Online Booking for Your Clients: How to Integrate Online Scheduling into Your Business

When you think of online booking features, you may believe that these services are best reserved for large businesses. However, small businesses stand to gain a great deal from online appointment scheduling features as well. Online booking frees up your receptionist’s time, allowing her to concentrate on other things. Once your online booking feature becomes established, you may even be able to cut back on office staffing. The success of online booking is dependent on many factors including advertising, placement and ease of use. Fortunately, all of these factors are yours to control. So, the success of your online booking service is totally up to you.

When you first introduce your online booking feature, your clients will be slow to use it. After you educate your clients, however, they will become more used to the feature and start making appointments online. After they see how easy it is to book appointments online, they will brag about the feature and recommend it to their friends and family.

The following tips will help you introduce your online booking feature and draw more clients to the service:

  1. It is extremely frustrating to go online to do something that should be quick and easy only to find that it takes forever because you can’t find the information you need. If you want your clients to be able to book appointments online, you need to prominently display the option on your website. You might want to include several links from your landing page to your booking page. You should also include a link to the feature from every page of your website.
  2. If you want people to use your new feature, you have to tell them about it. Talk to clients when they are in your office and instruct your receptionist to tell everyone who calls to make an appointment about the new feature. Be sure to talk about how easy and convenient the new feature is.
  3. Print new business cards that advertise the new service. Include the website address and easy “how to” instructions.
  4. Advertise the new booking feature in the office by hanging signs and flyers in the waiting room.
  5. Include a message on bills, invoices and receipts that encourages clients to check out the new feature and use it to book their next appointment.
  6. If your office has an answering service or automated voice message system, change the message to include instructions about online booking. Clients calling after hours can then be directed to your website where they can make an appointment.
  7. Send out a newsletter about the service to everyone on your mailing list.
  8. Compile a mailing list from all of your customer files and send out post cards. Not only will this help you inform current clients about your new feature, it allows you to make contact with old clients and get them back in your office.
  9. Write about your new service on your blog and website.
  10. Submit a press release to your local newspaper. You might even want to think about purchasing some advertising while you’re at it.

Promotions are also a great way to get the word out. Offer discounts to those that use the online booking feature instead of calling in to make an appointment. People will do anything to save a few dollars. The goal is to lure people in with savings and hook them with the ease of use and convenience of online booking.

If you promote this exciting new service, your clients will use it. Once they become familiar with the system, online booking will become an integral part of your services.

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