As a small business, you have to have a tight hold on your cashflow – it’s critical to the success of your business.
Expenses have to be carefully considered.
There are seemingly endless amounts of software on the market today that promise to automate your business or help your business in some way.
But any small business knows that you have to choose wisely – you only have so many funds to allocate to software and tools.
That’s precisely why, if you’re an appointment-based business, online booking software is one of the best ways to invest in your business – especially because some of the best software is free to get started.
As you will see, scheduling software automates much of the appointment scheduling process and also offers additional features so that you don’t have to pay for additional software.
Why Online Booking Software is Important For Your Small Business
We’ve said it before, but we will say it again: your scheduling software is going to do a lot for your business. Not only does it generate more bookings by keeping your business running 24/7, but it also automates much of your appointment scheduling process as well.
It also offers a range of additional features like invoicing, allowing small businesses to effectively get the most bang for their buck from one single piece of software.itune
Scheduling software, even free software, automates much of your scheduling process. In turn, you and your employees have more time to tend to the front lines of your business instead of getting bogged down by bureaucratic and administrative tasks and details.
Small businesses that are automating (the right way), are the ones growing. According to the Small and Medium Business Trends Report from Salesforce, small businesses that automate are 1.6X more likely to grow than ones who don’t.
So, what does your online booking software automate?
- Appointment Scheduling
By taking appointments online, you are not only keeping your business open 24/7, but you are also reducing scheduling demands placed on your staff because a lot more people will choose to book online instead of calling.
In the process, administrative time on the phone is greatly decreased.
Remember – potential clients won’t just be booking from your booking page, either. Your online booking software can integrate with other platforms like your website and Facebook to accept bookings there as well (again, this reduces the amount of people who will call you).
The reality is that people also want these self-service options. They want to be able to book services at hours that are convenient with their own schedule. Roughly 90% of customers want to be able book online.
- Booking Reminders/Confirmations
Your scheduling software will completely automate booking reminders/confirmations so that your staff spends less time on the phone and can more time directly with customers.
Booking reminders are critical to every appointment-based business as they prevent no-shows, which cost your business a lot of money every year.
By automating this specific process, your staff has more time to spend elsewhere and you simultaneously decrease no-shows at the same time.
- Rebooking Reminders
Many businesses overlook rebooking reminders – reminders that are sent out to customers after a particular service to remind them to rebook again soon.
These are an easy way to encourage repeat bookings and yet many appointment-based businesses seem to overlook them.
Your software, however, will completely automate your rebooking reminders for you.
2. Additional Features
Online booking software does not only automate the appointment scheduling process. It also offers a lot of additional features that make it possible for you to reduce your need to use third-party software and tools for various tasks.
Some scheduling software, for example, will offer invoicing features so that you can track and store client billing information, payments, taxes, inventory and all other invoicing-related information right from within your online booking software.
How To Choose Online Booking Software on a Budget
First and foremost, you will find that some online booking software that you encounter is actually free for businesses – or at least will give you access to a select few features.
Even these free features will do a lot your business. You want to make sure you get the most out of your free scheduling software by integrating it with your website and Facebook and taking advantage of as many free automated features as possible.
But as we all know, just because it’s free doesn’t mean it’s good. That isn’t to say that free software can’t be good (in fact, quite the contrary), but it’s important to choose your software wisely.
This is especially true because this will likely be a software that will you upgrade at some point in the future so it’s important to choose a powerful software from the beginning so you don’t have to switch at some point in the future because it doesn’t fit your business’s needs.
Here are a few key things to look for:
- Fully-encrypted software and cloud based storage
- Design excellence
- Easy to use and customizable
Here is a more comprehensive look at how to choose the best online booking software for your business.
The Bottom Line
Scheduling software is a valuable asset to appointment-based businesses regardless of the size. This is especially true for small businesses who need to rely on smart automation to grow.
It just so happens that such software is available even on a budget – it’s just a matter of choosing wisely so that when you upgrade down the road it will be an easy transition.
Yocale is the top online booking software on the market today – it’s also free to get started. Yocale also has been featured in Microsoft, Forbes and beyond.
We also offer a free suite of business management and marketing tools. For more information, click here.