There are so many things we need to schedule in our life as a business owner, and this differs depending on the type of business you have. For us, it is scheduling appointments. For many of the clients, I talk to especially that are in the service industry, scheduling of appointments is a time-consuming task. For this reason, I thought I would share some thoughts about tools we have used and how they have helped us.
Why I Looked For a Scheduling Tool
For our business, I am the one that does the majority of upfront consultations with the client, and I found that booking appointments whether an initial conversation, our free consultation, or an actual meeting became an onerous and time-consuming task. Since it is tough to talk to someone live with their calendar open, I would send the first email and suggest three dates and times. I would then get back an email saying Tues was great but 10:00 versus 9:00 would be better. I then would let them know I was not available at 9:00 but was at 9:30. This exercise could end up taking almost an hour of the day with one or two people just trying to schedule an appointment.
I am a technology user as well as my partner, but I have not been able to get him to relinquish control of his calendar to a piece of software yet. I decided I wasn't going to wait to convince him. I would at least look for something for myself and talked to other peers who were using software for scheduling to get their take and - so off I went on my search.
Scheduling Tool Requirements
I am that person when looking for a tool, I sign up for 3-4 trials and try each one before I make a decision on a product. For me, this decision was fairly easy as the criteria I looked for was the following:
After a few week process of trying different products, I ended up using vCita. Many of its competitors had similar functionality, but when I gave each a score based on my rating chart, this product won hands down. Here are the reasons why and how it has helped our business.
Return on Investment
There are a lot of tools on the market that fall into the scheduling category. Before choosing a product, you want to define the requirements you are looking for along with what issue in your business you are looking for the product to solve. Primarily for us, I was looking to just improve my productivity but found other benefits which made purchasing the subscription service for our business a no-brainer. The features far exceeded just reducing scheduling time and has made me more efficient in this area as well.
If you are looking for a scheduling tool, my advice based on this recent experience is to make a list of the most important features and benefits that you are looking for this tool to provide and though it takes a little time - try at least 2 and find out what works best for you and your business. I am an advocate for any product that has a subscription license / monthly option for businesses as this is always a benefit for your cash flow and you always get the most up to date solution.
RK Fischer & Associates