When it comes to setting and managing customer appointments, having a reliable (and not overly-complicated) appointment scheduling system in place can relieve a lot of problems and missed opportunities for your organization. This is especially true when you create an intuitive, self-service online booking system for business for managing all appointments.
It’s important to note that while there are some general best practices for effective online booking systems, you’ll benefit most from developing a system that aligns with your complex business rules and your customer needs and expectations. But how do you identify or develop the best online booking system for your business? Is it better to create your own or partner with a proven platform? Keep reading to learn more as it’s more complicated than it appears.
The advantages of online booking systems primarily center around efficiency and convenience, for businesses and their customers. Specific advantages include:
- Creating a better customer experience, with more highly-satisfied customers. People don’t want to jump through hoops to schedule a simple appointment. The best online booking platforms prioritize things like an intuitive interface and simple, streamlined process.
- More flexible, convenient options for customers. Let’s say you currently schedule appointments via telephone, and you operate under standard weekly business hours. What does that mean for your customers who might work during those hours, without the ability to place such a call during the day? If you still want that customer’s business—and for them to see you as a customer-friendly operation—you should provide more flexibility through online, 24/7 bookings.
- The ability to connect customers with the best resources or most knowledgeable staff members. With smarter routing, customer service improves. This also helps employees to be more productive, since they’re focused on the right customers at the right time (rather than managing or juggling appointments).
- Insights and analytics into next steps. With a comprehensive online booking system like Engageware’s, you can unlock a wealth of information including data on walk-in vs. pre-scheduled appointments, specific locations, products, employees, or time frames to learn what is working well and identify possible improvements. Engageware Analytics specifically provides preconfigured dashboards to provide real-time insights and big-picture analysis so you can ensure the customer scheduling experience remains as intuitive and helpful as possible.
Creating your own online booking system from scratch can be difficult. In addition to the practical matter of app development cost, other essential considerations include:
- Selecting the best SaaS computing platform to host appointments.
- Reading available time slots and writing appointments across many different email clients (e.g., Outlook, Gmail) in order to avoid double bookings.
- Adding and hosting all confirmation, reschedule, and reminder email notifications along with SMS capabilities.
- Integrating the capability for scheduling 1:1 and 1-to-many appointments.
- Offering the ability for different appointment types and locations, and linking the best resource to meet each specific requirement.
Engageware’s appointment scheduling system addresses each of these challenges, which you can learn more about in this resource.
Creating your own online booking system can be difficult, but if you have the expertise and proper team(s) in place, nothing is stopping you from building your own system. If you’re fairly confident you know how to create a booking website or app on your own, it can potentially save some money. However, that’s far from a guarantee (see the point about the “real cost” above).
You also have to seriously consider the things that could go wrong, which can have consequences ranging from one slightly irritated customer to larger cybersecurity threats that can erode customer trust and lose you a lot of business. For these reasons, many businesses ultimately decide to partner with a provider like Engageware for a more dependable and seamless experience.
What Is the Best Online Booking System for Enterprise-Level Businesses?
Engageware’s appointment scheduling and analytics platform provides an intuitive and comprehensive option, even for enterprise-level businesses. It was designed to address the main challenges of building your own booking system from scratch, resulting in a platform that provides everything you’ll need for a smooth implementation, including:
- Easy integrations
- Robust data security
- A low total cost of ownership
- Enterprise-grade features
- Calendar integration to avoid double bookings
- Smart routing based on location and resource availability
- An easy-to-install, easy-to-maintain experience