When you're starting out on the adventure that is being a business owner, you might find yourself doing whatever you possibly can to cater to your customers. Be it working from home at crazy hours, commuting all around town, rescheduling appointments last minute and spending too much time finding a slot that works for both parties - it's lot of stress and work to be available to your first customers.
And, it's not without good reason. The perceived chaos of starting a business fuels this notion that it needs to be hard and you need to work all day every day to get things rolling. Getting a new business off the ground and securing your first few customers is a challenge, no doubt - and we are here for it.
But there are ways to alleviate your workload by setting up an easy infrastructure around scheduling, payment and customer communication that saves you time, your customers time, allows you to set the right expectations for what and how working with you is like, and makes you seem like a legitimate business.
If you're just getting started with your business, we recommend utilizing an online scheduler from the start, so there's no need to switch existing customers on to a new more organized process. If you have a handful of customers and are looking for the path of least resistance on how to update your scheduling process - here's how to make that transition seamlessly!
Make the option available:
It may seem obvious, but the first way to get customers to use online scheduling is by making it an option to do so. There are a lot of excellent options out there!
- Hubspot Meetings Tool: This is a free tool that lets you sync your existing calendars, set availability and have customers book time with you. You can use the page wherever - your email, or embedded on a website.
- Calendar: Appropriately named has free and paid options, meant to capture all of your calendars (Google, iCal, Outlook, etc). Inclusive of analytics and transcriptions of meetings with paid.
- Setmore: This free appointment scheduler creates a public facing booking page, inclusive of notifications to people who book with you.
- Bounce House: Built for service-based businesses, we offer a free tier up to $19/month, for 1:1 appointments, group classes, integrated payment and customer management, as well as notifications to users and their end users.
- SimplyBook: From free to paid tiers up to $59.90/month, this tool integrates with social media, and can tie into your existing website or make a custom page.
- Square: Free for individuals and $90/month for teams greater than 6, Square combines booking and payment, with smart settings for cancellations.
- Calendly: A great tool for salespeople and round robin bookings, Calendly integrates multiple calendars for easy appointment scheduling.
- Acuity: Powered by Squarespace and priced between free to $50/month - this is an easy online assistant including notifications and follow up messaging to customers.
Add your scheduling page everywhere:
Once you've chosen one of these tools to proceed with, you have a great opportunity to set the precedent with a good experience and expectation to new customers that you start working with. They'll only know to book and edit appointments online. Embed your scheduler, or link to a specific page on your social media profiles, email signature, and on your website (if they're not connected).
Let existing customers know what's new:
As for existing customers who are used to texting and emailing back and forth about availability, it's time to tell them there's a new system! Start by sending a large email to all customers with the update, as well as clear steps on how to get acquainted with the new process. You can also chip away at changing your customer's behavior as appointments come. If you start using your scheduler every time, and encouraging client's to make changes directly online without needing to compare schedules, they will certainly see the benefit and get into a habit for future appointments.
Be clear about why:
Don't be shy to explain to your customers why you're making the switch to an online scheduler. It's easier to keep track of, it's a quicker way for both you and them to set up and change appointments and compare availability, and it saves everyone time. From automated reminders to instant payments and easy checkout, the logistical benefit is something that you and your customers can appreciate.
Serious about making the switch? Here at