Ready to stop playing phone tag with clients? Frustrated about missed appointments and overcrowded calendars? Tired of playing 20 questions to find a time that works for everyone — across various timezones?
A good scheduling tool can help you de-stress, stay organized, and boost your bottom line.
Tackling the “No-Show” Problem
Have a problem with no-shows? These are prospects, clients, or patients that you block time out for but who don’t show up, don’t call and don’t re-schedule. What to do?
Appointment scheduling software can mitigate this problem by automating the reminder task.
Depending on the software you select, automatic reminders can be sent by email and/or by cellphone text message (called SMS).
Messages sent via SMS have the highest open rate of all electronic communications. So while you may want to consider allowing the prospect to choose their preferred method of receiving reminders, if you have a serious no-show problem opt for software that has SMS capability.
Some software, like Calendly, allows either individual in a two-person meeting to re-schedule it. Empowering the client to reschedule can also decrease your no-shows.
Pre-Paid Appointments and Cancellation Fees
Scheduling software can also provide the means for clients to prepay for appointments or for you to charge a cancellation fee for no-shows.
An Example: Square Appointments
For example, Square lets you set a cut-off time for cancellation or rescheduling. You get to set up your own cancellation policy which includes the fee you’ll charge — which can be a flat fee or a percentage of the service they didn’t show up for.
Square also provides email or SMS reminders and rescheduling.
Which Scheduling Software Is Best For My Business?
Here are some quick suggestions for those who’d like to narrow their options down. We’ve based these recommendations on use cases.
I need to:
- Book one-on-one meetings: try Calendly
- Book one-on-ones and group meetings: try Doodle or X.AI
- Take payments at time of booking, charge cancellation fees, send email and SMS reminders: Square or Bookafy
- Do all the above and reduce no-shows: 10to8 or Square
- Do all the above and keep my whole business organized and everyone on task: Honeybook
- Increase sales/online demo appointments: Chili Piper
16 of the Most Popular Appointment Scheduling Tools
With so many appointment scheduling tools on the market, finding the right one for your business, and your needs can be complicated.
Here is a quick rundown of the most popular appointment scheduling tools on the marketing, including the most popular features of each tool.
Includes a website where customers can book appointments, integrated payments, and automatic text and email reminders.
It allows you to require pre-payment or charge a cancellation fee which can reduce no-shows. They offer a free tool for individuals and paid plans for teams.
This is a free scheduling tool that does not require a website!
Stand out features include appointment scheduling, text reminders, recurring appointment booking, invoice generation, and integration with a wide range of tools, including social media and online calendar systems.
Also allows you to accept payments and records customer reviews.
Setmore is a free payment and online appointment scheduling platform.
It offers text and email appointment reminders, drag-and-drop rescheduling, self-booking options, and the ability to book classes with multiple customers.
Owned by the Squarespace company, Acuity is HIPAA-compliant.
Features include full customization, appointment scheduling, the ability to sell gift cards and subscription packages, time zone adjustments, intake form management, and much more.
Acuity offers a trimmed-down free version.
Simple, easy to use tool designed to increase sales by letting customers book right away.
Features include calendar sync, integration with tools like Zapier and Salesforce, email reminders, the ability to gather prospect info, payment collection, and on-the-go access through their responsive site.
This is one of the simplest tools for scheduling meetings. While it doesn’t have many of the bells and whistles, it takes the complexity out of scheduling meetings with multiple parties.
Features include time block scheduling, no required sign-in, security features, and cross-platform integration with calendars, Slack, and Zapier.
This tool for meeting scheduling makes it easy to get everyone on the same page.
Features include reminder notifications, daily meeting limits, group meetings, and a customizable interface.
Either party in a 2-person meeting can reschedule online.
Best for meetings, this tool uses artificial intelligence to handle the work of appointment setting for you.
Other features include a customized welcome message, meeting reminders, the ability to schedule out of office time, and connect to Zoom for unique meeting URLs.
This tool allows customers to book meetings straight from your calendar and eliminates back-and-forth emails.
Features include automated reminders, Zapier integrations, customized look and feel, calendar integrations, reminders, and a personalized booking page.
This is a fully integrated solution that includes project management and invoicing tools.
You’ll get customizable templates, an app for on-the-go scheduling, to-do lists, contract management, online document signing, and automation features.
A bit pricier than other options (starts at $34/month), but very helpful.
Similar to HoneyBook, this tool includes CRM, project management, and invoicing features.
Scheduling features include online scheduling, calendar integration, easy rescheduling options, recurring events, the ability to add branding, and the option of a website widget, Facebook scheduling, or a landing page.
While other tools are just for scheduling appointments with team member or clients; Super SaaS does it all.
Features include automated reminders, automated waiting lists, the ability to accept payments, group scheduling, rentals or reservations, and integration with your favorite apps and software solutions, including MailChimp, PayPal, Facebook, and Google Calendar.
With Bookafy you can book services, accept payments, send out SMS reminders, host a video conference, and book multiple customers for a meeting.
Gigabook allows you to schedule for services and group events but also offers a range of other features like project management, automated reminders, and to-do lists.
Also included: payment and invoicing and business tools like reporting, dynamic pricing, add on products and customizable forms.
This is a full-featured web-based scheduling tool designed to simplify your work life.
Features include unlimited appointments, custom booking sites, repeat appointments, support for multi-day courses or seminars, email and text notifications, automated waitlists, and the ability to manage multiple staff calendars.
This is Salesforce –and sales – oriented scheduler that you manage from your inbox.
Features include single-email meeting scheduling, ability to choose dates and times follow up reminders, attachment tracking, and Salesforce updating.
Free online appointment scheduler that supports online bookings, access on any device, and integration with WordPress, PayPal, and Facebook. Supports multi-location and multiple staff members seamlessly.
Pay as you grow plans let you pay based on the number of appointments you schedule.
Appointment Tools for Specific Industries
Here are three popular tools for salons and spas, home services, and the fitness/wellness industries.
Made specifically for salons and spas, this tool offers online booking, has a built-in POS, makes it easy to track metrics, sends automated reminders, and much more.
Designed specifically for home services companies like HVAC, plumbing, cleaners, and pest control to schedule appointments, track estimates, and more.
Integrates with your website and Yelp, Facebook, and Google My Business.
This tool is aimed at businesses in the wellness and fitness industries. It incorporates POS and is designed to make it easy for customers to schedule appointments right on your website, Facebook, or app.
MindBody online also supports class scheduling, allows customers to book from their mobile device, and automatically refills class spots from your waiting list.
Unique Scheduling Tools
These two scheduling tools offer sales teams a boost.
This leads-focused tool enables visitors to fill out a form on your site and then immediately book an appointment or talk live to a sales rep.
This contrasts with the “traditional” approach of having a visitor fill out a form and then sending them an automated email that invites them to book a call or set an appointment. That traditional approach injects a time lag and more steps for both employees and prospects.
Chili Piper pricing starts at $25 a month, but additional fees apply for some add-on tools.
This Gmail extension makes scheduling easy by enabling appointment scheduling right in the body of an email.
Other features include embedded polls, email tracking, curated sequences, the ability to build workflows, and integration with a ton of other apps and software systems you already use.
This tool is designed to make life easier for all types of teams, including sales and recruiting.
Getting more done in less time is all about working more efficiently. The right scheduling tool can eliminate the frustration of trying to schedule a meeting with multiple people in multiple timezones, reduce no-shows, and help you stay on top what your customers want.
Whether you are looking to just meet with team members, or want to follow a customer through the sales funnel so you can provide better support, there is a scheduling tool that is right for you.
Choose a tool above and give them a try; most tools offer a free trial period so you can try it before you go all in.