Why online booking systems are crucial
Taking bookings for your business over the phone or by entering in email correspondence can be inefficient and time-consuming. It can also lead to you jotting down important information on easy-to-mislay post-it notes. That is why many small businesses use online booking systems or scheduling apps. There is a huge selection of programs to choose from on the market and many are free to use, which is perfect if you are a start-up or working on a tight budget.
Whatever your industry and whatever you need from an online booking system, there is an option for you. They all accept appointment bookings, many allow customers to make changes and some even accept payment for the services you provide. If you want to try out a new scheduling app to see how it can revolutionise your business and free up your time, take a look at the best free online booking systems featured here.
You should note that most of these scheduling apps offer paid versions that bring with them additional staff log-ins, more advanced features or other functionality. However, for many small businesses, the free versions should provide all you need to get going. The online booking system for you depends entirely on your needs as a business, so read on to find out which offer the features you require.
Setmore provides a large number of log-ins for a free booking system. Up to 20 colleagues can access the back end of this scheduling app, which is very impressive. As well as taking individual bookings, you can schedule classes or events with limited spaces, which close for appointments once they reach capacity.
It integrates seamlessly with Facebook and Instagram, and you can also check on each customer’s booking history as well as encouraging them to review your services and leave testimonials.
All of these free features set Setmore aside from many free online booking systems, with the lack of online payment processing being the only major missing feature from the free version.
Shedul is disrupting the online booking system market by offering all of its services for free, for everyone. The company has stated that it will provide paid additional features in the future, although all of the functionality of the current system will remain complimentary. Shedul does market itself specifically as offering software specifically for salons and spas, but many of the scheduling features can also be adopted by small businesses in other sectors.
You can create unlimited users and accept unlimited appointments per month. The system will also issue customers with email and text reminders to help reduce no-shows. You can also integrate it into your website with booking widgets that look great and make the booking process really straightforward.
Shedul offers a point of sale option to help your customers buy products and it tracks your sales to help you keep on top of inventory, invoices, taxes and so on.
Although Square Appointments only allows one user log-in, it is a powerful online booking system for small businesses and start-ups. There is integrated credit card processing, allowing you to sell your services directly through the scheduling app as customers book their preferred time.
In addition, you can block out your unavailable time, send email and text reminders ahead of appointments, add a widget to your website for ease of booking and track your customers’ history with your business. The online booking system syncs with Google Calendar to keep you in the loop about your appointments and you can also solicit reviews and testimonials for free as well.
If you need the full package from your scheduling app, but don’t want to pay for it, Square Appointments is one of the best free online booking systems out there.
With 10to8, you can register two users and accept up to 100 bookings per month. This is fine for smaller businesses that don’t need to book full days with hour-long meetings but may not be suitable for other companies.
Aside from this limitation, there are many features here that make this a strong contender when it comes to free scheduling apps. You can accept Paypal payments for appointments and services through the system, as well as setting up automatic email and text appointment reminders. 10to8 syncs with Microsoft Outlook 365, Microsoft Exchange, Google Calendar and Apple iCal for your convenience, and you can embed a widget or dedicated buttons into your website to make booking easy.
This scheduling app allows you to send an email survey to garner useful information ahead of your meeting or to request feedback once they have used your services. There is also a live chat facility that connects you to the customer if they have any questions about the booking process.
Online booking systems, there’s so many, which one should I use?
The best free online booking system is different for different businesses. 10to8 is packed with features and would be perfect for a business that books a few appointments a day, such as a gardening or plumbing firm. However, sports centres with a huge amount of appointments to fill would be better suited to something like Square Appointments, which provides unlimited appointments. 10to8 is better for those who want to easily see their updated calendar in their email program, as it syncs with more email brands than any of the others.
As your business grows, you can begin to pay extra for additional services, but for the meantime, there are some powerful and effective free options to help your business blossom this summer and beyond.
Talk to Supportal today if you want any help implementing online bookings into your website or social media accounts.