It’s a new year! Perhaps you are thinking of ways to be more efficient with your time and money? One way to do this is to implement an online scheduling system.
Does this sound familiar? A client says they’d like to schedule a time to talk. You say “Great! I have the following times available.” They respond two days later with their chosen time, only the time they’ve chosen is no longer available. How uncomfortable is it to reply with “Sorry, that time is no longer free. Let’s start over…”
Repeat this over and over again each week with other clients, coffee meetings, friends, etc. and you’ve used up a whole lot of time with back and forth.
There is a better way! It’s been around quite a while, and it’s getting better all the time. If you haven’t included an online scheduler in your “tools of the trade” I encourage you to take a look.
Sounds great, but I want to remain in charge of my calendar!
If you’ve hesitated to use a scheduling software because you don’t want to add it to your website, with appointments free for the taking, have no fear! You can remain in charge of your schedule and you do not have to publish it to your site. You can simply email someone a link to the appointment option you’d like to give them.
Most of these systems allow you to adjust multiple settings and you can customize it to fit your needs. You can add buffer times between appointments, specify which dates or times to allow, state how many appointments can be set in a day, and on and on.
As long as you set your system to sync with your calendar, you won’t be double booked. The chosen appointment time will be added to your calendar and you’ll receive an email to notify you.
What’s even better? If you are like me and use your calendar to map out times to work on projects, your calendar gets quite full. If you’d prefer to do this, but want your online scheduler to show the time available for appointments, simply mark the time as “free” and you can continue to use your calendar as you are used to, and your clients will still have the option to book that time with you. (Client appointments come first, right?) This ability will depend on the calendar you use, so you may need to do a little testing to confirm.
How long does the set up take? Is it worth it?
These systems have come so far that many are very easy to use. I myself use Calendly and have found it very easy to set up after just a bit of exploring. I created several events, customized responses for each, added questions I want to ask of the person booking the appointment, and it took less than 2 hours, including testing. It’s a no-brainer when it comes to a return on my time investment. Paying a small fee will give you a positive ROI if you implement and use it correctly. If you schedule just a couple of appointments each month, there are free options that come with less customization, and even those will save you time!
The software options can be overwhelming. I would suggest searching for a scheduler based on your industry, pick 3 and do a little comparison. Or, ask a colleague what they are using and why they like it (or don’t). Or, leave it to your Assistant to set it up for you. Delegation is also a key time saver…and that is another topic for another time!
Bottom line. It’s worth it.