Have you ever lost a customer because you could not agree on an appointment time? Have you had days when you only had a few bookings? Perhaps you have encountered clients who opted not to show up to a meeting at the last minute?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any or all of those questions, there’s a good chance you may already be on the lookout for an appointment scheduling software. The only problem is you’re still undecided as to which one to subscribe to. That is understandable — there are numerous options, each with its unique set of features and tools.
So, to help you out, we prepared this article discussing the top 3 appointment scheduling software — Acuity Scheduling, vCita Online Scheduling, and SimplyBook.me. With this, you will get in-depth insights into the similarities and differences between these products in terms of features and pricing. After this, you should be able to decide which one ticks all the boxes for you.
The use of appointment scheduling tools is on the rise. In 2018 alone, the market was valued at $199.67 million. By 2026, experts predict that the global appointment scheduling market will hit $518.91 million.
Businesses, regardless of size, are increasingly relying on this kind of solution. One of the main reasons is convenience. For example, a customer can choose to set an appointment with a clinic for the following day, even after office hours. Meanwhile, an establishment can regularly fill its schedule book because it can accept appointments online at any given hour.
Appointment scheduling software are also becoming popular because of their integration with social platforms. To put this into perspective, Facebook is now the biggest social network with 2.45 billion active users. The company also reports that 2.8 billion people use Facebook, Inc.’s core services every month. That includes Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger.
Source: FacebookDesigned by
That said, for a business to attract bookings as well as nurture leads to increase sales, social media visibility is essential. However, integrating with other applications is just one capability an online appointment scheduler offers. There are others that are worthy of noting that can reduce no-shows and increase recurring visits, which we will discuss further below.
Acuity Scheduling serves to create a platform that works around the clock for you as an online scheduling assistant. It ensures that you take advantage of every appointment opportunity from a potential or existing client.
To that end, the appointment scheduling software empowers customers to self-schedule. Moreover, if they need to modify their selected time frame, they can do so. In fact, Acuity Scheduling enables them to change their appointments repeatedly. That is until they have settled on the best time.
In relation to this, clients can see your availability in real-time. So, whenever you make changes to your appointment book, they can see it immediately. As such, they can adjust their schedules accordingly. By doing so, you can give your clientele a heads up when you are available to serve them.
Key features of Acuity Scheduling
vCita Online Scheduling frees your time for other tasks with its online scheduling capabilities. Even when you are busy, you can continue booking appointments and managing them. This is because the appointment scheduling software is accessible to clients through the service portal.
There are other options for scheduling, too, such as through Facebook or your website. Whichever you opt to use, you can expect every appointment to appear in your calendar. It is not just any calendar, though, it is color-coded, enabling you to distinguish between services. Because of this, you have an idea of how your day would be like at a single glance.
Furthermore, you can rest assured that you can check your schedule at any time. This is possible as vCita Online Scheduling can synchronize with your favorite calendar tool.
If you want to investigate the features closely you can easily do so when you sign up for vCita Online Scheduling free trial here.
Key features of vCita Online Scheduling
SimplyBook.me reviews tell us that this is a simple online booking platform. Nevertheless, it offers robust features, beginning with its mobile-optimized booking website. You can make available services, service providers, and packages there.
On the same note, you can inform customers how much they need to pay. It is at this point that you can direct them to the page where they can pay for their bookings online. However, if that does not work for them, they can pay for services on-site through your POS.
Then, you can entice them to come back and continue patronizing your business with automated “come back soon” messages.
If you want to know more about the features it has to offer, you can easily sign up for SimplyBook.me free trial here.
Key features of SimplyBook.me
Acuity Scheduling, vCita Online Scheduling, and SimplyBook.me all double as your always-online assistant. Through them, clients can book their appointments at any time. As a result, you can say goodbye to long email threads, text exchanges, and phone calls.
However, when it comes to controlling your availability, Acuity Scheduling offers the most flexibility. It allows you to block specific time slots and even add personal tasks to your calendar. Of course, it still lets you control which sections of your calendar you want your customers to see.
Compare that with vCita Online scheduling, which limits what you can do with your availability. It does let you set regular business hours and specific times on particular dates. However, when blocking off time, you have to do so manually.
When it comes to appointment rescheduling, both Acuity Scheduling and vCita Online Scheduling gives your clients free rein. Despite that, you can set certain limitations to protect your business. For example, you can prevent rescheduling a day or two before the appointment.
In this regard, SimplyBook.me differs because it does not have a rescheduling or editing option. Instead, it allows customers to cancel the booking to make another one.
Verdict: Both Acuity Scheduling and vCita Online Scheduling are a notch above SimplyBook.me when it comes to scheduling flexibility. Still, Acuity Scheduling wins this round because it has more configurations for scheduling control. You can see this in the time/date blocking, especially.
In a nutshell, all top 3 appointment scheduling software have client management interfaces. And yet, each one has its own unique approach to the task.
For example, SimplyBook.me has simple client management tools. It lets you edit the client’s name, email, and phone number on one tab. You can also modify their SMS and email subscriptions on that page, too. On another, it shows the complete address.
On the other hand, Acuity Scheduling has a more comprehensive set of client management features. It shows the customer’s name, email, and contact number, together with notes and intake forms. The application enables you to manage appointments with the customer on their client page, as well. Additionally, you have the right to ban a person and explain to them why.
Lastly, vCita Online Scheduling has similar features, but with the addition of payments, documents, and conversations. The latter is especially helpful in having two-way exchanges with clients. You can use this as you would use a live chat software creatively for marketing.
Verdict: vCita Scheduling has more tools on its client management window. But if you want to be able to ban a client without facing them, Acuity Scheduling is for you.
Integrations are an essential aspect of any software, as it allows users to connect their favorite tools. With this, they can extend the functionalities of any platform. Acuity Scheduling, SimplyBook.me, and vCita Online Scheduling are no different.
Acuity Scheduling can connect with Facebook and Instagram; two of the most used social platforms on the planet. Because of this, your target audience can set an appointment with you without leaving their favorite social sites.
Additionally, you can add your online scheduler to your website. The solution supports WordPress, Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace. Other platforms you can integrate your widget with are GoDaddy, Joomla!, Drupal, Webs, and Zenfolio.
SimplyBook.me has a similar approach; it can integrate with Facebook but not with Instagram. Instead, it can connect with Line, a messaging app whose focus market is Asia. This is beneficial if you have clients in the region who prefer to use the app. In addition, you can add their booking widgets to your website.
With vCita Online Scheduling, you have a Facebook Pages integration as well as a website widget. Additionally, it helps you connect with a Google service called Reserve with Google. Through this, potential customers can book your services from Google Search, Google Maps, and Reserve with Google.
Verdict: If you are looking to integrate with as many channels as possible, Acuity Scheduling is a strong choice. Its basic integrations already include Facebook and Instagram, as well as several platforms for website building and website hosting solutions. Should you need more, you can always connect with your Zapier account. Through this, you can interface with other messaging platforms like Telegram and WhatsApp.
The volume of your appointments is directly related to your marketing efforts. The three online scheduling vendors we’re investigating here seem to understand this. This is evident in how they include marketing tools.
With vCita Online Scheduling, it is easy to find the marketing toolbox. It has ready-to-go automated campaigns, among which are birthday emails. Plus, you can add your own custom automated campaigns and use these email marketing trends for 2020 together with those. Furthermore, the application helps you promote your business with announcements. You can even schedule the delivery if you are just planning ahead.
On the other hand, the Acuity Scheduling and SimplyBook.me marketing tools are not as obvious. What they have are selections for coupons, subscriptions, and gift certificates. However, like vCita Online Scheduling, these two also offer support for email and SMS reminders, which also serve as marketing vehicles.
Verdict: vCita Online Scheduling has the most focused collection of marketing tools. Moreover, just like Acuity Scheduling and SimplyBook.me, it has email and SMS reminders too.
Acuity Scheduling and SimplyBook.me both offer a free plan. One main difference between the two is the reminder messages. The former does not provide the feature while the latter does.
Another thing is customization. Acuity Scheduling gives you a simple, no-nonsense scheduling page while SimplyBook.me has an array of theming options. These are available when you are beginning to configure your booking site. And in case you change your mind later, you can also select another theme.
Regarding pricing subscriptions, all three are scalable. But among them, SimplyBook.me has the most affordable basic package. On the other hand, Acuity Scheduling has more advanced features for its first-tier option. Meanwhile, vCita Online Scheduling has the priciest packages.
Verdict: SimplyBook.me has a better free plan. In addition, it has a more affordable first-tier subscription package. However, Acuity Scheduling’s upper-tier tariffs are the least expensive.
More businesses today are adopting online booking. Specifically, hospitals and clinics are investing in these apps to meet the millennial market’s demand for convenience. Even restaurants are embracing the technology so they can better manage issues related to staffing.
You may even be experiencing a need for an online booking platform in your field. The top 3 appointment scheduling software we discussed are designed to meet the requirements of businesses in different industries. They have the important availability management features and have value-added tools that make them worth your investment.
Among the three, we believe Acuity Scheduling has the best value-for-money proposition. It has a free plan that is good for freelancers, small teams, and startups. Its pricing scheme is also the most advantageous — if you have a tight budget but want a comprehensive set of features, it would not disappoint.
Whether you have chosen from this list of platforms or are still looking for other options, you may want to expand your knowledge on this type of technology. To get started, be sure to take a look at our in-depth guide to appointment scheduling software.
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