo has developed two separate products intended for instruction-based businesses and tourism and travels — Bookeo Class & Courses and Bookeo Tours & Activities — respectively.

The former is an ideal online reservation and booking platform for art classes, yoga sessions, cooking schools and more. On the other hand, the latter is perfect for guided tours, charters, and escape rooms to name a few.

5. YouCanBook.me — YouCanBook.me is a booking platform that allows customer bookings straight into the calendar, and integrates seamlessly with Google and iCloud Calendar. If offers a personalized scheduling page, allowing customers to easily book their appointments and be notified about them when the time arrives.

Users can link the software to their Google or iCloud Calendar or even both. At the same time, this platform is fairly simple to setup. The user needs to connect a Google/iCloud Calendar to the YCBM account, and set the required features.

You can then control your availability through your calendar and publish the new booking grid to your website, Facebook page, or send it by email. This allows customers to book an appointment according to their convenience.

You’ll automatically get detailed notifications when a customer makes a booking and the booking would also pop straight into the calendar. Customers can also reschedule their bookings, which will update automatically in the calendar.

6. MIDAS — a robust and intelligent web-based room scheduling and management software. With it, venues can gain full control over their space and resource reservations regardless of the device they are on.

As MIDAS is accessible entirely from the cloud, users can perform various functions simply from their preferred browser. Thus, they can easily view the number and size of rooms they currently have available and those that have been booked.

Furthermore, MIDAS enables owners, managers, and staff to supervise the use of their resources and equipment. This allows users of different access levels to ensure that company properties are well-handled while allowing customers to use them independently.

7. 10to8 — 10to8 is an appointment-scheduling system that simplifies most HR managers’ average workload. This software service helps significantly in automating day-to-day activities, thereby giving your business a much more professional look and performance.

The software offers some highly flexible features which can fit according to the size of your business, which is why we believe 10to8 caters to the need of both small and large companies.

Basically, the scalability options in this software make it an even more attractive offer to all types and sizes of businesses. With 10to8 in your toolkit, it will be incredibly easy to improve customers’ experience, and allow them to make, manage, or cancel bookings around the clock.

The system is also an excellent alternative to enable attractive booking forms, send automated email reminders, follow your appointment history, and build lasting and high-quality customer relationships. Whether you are at the office or at home, you can set and maintain schedules with this web-based software.

Several renowned businesses have been 10to8’s customers, which says a lot about its credibility and efficiency. What both experts and satisfied customers believe to be the distinctive advantage of this system is its neat and friendly interface, which requires no complex training sessions.

8. Harmonizely — An intuitive appointment and schedule management solution that makes it effortless for your customers to book an appointment at their utmost convenience. Harmonizely features rich and seamless integrations with popular calendar applications and CRMs so you can stay on top of your scheduled meetings and ensure that they fit your available time slots.

Long winding and back-and-forth email communications are a thing of the past thanks to Harmonizely’s easy sharing of scheduling availability. Simply share your appointment link to let your clients book a schedule. It also decreases no-shows through an easily accessible appointment cancellation via the admin panel as well as automated reminders for nearing appointments.

Overall, this system helps you unify all your scheduling from a single platform, maximize opportunities, and ensure that you always remain on top of every single appointment. Furthermore, by giving your clients the ability to book an appointment based on their preferred date and time, you can minimize instances of unwanted no-shows and cancellations.

Why Use Appointment Scheduling Software?

You’ve learnt what is appointment scheduling software, but what is its purpose? What are the advantages of appointment scheduling software? Here are four key benefits we can cite:

  1. It helps you attract and retain customers: Your customers will find it easy to schedule appointments for your services and thus enjoy a better user experience. They can schedule an appointment anytime, anywhere and don’t need to wait for normal business hours. Thus, appointment scheduling software can help you market your services more effectively to attract new customers as well as retain existing ones. Surveys show that a good percentage of customers wish to schedule appointments online compared to other means.
  2. It enhances revenue: The software automates the scheduling work which helps your employees concentrate on generating more revenue by servicing more customers every day. It integrates smoothly with electronic payment gateways which speeds up the billing process and helps your company get faster payments.
  3. It boosts staff efficiency: Service professionals are busy with multiple customer appointments during peak hours. If they do not use appointment scheduling software, they may end up double-booking appointments, which can cause customer frustration and reduce efficiency. The software helps with easy scheduling and rescheduling, and your employees can confirm appointments with customers to ensure they don’t waste time.
  4. It minimizes no-shows: The software tracks forthcoming appointments and automatically sends phone, text, or email reminders to customers about their appointments. Certain apps even let customers confirm appointments through these reminders. This helps to minimize no-shows and allows companies to better utilize their employee time.

What Are the Types of Appointment Scheduling Software?

We’ve described what is appointment scheduling software earlier in the article, but what are its types? Appointment scheduling software can be offered as:

  • Desktop applications: These are licensed and installed on the user’s hardware. These systems have robust features and reporting, and can be customized. But a negative is they don’t normally offer an online portal for employee or customer access. Installed apps need to be maintained, supported, and upgraded by the end user.
  • Web-based systems (SaaS): These are offered by a third-party provider as a hosted software solution. A major benefit is customers have the convenience of booking and scheduling their own appointments over the web.

A type of software within this category is called Customer Appointment Management (CAM) Software. This is a kind of appointment-scheduling software used by large mobile workforces. It automatically schedules and routes in-home service appointment arrivals. CAM software uses proprietary algorithms that identify mobile employees’ work patterns to accurately forecast a service technician’s time of arrival and reduce a customer’s waiting time to 60 minutes. These SaaS systems are easy to deploy and use and allow flexible pricing packages.

What Does Appointment Scheduling Software Do?

  1. Deal management and promotions: You can create promotions and deals that are valid for given timespan on employee calendars to attract more bookings.
  2. Acceptance of online payments: Some apps provide integration with electronic payment gateways so that you can collect payments when customers book appointments.
  3. Staff scheduling: Business owners can effectively manage employee work hours by monitoring their calendars in real time.
  4. Customer scheduling: Customers can see the calendars of all the professionals in a company so that they can book an appointment with an employee they prefer.
  5. Automatic reminders: You can send reminders to customers about upcoming appointments by notifying them via email messages or SMS texts.
  6. Calendar management: Users can create meetings or appointments on their calendars and share them with others at multiple locations. This feature may also include synchronization with third-party calendar apps such as Google Calendar used by others.
  7. Real-time automated scheduling: The platform can confirm or deny an appointment immediately when a booking request is made, depending on availability. It can also handle a waiting list of appointments that can be replaced if an existing booking is rescheduled or cancelled.
  8. Online booking: Customers can book, reschedule, or follow up on appointments over the Internet by utilizing an intuitive drag-and-drop interface. Some apps help users to make online bookings that automatically synchronize across multiple devices.

What Should You Consider When Buying an Appointment Scheduling System?

Appointment scheduling software helps users to manage scheduling bookings and appointments. If you are looking for a suitable appointment scheduling program for your needs, you have come to the right place. This buyer’s guide provides you helpful pointers on the essential things to look for in a good quality software solution.

Get to Know Each Product With Free Trial

A good way to start is to try out the free trials of the best appointment scheduling software services. This will help you learn more about their features firsthand and gauge if they suit your needs. You can check out if the following popular appointment scheduling tools offer a free trial: Calendy, Checkfront, Appointment Plus, Bookeo, YouCanBook.me, Acuity Scheduling, and 10to8.

Consider Your Industry or Targeted Businesses

The best appointment scheduling software can be used to schedule different types of tours, special events, workshops, and classes. They can be helpful in a range of industries including:

  • Education (e.g., universities and tutors)
  • Field service (e.g., house cleaning and pest control)
  • Food service (e.g., caterers and restaurants)
  • Auto maintenance (e.g., car washes and mechanics)
  • Financial services (e.g., accountants and tax consultants)
  • Fitness and recreation (e.g., personal trainers, yoga studios, and gyms)
  • Health and beauty (e.g., salons and spas, medical practices)

What’s the Cost of Appointment Scheduling Software?

  1. CalendyIndividual users can benefit from a free basic version of this system. For businesses, however, Calendly offers a premium plan [$8/user/month (billed annually) or $10/user/month (billed monthly)] and quote-based enterprise pricing.
  2. CheckfrontCheckfront offers four subscription-based enterprise pricing plans that vary according to the number of accounts, added features and integrations, and the number of reservations you have per year. Pricing starts at $49/month and goes up to $499/month.
  3. Appointment PlusThere are four enterprise pricing packages available. For yearly payment, customers get a two month free service. Pricing starts at $49/month and goes up to $199/month or more.
  4. BookeoDepending on the activities they offer, companies can choose between several SMB and enterprise pricing packages. For Bookeo Appointments, prices start at $14.95/user/month and goes up to $39.95/user/month. For Bookeo Class and Courses, prices start at $39.95/month and goes up to $119.95/month. For Bookeo Tours and Activities, prices start at $39.95/month and goes up to $119.95/month.
  5. YouCanBook.meThe basic YouCanBook.me package is free, but we encourage businesses to consider the company’s enterprise pricing offer. The Single Pricing Plan is $10/calendar/month or $108/calendar/year or $192/calendar/2 years.
  6. Acuity SchedulingAcuity Scheduling offers several SMB and enterprise pricing plans, including a free basic one. Aside from the free forever plan, pricing starts at $10/month and goes up to $34/month.
  7. 10to8They offer several enterprise pricing plans for users to choose from, depending on the number of appointments and staff logins. Give the details a look, and select the most suitable option for your business. Aside from the free forever plan, prices start at $9.6/month and goes up to $40/month.

What Are Potential Issues With Appointment Scheduling Software?

Integrate Your Different Systems

Small businesses with fewer employees tend to use multiple systems for CRM, customer communications, managing payments and invoicing etc. They can gain a lot by integrating the various software applications on a single platform to enable easy sharing of data. Companies should consolidate the different functions into a single scheduling system with robust features to enhance efficiency and productivity.

Test the System

It is advisable for you to thoroughly test the system and make sample appointments so that your employees get to know the booking process. This will also help you to view how the settings appear to your customers and modify them if required.

Don’t Launch Too Soon

You could land in a soup if you launch your online scheduling system too fast. First, ensure you get your employees, services, and resources configured and ready before you allow customers to start using the software for booking.

The following evolutions are noteworthy in the ongoing development of appointment scheduling software:

Greater Mobility

Customers are increasingly using tablets and smartphones to make online bookings. In fact, the Safari browser for mobile devices is becoming more popular than Internet Explorer which is used on desktops. This is because iPhones and iPads have become widely used devices to make online appointments.

Less Free Systems

Many vendors are no longer offering online booking software for free. They have realized that it does not make financial sense to offer free service as they need sustainable revenue to continuously improve the system and provide free customer support. However, you can subscribe to a good quality appointment scheduling system at an affordable price.

Increased Adoption

More and more service-based companies in all geographic regions are using online booking systems. Businesses are aiming to boost revenue and reduce costs by using this software. Plus, they also wish to save time and improve their employees’ productivity with appointment scheduling software.

By Jenny Chang

Senior writer at FinancesOnline who writes about a wide range of SaaS and B2B products, including trends and issues on e-commerce, accounting and customer service software. She’s also covered a wide range of topics in business, science, and technology for websites in the U.S., Australia and Singapore, keeping tabs on edge tech like 3D printed health monitoring tattoos and SpaceX’s exploration plans.

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