So I finally decided it was time to seriously consider my options for a service that would allow clients to schedule their own appointments via my website.
Deciding on the right service was a long and annoying process. Schedulicity's calendar is awesome, but they don't have an option to require any sort of payment or deposit in order to secure the appointment. And they don't seem to give a crap about the input that the option is a deal breaker.
I totally get why they don't want to be responsible for keeping credit card information, but Bookfresh has that figured out, they simply link to PayPal. Voila! Bookfresh has the option of requiring some sort of payment to secure an appointment and Bookfresh isn't responsible for being PCI compliant.
Bookfresh also synched with Google calendar very reliably — which was convenient for me since I like Google Calendar and, having an Android phone now, it's easy to access Google Calendar from the phone without having to open the browser.
BUT Bookfresh's calendar was atrocious to look at; all monotone and no weekly view option.
Genbook and I are now reluctant partners in the impending future of making my schedule available to any Sue, Kim, and Peggy who might wander by my website while I wait for one of the salon booking software companies to make me an Android ap.
But the point is that my schedule is now available on my website and clients are now able to book their own appointments. Which is proving to have its pros and cons.
On one hand, it means I have had to relinquish some control. My clients can now look up my schedule and know when I'm busy and when I'm not — which actually turns out to be helpful because we don't spend 20 minutes on the phone doing that “well what about ...?” thing. But what makes me a nervous wreck is that new clients I've never met before can book their own appointment without ever speaking to me.
It turns out that the simple act of having a brief, voice-to-voice, conversation with someone reveals a wealth of information about that person that can set the tone for your in-person meeting and prepare you for how it will go. Now I see new names in my schedule and have no idea what to expect.
This causes a slight tendency toward hyperventilation every time I get an e-mail notice of a new appointment.
I almost shut the whole operation down a few days ago. But I talked myself off of that ledge. This online booking option is a good thing for me. It fills spaces that are open without the risk of me getting in my own way, which I have a tendency to do. This way I can't keep space open just because I want an extra hour to play on the Internet or because I don't feel like meeting someone new on that particular day.
I just have to remember to block out breaks in advance now.