Running a service business? Then you might understand the need for a robust appointment scheduling solution. Appointments, if mishandled, will end up making the customer furious and lead to under utilization of your resources. In both cases, there s a very good chance that your bottomline gets hurt.
Deploying an online appointment scheduling app will benefit both you and your customers. Coconut Calendar is one such web app that works to maximize your schedule with the least amount of downtime. After the break, let us go over the steps to create an effective appointment booking setup.
Coconut Calendar doesn’t stop at helping you create a functional online appointment scheduling setup. With the help of this web app you can handle your offline appointments equally simply as well. In a single click of a button, all your walk-ins and telephone bookings can be added to the cloud as well.
Ranging from $20 to $100, Coconut Calendar comes with a plan that fits everyone’s budget. All plans come with a full set of features and the limitations are imposed only on the number of locations and staff members. This isn’t a freemium app, but there is a free 30 day trial for all the plans. Did I mention that there is no need for you to submit your credit card information to create an account? That’s an option that always gets bonus points in my book.
After creating an account, go straight to the sub-domain created earlier to access the dashboard. There isn’t anything to do over here and the dash is mostly useful to keep an eye on your staff and the appointments, once the setup is in use. To kickstart the proceedings, we will have to create a location first.
Creating a Location
Head over to the Manage section of the app to create anything – locations, staff, staff hours, sick days and closed dates. Just click on the appropriate buttons and the form will pop up. Fill in the details and off you go! While the form looked professional, it didn’t go well with the overall mood of the interface. It is just way too plain and there are too many drop downs for selecting working hours for each day. This form works no doubt, but there needs to be some rethinking to make the app look more elegant.
Creating Services and Staff
Now that the locations have been created, it’s time to create the services that you plan to offer to your customers. Switch over to the Services section and use the Add button to bring up the form as we did earlier. While the procedure is the same, the forms are entirely different.
You can create a staff member the same way, but do remember that you will have to link the staff member to the appropriate services. If you fail to do this, the services won’t show up in your client portal.
The Client Portal
Sure, the backend was slick and user friendly. But an app like Coconut Calendar stands to lose a lot if the customer facing frontend isn’t usable enough. Surprisingly, the web app’s client portal is better than the admin area. Without the need for any effort from you, the app creates a web page complete with work timings, locations, addresses and a map to go with it too.
After selecting the location, your client will be taken to the services page. From here, one can choose one or more services offered before moving ahead to fix an appointment with a trainer. Based on the duration of each session, the calendar is already setup with a set number of sessions coinciding with your work hours.
Use Booking information page to check the appointment details. Enter your contact information in this page to receive notifications via email and text message. Once that’s all done, you will get a confirmation code (which is sent in an email too). As of now, there is no way to charge your clients upfront, so do follow up to ensure that the appointments are legitimate.
Coconut Calendar stands for simplicity and ease of use. And the app is gorgeous to look at too! The subscription plans are all very affordable and it is a good thing that the app allows unlimited appointments with all plans.
Another praiseworthy feature is letting the customer know exactly how many steps are there in the appointment scheduling process and letting them know of their progress every step of the way.
That’s all good. But what’s with all the CSS fails? Not to sound harsh, but it looks downright amateurish. Except for this one glitch, I would recommend you to give Coconut Calendar a go when you are scouting for a appointment scheduling app.
Share Your Thoughts!
How do you manage your appointments? Do you think a SaaS app for scheduling might not be secure enough?