Online booking is a convenient service for both you as the provider as well as for consumers. With online booking customers are able to quickly make service appointments with your company, saving time and hassle. No matter if you run an auto repair shop or a home cleaning service, you can’t go wrong with offering customers the ability to schedule appointments online.
But with so many options to choose from, how do you know which online booking service is best? Here’s what you need to know about online booking and how to choose the best option.
Finding the best booking software means finding a product that offers all of the features you and your customers are looking for. While a booking system may seem like a simple product, there are all sorts of features to consider before making your selection. Factors to consider include:
- Website integration
- Online & offline reservations
- Payment processing
- Inventory management
- Reminders and follow-ups
Most importantly, you'll want to find a product that offers reports and analytics. The best booking plugins or applications should be able to show you the numbers that can be used to drive inventory, budget, and other business processes.
It's important to be able to look back on past months to see when customers are most frequently booking, what times are most common, and so on. In turn you can better tailor your company to meet customer needs.
There’s no benefit to having a booking system with all the bells and whistles if it isn’t easy and intuitive to use. The fact is that the booking process should be as quick and easy as possible; otherwise you risk customers not booking at all because of frustration with the booking system.
The biggest factor to look out for here is ease of use. You’ll have users from all walks of life using your system, so it needs to be usable by a high-tech 20 year old as well as a 60-year-old who may not be highly technical.
Before deciding on a certain product, be sure that you’ve taken the time to try it out yourself. With a hands-on experience, you can see and feel how simplistic the product really is (or isn’t). You’ll also want to test the product on your website to ensure that it blends seamlessly into the existing architecture.
Support is key when choosing the right online booking system. Once you release this service to be used by all of your website visitors, you want to have peace of mind knowing that the application is supported around the clock. If something were to go wrong at 1AM, you want the assurance that the product you've selected has the technical support it needs to get things back up and running.
Take the time to find a booking system that comes with setup assistance, troubleshooting, and around-the-clock support. It's also important to look for a brand that offers various methods of support along with documentation and educational resources to help you troubleshoot on your own.
With the right customer support team supporting the booking service, you won’t have to worry about a lack of system availability causing customers to become frustrated.
No matter the size of your business, the cost of the service you choose is going to be a driving consideration. At the end of the day you not only need a product that meets your needs, you also need a product that fits your budget. When it comes to booking systems, you'll find that several pricing plans are available.
Some systems are priced based on monthly plans. This typically includes a flat rate that's based on your booking volume. With a monthly plan, the costs are predictable and the product can grow as your booking volume increases.
The other common option you'll find commission-based pricing which means that when a customer makes a booking, a percentage of the purchase goes to the software provider. Rates can be between 1% to 25%.
Choosing an online booking service isn’t a decision to take lightly. You want to find a product that is affordable, offers a lot of features, and is easy to use. While the decision may not be the easiest, with the right booking system on your website, customers will thank you for a more convenient and hassle-free process.
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