Do you ever wonder if you are missing out on new customers?
As a small business owner, it can be really difficult to both operate the phones as well as get the work done during work hours – but what happens to those customers who want to book outside of working hours?
We all need our rest, and it’s impossible to be working in the business 24/7.
In this week’s episode we investigate options for small business to increase work opportunities in your sleep!
We all know that the small business environment is a changing landscape and that our customers are increasingly looking for goods and services online – often times after your business hours.
How do you get in front of those customers and avoid missing out on those opportunities without increasing your work hours?
One simple solution: Online booking.
How does online booking work?
Generally, there are two options available to you when it comes to online booking.
1. Allow customers to book specific services and pay online and send text message reminder, or
2. Allow customers just book and send a text message reminder, collecting payment when they come into your business.
For the first option, there’s usually payment gateway fees, and for both options, there’s usually a SMS volume fee.
How do my customers find the book online feature?
There’s a couple of services out there that are really awesome and most allow you to add a button on your Facebook page saying “book now”.
You can also promote it on your website if you have one.
This allows people to book at times that are convenient for them and also that is convenient for you and you don’t have to have a receptionist there to take their call when they’re ready to make the call.
How to pick an online booking service for your business
There are several online booking software that are available to small business, most are really affordable whilst others are tailored to your industry.
Our top two picks are:
This allows you to schedule multiple employees / services, and an online payment feature. You can sell products and send text message reminders. You can also easily book in repeat business which is great for regular catchups.
You can even add ‘buffer’ time between appointments so that you can have time to tidy up a room / process the client’s cash receipt etc, and also, schedule holidays for staff members.
It’s perfect for professional services, beauty salons, hair salons, personal trainers, and repeat business opportunities (eg massage, health professionals).
You can also sync your google or outlook calendar with the Get Timely calendar – so any appointments you book in your personal calendar blocks out time in your Get Timely calendar -super neat hey?
Your customers get a text message reminder as well as a calendar appointment request.
Cliniko is bespoke to medical and alternative health.
This software not only manages appointments, repeat appointments, invoices and SMS text messages, but it also allows you to use a document management software to track patient records and health alerts for your patients. It also complies with health care insurance and medicare.
You can even link it to MailChimp a free online newsletter portal to improve your marketing to patients and your extended contacts list.
Your patients get a text message reminder as well as a calendar appointment request.
Both pieces of software are really affordable for small business.
SMS reminders are charged separately and usually sold in packs based upon volume. We highly recommend the SMS reminders because it helps reduce ‘no shows’.
One word of warning!
People who book online with you, expect to see you at the time they’ve booked!
So it is imperative that whatever online booking service you choose, you must keep your calendar up to date.
You can no longer use the old paper book to schedule people in! You need one play book to work with.
This also includes blocking out holiday time periods.
Benefits of online booking to your business
Our clients who have implemented similar software have:
1. Doubled their bookings within 6 months, and
2. Increased their repeat business (both pieces of software remind you to book the next appointment before the client leaves).
3. Reduced the need for a full time receptionist (so more money in your pocket) and
4. Reduced lost revenue from forgotten appointments (a direct result of the SMS reminders).
Go and get that competitive edge for your small business!
This is a competitive edge for your business and that’s why we’re recommending you give it a try!
So go on, go explore some online booking and see the benefits that it will bring to your business.
If this was help for you or you know somebody it might help, please share on social media we love to help the catalyst plus community grow. But in the meantime, have an awesome week and I’ll see you in next week’s episode of Catalyst Plus TV!