How to create an online booking system with Calendly
READ TIME: 11 MINUTES
Ty Collins, January 30, 2021
As your business scales and your customer needs shift, managing team schedules requires highly-responsive tools that integrate seamlessly with your existing workflow. For successful growth, you need an all-in-one online scheduling system.
Learn more about choosing an online scheduling tool and how Calendly can help your business save time, accelerate growth, and enhance service quality. Forget old-school email scheduling and phone tags and gain an all-in-one scheduling software that is simple, intuitive, and powerful.
What is an online booking system?
An online booking system allows customers to select appointments and services directly from your website with just one step. You and your team control time slots and the user interface.
With Calendly, you can set buffer time between appointments and daily appointment limits, as well as configure a minimum scheduling notice to avoid last minute meetings. You can offer customers or clients a range of meeting types, including one-on-one, round robin, collective, and group meetings. And to avoid no-shows, Calendly allows you to automate email and SMS notifications once appointments are scheduled.
You can even collect payments directly through Calendly using credit card payments or PayPal. With additional customizations and integrations, Calendly offers a continuous user experience for your customers while simultaneously providing a highly efficient workflow for your team.Sign up FREE for Calendly
Which online booking system is right for your business?
Because every business is unique and online schedulers cater to different requirements, it’s key to find a scheduling software that fits your existing demands and scales. Look for a plan that allows maximum customization so that your scheduling tool evolves to meet your business needs, not the other way around.
Here’s how you can do your research and create an online booking system that is the perfect match for your enterprise.
1. Make a list of desired features
Do you need flexibility with appointment types so you can include multiple team members or rounds of interviews? What about Salesforce integration? Do you have a global team that requires intelligent time zone detection for accurate scheduling?
Understanding your business’ unique needs will help you find an online scheduling tool that delivers maximum value for your enterprise and accelerates growth. Remember that business needs change as you scale, so you’ll want to create an online booking system that can be customized and grow with you.
Some potential features you may want on your online scheduling wish list include:
A customizable online scheduling page that you can tailor to your brand.
Detailed metrics and reporting that provide insight on invitee engagement and campaign scheduling activity.
Flexible appointment types that allow for both one-on-one and group meetings, as well as other scheduling formats that fit your team’s meeting style.
Automated SMS and email reminders.
Integration with your existing services, including CRM and calendar tools.
Website embed features so customers can select appointments directly from your website.
Direct payment so customers can schedule and pay all in one step.
Advanced scheduling control that includes buffer times, daily limits, and minimum scheduling notices.
Time zone detection for ease with scheduling across the globe.
2. Comparison shop for the right fit
Once you have your list of desired features, do some research to find the online scheduler that will best meet the needs of your enterprise. Zapier, FinancesOnline, and HubSpot all offer comprehensive comparison guides.
You can also read customer reviews of the software to see if others in your sector use and love the tool already.
3. Give it a try
Most online scheduling tool providers offer a free trial or freemium pricing model so you can test their tool before making a financial commitment. Look for longer trial periods that allow you maximum time to experiment with the tool and its features. Calendly not only has a free basic plan, you can also try all features free for 14 days.
If you’re on the fence about committing to a booking system, or are hesitating between two tools, taking different schedulers for a test drive can help you narrow down your options and find one that is truly a good fit for your enterprise.
Especially when comparison-shopping multiple scheduling tools, you may want to use the trial versions internally only before deciding which software you will build your client-facing interface around.
Let online booking set you up for success
Once you’ve decided to create an online booking system that is just right for you and your business, it’s time to set it up and tailor its features to your goals.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to capturing the benefits of online scheduling to drive revenue and improve efficiency with scheduling.
1. Decide who will schedule time with you and where
Will you schedule appointments primarily for client meetings, customer appointments, hiring interviews, or in-house meetings? Knowing who is looking to meet with you can help you identify how best to reach them.
For customer appointments, scheduling directly from your website provides a seamless experience to help drive conversions and growth. For interviews or meetings between members of your staff, an internal scheduling page might be a better fit.
2. Add your business details
Whether you post your online scheduling capabilities to your website or elsewhere, make sure to enter all of the details about your business so potential customers or clients can see them. The more information that customers can see about your business, the more likely they are to develop trust in your brand and move forward with selecting an appointment.
You also want to make sure that all of the details you enter into your online scheduler are correct, since typos, outdated information, and inaccuracies can create confusion and distrust in potential customers. If customers or clients need to travel to a physical location to access your business, proof-read the address and add a map integration if possible.
3. Embed scheduling into your website
No matter what kind of business you manage, driving traffic from your website to scheduling appointments and services is an effective way to retain existing clients and convert new customers. When customers look you up online and are able to schedule directly from your website with just a few clicks, they are far more likely to use your products and services.
With Calendly’s embed feature, you can allow customers to schedule and even submit payment directly from your website. As you scale, this feature ensures that interested customers don’t get lost in emails to your team members. Each individual customer is able to select a time to access your services, regardless of volume.
4. Share your time
With an online scheduling tool, you are in control of your schedule and time. You can define your available meeting hours and block out scheduled breaks or times when you have other commitments.
If your tool offers calendar integrations, you can integrate your time slots directly and avoid potential scheduling conflicts. You can also set buffer times between meetings, limit daily meetings, and prevent customers, clients, and team members from selecting an appointment time without a minimum scheduling notice so you’re never caught off guard by a last-minute meeting.
In addition to setting your time slots, you can also define your services and meeting types. Calendly offers several different meeting options, including scheduling for large teams. You can add all of the various services you offer along with descriptions, duration, and price where applicable. For maximum convenience, allow customers to provide payment online when they choose an appointment time!
If you have multiple team members, assign them all the correct permission roles and services to ensure their time slots are also correct and up-to-date.
5. Specify time zones
If your business is global, use Calendly’s intelligent time zone detection to ensure that all stakeholders can attend a meeting and avoid any confusion with scheduling. Displaying time slots in your customers’ existing time zone shows consideration that will be appreciated. You will also avoid missing meetings that were accidentally scheduled for the wrong time zone.
Calendly scheduling with intelligent time zone detection allows for ease of collaboration across your enterprise, even among teams that are split across several different global areas. With integrated video calling, you can schedule meetings around the world in just one step.
6. Automate reminders
No-show appointments waste time and resources. Reduce no-shows by up to 87 percent with automated SMS and email reminders. Even if your reminder email gets lost, SMS messages have a higher open rate, so customers are less likely to forget your appointments.
When used for internal meetings, automated reminders also help ensure that all team members are sufficiently prepared to discuss agenda items and can reschedule well in advance if necessary.
7. Don’t forget your brand
Your brand is your company’s calling card, so don’t forget to coordinate your online scheduling with your brand presence elsewhere. Calendly allows you the option to replace its own branding with your company logo to ensure that all online scheduling for your business is in alignment with your brand.
If possible, bring your marketing team into your scheduling page design and opt for a hi-res cover picture and other imagery to showcase your brand at its best.
8. Integrate for a seamless experience
With an online scheduling tool, calendar integrations are the best way to ensure efficient schedule integration and accurate availability. But calendar apps aren’t the only ones that integrate to improve your overall scheduling workflow.
Calendly offers direct integrations with a wide range of business apps, including CRM and sales tools, marketing tools, video conferencing, payment processing, analytics, and more.
With a fully integrated experience, you not only ensure a seamless and efficient workflow for your team, you also provide a 360-degree customer experience that avoids redundancy and missed opportunities.
9. Take it for a test drive
Before embedding your new online booking system on your website and inviting customers to use it, run an internal test (or two) to make sure that everything works as it should. Create a test appointment and even try a test payment if possible and applicable for your business.
You want to check that appointments are scheduled appropriately, reminders are sent at the correct times, and that you are providing the best possible user experience for your customers.
10. Time to share
Once you are satisfied that your new online scheduler is ready to begin taking appointments, it’s time for it to begin delivering value to your business! Share your online scheduling tool with your existing and potential customers to increase visibility and draw new business. You can feature it prominently on your website, in email campaigns, social media, and even on your business card.
If your scheduling option is for internal use, client meetings, or hiring interviews only, you can add the appointment scheduling link to your email signature or use the Calendly integration for your email client to share with relevant stakeholders.
Then, sit back and watch online scheduling transform your workflow and drive revenue growth. You and your team will no longer be trapped in back-and-forth email threads about availability and scheduling. Scheduling appointments, sharing meeting times, and sending reminders will be as easy as a few clicks.
How Calendly transforms your online booking system
Calendly is a powerful and simple scheduling tool, connecting professionals across the globe. We eliminate the back and forth of booking, giving users valuable time to be more productive in their daily lives.
We’re connecting more than a million people who are benefiting from improved flexibility, integrations, customizability and networking. Create an online booking system with Calendly, and enjoy tons of benefits, including:
A scheduling experience that works with Google, Office 365, Outlook Desktop, Outlook.com or iCloud calendars.
In the office or on the go, users have the flexibility of inviting individuals or hosting all types of group events.
Customized availability allows users to take back ownership of their schedules and stay on top of time management.
Integrating Calendly with current business tools like Zapier, Salesforce or GoTo simplifies our users’ work.
Connecting a team to the power of Calendly and getting everyone in a streamlined workflow amplifies productivity.
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