So I’ve got this fancy online scheduling system now, right? One of the web-based services that allow people to book their own appointments online.
I’ve had it for about two years now and it really helps with a lot of things. It saves me tons of time stolen by trying to book appointments over the phone when I’m with a client. Because I have to stop what I’m doing to turn and look at the schedule and read off a list of available times for the person on the phone who is busy going, “Hmmm....uhhh....no. That doesn’t work. No. I can’t do that. No, it has to be after 5:00. Do you have anything open on a weekend? How about early morning?”
Booking appointments over the phone takes up a lot of time. The online thing is great because people can go book online as soon as they know their schedule, and the service shows them all my available openings for up to three months (I set it that way). So instead of me giving them the choice of two or three openings, they can see them all.
It’s been an awesome business tool.
The other really cool thing about the system is that it sends out e-mail and text message reminders and confirmations.
I researched long and hard, high and low, to find this service. I went through a dozen 30-day free trials of other software and services.
I really, really, wanted a service that sent text message reminders. Which turns out to be a feature that fewer and fewer of these services are offering. Especially for free.
Full Slate (www.fullslate.com) was the service that came closest to what I was looking for, and it’s what I’m using.
But it only sends one text to the client. I can set how far in advance that text goes out, but the only SMS message the system will send is an appointment reminder. Everything else is by e-mail.
I wish I could find a service that would send all the confirmations of new appointments, canceled appointments, and reschedules by text. People just don’t check their e-mails like they do text messages. So many of my appointment confirmations are left sitting in lonely inboxes.
At least it’s better than nothing. The texts have helped reduce the no shows and the “I forgots.” I just want more control over my method of contact.