Choosing the Right Scheduling Software for Your Business

the best online scheduling software

The right appointment scheduling software works a lot like a fairy godmother—it shows up when you need it and solves everything for you. 

Picking the right scheduling software for your business is actually pretty dang simple. It all comes down to finding a scheduling platform that’s user-friendly, affordable, and packed with intuitive features that figure out scheduling logistics on your behalf.

The switch can be really simple, and it’s something you can do right now to simplify your entire business in the future. No overwhelm or headaches included.

1 | So, what’s the deal with different scheduling platforms?

Scheduling platforms are exceptional tools that automate the scheduling process in your business. Whether you’re setting up appointments with colleagues, contractors, or clients, the right scheduling software handles the stressful logistics for you.

Rather than spending eight emails going back and forth via email, automated schedulers let you skip the whole, “what time works for you?” rodeo. Instead, you simply send your people the link to your scheduling page, so they’re able to peruse your availability and pick their perfect appointment.

2 | Here’s why you definitely need one.

We’re literally an automated scheduling company, so we’ll never play coy about the importance of automating your scheduling. Passing off your scheduling off to seamless software often means you:

  • Save heaps and heaps of time.
    Scheduling software isn’t just about appointments. Great scheduling platforms set you up with an entire automated onboarding system.

    This means that you’ll have less manual, administrative work to hammer out on the daily. From sending your client questionnaire to delivering a final testimonial request, the right scheduling software will step in as a stellar virtual assistant.

    In fact, in 2019, 42% of Acuity users that we surveyed said that our automated scheduler saves them around 5 hours each week.

    That’s an extra hour in each weekday—enough time to start developing your first (or next) course, deliver more 1:1 value to your clients, and finally figure out what the fuss is all about with sourdough bread starters.

  • Preserve your mental energy.
    Imagine a world where you don’t have to obsessively refresh your inbox on your phone at the grocery store, waiting for a client to finalize their appointment time. (This world exists. And no, you don’t need to find a golden ticket in a chocolate bar to enter.)

    With automated scheduling, there’s no waiting game. No back and forth. No lingering stress of uncertainty. Once you send over your scheduling link, the client books while you go about your business.

    Think of it like hiring a new employee. When they’re focused on their work, that frees up your brain space to play in your business. Couldn’t we all use a little more play right about now?

  • Hold your clients accountable & safeguard your biz.
    Having official records of communication matters for your online business. (This is how we can cover our butts while serving our people.)

    Unlike digging through emails to find old conversations, exceptional appointment scheduling software keeps all client communication organized in their unique client profile.

    This means that with a few clicks, you can see which appointments they booked (and paid for), which terms of service or contracts they’ve agreed to, when any reschedules or cancellations happened (from either side), and a complete record of any automated emails sent through the scheduling software.

    When we were first developing Acuity, we made a point to make customer relations really, really easy. You started your business to help your clients, not trudge through years of back-logged emails.

  • Easily set boundaries around your time.
    The very best and very worst thing about being business owners is that we could work on our companies 24/7. (We could even work on them 29/7, once we finally crack the code on time machines.)

    Given the opportunity, it’s waaaay too easy to squeeze in extra clients, book in 12-hour days for yourself, and lose sight of anything that remotely resembles work/life balance.

    That’s where scheduling software steps in. When you can customize your availability by appointment type, you’re not just automating your appointments—you’re automating your boundaries.

    Once those hard-n-fast rules are set up in your schedule, suddenly you’re able to feel secure (and pretty serene) with your workload. It’s a way to safeguard yourself against...well...yourself.

  • Look official and legit.
    With more and more online businesses popping up out of the snow like spring daisies, it’s essential that you look as good as you are. As soon as you spend 20 minutes setting up the basics of your new scheduling software, you’re equipped with a new level of professionality.

    Utilizing the right scheduling software can shift the public perception of your business. Rather than being a one-off service provider, it helps people recognize that you’re a legitimate company.

    The consistent, polished touchpoints of the right scheduling software provide a higher-level user experience, so you’re viewed as a higher-level professional. After all, we all know exactly how powerful you are. Now it’s just time to make sure your clients recognize that, too.

3 | How to choose the right scheduling software for you.

Over the years, scheduling platforms have become so essential to the daily operations of freelancers that oodles of companies exist. (Don’t ask us for the scientific definition of oodles, but we know that it’s a lot.)

That’s why it’s great to take a little time and make a checklist of your must-have features. We suggest you start by making sure your software platform has the:

  • Ability to brand every touchpoint to your business.
    Levels of customization with scheduling platforms vary wildly. In a perfect world, you’d opt for a platform where you can customize all the colors (like buttons), upload a background image, tweak all text (if you want), and get a customizable link to your scheduling page.

    It might sound like a tall order, but that level of cohesiveness in your brand will blow your clients’ minds.

  • Functionality for clients to self-schedule themselves.
    The entire point of automated scheduling is that you rarely have to touch it. That’s why you want to keep an eye out for a scheduling platform that lets clients self-schedule.

    After you send over your (hopefully) customized scheduling page URL, your people will be able to pick their perfect time, provide any payment details, and complete any intake questionnaires without any input from you. It’s like magic, if magic was hand-coded by a team of veritable geniuses.

  • Flexibility in how you sell & get paid.
    Automated scheduling software isn’t just for booking freebie discovery calls anymore. Now, they can be utilized to build out entire libraries of course offerings.

    As you’re evaluating which scheduling platform is the right one for your business, look for software that gives you the ability to create discount codes, set up a virtual tip jar, offer pay-what-you-want courses, and sell bundled packages. This grants you the ability to sell what you want, how you want to, at any price point your brain feels good about.

    Also make note of which payment processors each platform integrates with. Payment processors are basically the money middlemen between you and your clients. They make sure you get paid on time and everyone’s details are kept secure. The more payment processor integrations a scheduling platform is equipped with, the more freedom you’ll have with your finances.

  • Custom onboarding sequences & follow-up sequences.
    Client onboarding and offboarding emails are essential to the overall quality of your clients’ experiences. They’re really the difference between being chucked off a diving board into freezing cold water—or gently eased into the warm hot springs with arm floaties. In other words, they make the transition simple, useful, and enjoyable.

    Your best bet is searching out a scheduling platform that lets you customize the text, layout, font, and colors in your emails. Obviously, this calls back to that brand consistency piece. But more than that, these emails help you build real, lasting relationships.

    When you take 20 minutes to hop into your scheduling platform’s dashboard and edit your onboarding emails, you’re directly injecting your personality into a foundational piece of your business.

    Get ready for your people to fall even more head over feet for you.

  • The overall, big-picture costs.
    Money matters! As business owners, we’re always on the hunt for ways that will increase our profits while benefiting our clientele. (Also, doesn't the word clientele sound so fancy? Is this something we can all agree to adopt? Great.)

    Choosing the right scheduling software for your business can absolutely boil down to dollars and cents. Only you know what you’re comfortable paying, but it can be helpful to consider the big-picture savings from signing up for automated scheduling.

    Let’s look at an example. Say that your automated scheduling software saves you an hour of time every week. That’s 52 hours a year that you could be using to develop your next service offering.

    If the Pro version of your scheduling plan is $110 a year, you’d only need to make an extra $2 a week to cover the costs. An extra $2 a week sure is easier when you’re not burned out, overwhelmed, and wondering how much the coffee shop might pay you as a barista.

    Is scheduling software sometimes an investment? Yes. But the right scheduling software truly can be the difference between loathing your work, and wanting more.

4 | Where do you start looking?

Right the heck here. 

At Acuity, we’ve dedicated the last 14+ years of our lives to making yours more manageable with the best appointment scheduling software. A lot of love, laughter, and strategy has gone into developing a portal for you that’s easy to figure out yourself and simple to scale with your team. We’re not super into being salesly, so we’ll just say this:

We’ve got you. 

We’ve also got every single scheduling platform feature we mentioned above. 

Did we pique your curiosity? Take two minutes to sign up. You’ll have access to a free trial, so you can play around in your portal before making a final decision.

You in?

acuity 101, acuity integrations, small business automation, small business strategy, small business