If you have ever had the back and forth emails trying to schedule an appointment for your wellness business you’ll appreciate the usefulness of an automated appointment scheduler. Getting started is as easy as selecting a scheduler, adding your availability and sharing a link.
I grew up in a time before most of the technology we don’t even think about was a thing and many of my friends are still reluctant to use technology. I still have a friend who is a hairdresser who keeps her appointments on a big paper calendar. At least she now uses email. It used to be a bunch of phone tag before we got to the actual booking.
What can an appointment scheduler do?
This depends on the scheduler you choose. You provide a link to your booking page, or an embedded calendar on your website. The client can then choose a time that works for them. You can choose to ask a few screening questions so you can get some of the preliminary stuff out of the way. If an appointment gets booked or you put something else on your calendar, the scheduler will not allow appointments to be booked at that time.
Reasons for using an appointment scheduler
Here are some reasons you might want to use a scheduler:
- An appointment scheduler allows a no friction way for clients to take the first step – booking a call with you. If you have to do a back and forth with email, the client can lose interest.
- You are less likely to double book with an appointment scheduler.
- That piece of paper that you wrote the details on won’t get lost
- You won’t forget to add it to your calendar.
- An appointment scheduler takes care of time zone conversion so you won’t forget that your client is on Eastern Standard time while you are on Pacific Daylight time.
- When can you use an appointment scheduler?
- You can use an appointment scheduler anytime you book appointments. Use it for discovery calls, coaching calls, or booking podcast guests.
What to look for in a scheduler?
This will depend a little on what you want to do with it, but here are some features you might want:
- Syncs with your Google, Outlook or Apple calendar. This keeps appointments from overlapping or from appointments from being scheduled when you have booked a dentist appointment, or on a national holiday if your clients are in another country.
- Multiple appointment types. If you are booking multiple types of appointments then you might want this, especially if the length is different for each.
- Embedding onto your website. Some will allow you to embed the calendar directly onto your website, even showing weekly availability, some only allow a link to be embedded.
- Allow you to collect payment. You might want this if clients can book and pay for coaching calls.
- Integrates with your video conferencing system. This used to be mostly a paid offering, but during 2020 some started offering this with their free plans. This isn’t an absolute must, as you can easily send out a Zoom link, but it takes one thing off of your plate, for seamless booking.
- Ease of use. This may seem obvious, but if you are not using it very often, you might find that with some schedulers you spend half your time looking for what you want to do.
- Allows for multiple team members. If you have a team, you will need a scheduler that allows for this.
- Watch out for the free trial period. With some schedulers like many free digital products you automatically get signed up for a free trial with the paid version. The problem with this is that you might start using some of the paid features only to find out that you no longer have them.
Do you have to pay for an appointment scheduler?
This will depend on your needs. And how much you want to do manually. Most schedulers will send out an initial email at the time of booking with the free version, but won’t send out follow up and reminder emails. If you are booking a lot of appointments then the ease of knowing that reminder emails are sent out is probably worth it.
Some make the feature of booking multiple appointment types a paid option, but some allow this with the free plan.
Embedding a Zoom link directly into the scheduler is an option that may or may not be free, so check this out before you decide.
What are the downsides of using an appointment scheduler?
Since I have concentrated my health coach business more on the digital product side of things, I don’t book a lot of one on one appointments. This is changing as I move into the virtual assistant space. But what I found is that I often forgot to make updates in my Calendar when I wasn’t available. Like adding Canadian Thanksgiving, my 2 day camping trip in the summer or the appointment I had to take my car in for service.
An appointment scheduler only works if you give it the right information. So if you choose to use one, don’t forget to block off time for other appointments and holidays.
Which scheduler should you use?
If you already use a client management system like Practice Better or Dubsado, these include a scheduler which may or may not meet your needs. Other options for appointment schedulers include Calendly, Accuity and Appointlet. To find out what other tech you need for your wellness business, check out this free guide.
Using an appointment scheduler will help simplify your appointment booking process. It will make it faster and easier for you and your clients to book appointments