Why you should allow clients to self schedule

Before I worked on online scheduling software, I didn't think twice about businesses I went to that didn't have some sort of online booking system set up. Whether it was reservations at a restaurant I love or making appointments with my hairdresser, I wouldn't get peeved if businesses didn't have online scheduling.

Now, however, I have started to get annoyed.

When I’m looking to make an appointment with a business, the first place I go to is their website. I search for information on how to make an appointment which, for most businesses at this point in time, involves making a phone call.

Now here is why having to make a phone call (instead of using a web scheduler) annoys me:

  • If I’m at work, I have to find some place out of the way so I can place the phone call in private. I love my co-workers, but I don’t need them knowing why I want to make a doctor’s appointment. The only thing that’s “discreet” about making a phone call for an appointment is that at least anyone who’s eavesdropping can’t hear the person on the other line. Other than that, making phone calls to set appointments is far from discreet.

  • If it’s later in the day and the business’s office is closed, I have to leave a voicemail and hope that when they call back I am in a good place to answer it. Similarly, the business has to hope by the time they call back I’ve not lost interest or found another provider.

  • If I want to know what the service provider’s availability is like compared to mine, I have to go back and forth with the person on the phone to figure out when a mutually convenient time is.

  • If they take down my contact information, it is just for their records. They don’t send me any kind of confirmation email or reminder for my appointment which would help me out.

  • If I talk with someone over the phone, I’m afraid they’re going to try and up-sell me on a service that I don’t need. With scheduling online, it’s easier to just choose what kind of appointment will suit me best and not be pressured to get more than I want.

While we've been through the 9 reasons why your clients love to schedule online, hopefully the list above helps you understand the reasons why your clients hate having to call.

It’s not that they hate talking on the phone or even that they hate talking to you specifically on the phone. It’s that there is a huge discretion and convenience gap between making a phone call and booking online.

This may sound funny coming from a millennial who works for a tech company, but I’m not big on the modern-tech scene. I don’t use social media (except to post for our company), I just got an iPhone a year ago, I send maybe 1 text message every other day, I don’t have a (or even watch) television, and I scoff at people who “need” to use their GPS everywhere.

Despite lacking any inclination to using these sorts of modern conveniences, I believe online scheduling stands in a camp by itself because of how much time it saves and how discreet it can be.

It took no time for early adopters of Netflix to understand it’s convenience (& cost savings!) over Blockbuster. Netflix may not have the same movie selection or the same novelty as Blockbuster once had, but from a consumer standpoint, convenience wins out.

Service or class based business’s who implement online scheduling early on will do the same thing as Netflix did to Blockbuster. It isn’t that the old method of having to call for an appointment is “broken”. It’s that soon people will start heavily preferring businesses with online scheduling over businesses without it because it is just that much more convenient.

 

Have you gotten online scheduling setup for your business? What are your clients saying about the convenience of being able to schedule online? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!