An increasing number of businesses are realizing the advantages of online appointment scheduling and booking systems. You don’t have to be a large business to benefit from online appointment scheduling tools — any SMB or freelancer that requires customers to book appointments can earn meaningful business wins by utilizing appointment scheduling systems.
The appointment scheduling and membership management system can become monumentally crucial to your business success if done right:
- Customers can quickly check service availability and complete a self-service booking.
- Staff will have clear visibility of appointments and classes to manage peak periods or actively manage their schedule.
This article outlines the key things to consider when choosing the best system to help your business grow while maximizing customer satisfaction.
Manual System vs. Online Booking & Membership Management
A booking system can impact many areas of your business, from admin and marketing to finance to customer relations. Therefore, you must consider how you need it to support your key functions. Here are things to take into consideration.
How does a Manual Booking System work?
A manual system works when reservations can be made face-to-face, over the phone, or by email, logging them in a notebook at reception or blocking out time in email calendars.
- Small businesses with limited staff who are all on the premises.
- A loyal customer base that prefers the existing booking arrangements.
- Variable booking times depend on each customer’s requirements. For instance, it is helpful to have an in-person dialogue to work out what is needed or to build a personal relationship.
However, the manual system puts pressure on people and requirement on management to run continuous training. Documentations take more effort and physical space to keep track of paper documents. When mistakes are made and corrections are needed, a manual transaction must be completely redone rather than just updated. Furthermore, with a manual system, customer queries can be difficult to respond to as the documentation is stored in different places and may require authorization from various individuals to access the file. As the organization grows and additional people and functions are needed, there will always be an obvious balance of cost vs. benefits of system increase. A manual system can be useful for smaller businesses; however, once your business has grown, it can be detrimental to your growth.
What is Online Booking and Membership Management?
Online appointment scheduling and membership management software is designed to run appointment booking, memberships, and reservations. This software is widely used by service businesses that accept bookings and appointments online and prefer to manage their phone and in-person bookings conveniently.
As per recent research, it is expected that the global online booking software industry will increase by over 10% year on year, with annual growth from $5M in 2021 to $10M+ by 2027, with forecasted total market value reaching $360M. With such immense growth, an online booking system will easily recoup its costs by allowing customers to book their appointments online vs. manual booking.
Online booking systems, such as Always on Time (AOT.plus), an online appointment scheduling and membership management software, help businesses become more “customer-centric” by letting customers do self-service and advance booking of their appointments. AOT allows customers to book services and track their packages and subscriptions. It also gives business owners a smooth scheduling and membership management experience – all in one platform.
Advantages of Online Bookings vs. a Manual System
The critical element of your booking system is your end, your customer’s journey, and how you can support them. In an online booking system, you don’t need a website to implement your online booking – some systems will even let you link them from a social media page.
- 24/7 Bookings: An appointment booking system in place will allow your customers to book any appointments and classes at any time of the day or night without worrying if it’s business hours or not. Give your customers the convenience of an online booking system that is always available for your business and can stand the best chance at significantly increasing the number of your bookings and chances of customer retention.
- Saves Time and Operational Efficiency: Manual booking requires a staff member to be constantly available to handle bookings. The amount of time and number of man-hours that can be released by switching to an online booking platform can be significant. And because AOT is fully automated, customers can choose their service options, pick a date and time, pay, and even receive a booking confirmation notification. This means a drastic reduction in no-shows, and you don’t lose any potential income. More importantly, you can avoid human errors and confusion with bookings and automate everything.
- Global Exposure: With everything going online, businesses have shifted priorities. Online appointment scheduling software allows you to integrate with video conferencing apps that you can use for your virtual service set-ups. This service feature means your clients from around your location or even worldwide can book your services.
- Smarter Insights: An online booking software keeps track of all reservations with an analytics dashboard that helps you quickly determine your business needs. With at-a-glance smart reporting data, it is simpler to understand. As a result, you will be able to focus on creating service offers for your customers based on their booking habits and have accurate insights into your cash flow.
- Puts you Ahead of Your Competition: There are businesses out there that have a website and are even listed on Google, but only a few have an online appointment scheduling system. An online booking system makes your business one step ahead of the game. Tipping scales in your favor when customers research and compare capabilities against your competitor.
Try an online appointment booking system for free to see if it is the right solution for you
When evaluating a booking system for your business, consider the initial investment, time, and money. With an online booking system in place, such as Always on Time (AOT.plus), this will give you all the support you need to get started. AOT is a one-stop business solution for all bookings and membership needs, and there is even a 21-day free trial period to help you get started and determine if it is the right solution for your business.
AOT is an advanced, fully customizable appointment scheduling and membership management software that will save your business time and money and provide high-quality service delivery. AOT even provides a booking plugin if your business already has a website.
Now that you have the advantages of an online booking system vs. a manual booking, are you ready to take a leap?
Book a demo to schedule a live chat or video conference with one of our AOT representatives, or visit AOT and try all our features for FREE in 21 days and experience what a reliable online appointment scheduling and membership management software can do for your business and customer relations success.