There are plenty of types of services that you can offer your clients that result in the need to schedule appointments. Anyone who has had to spend a lot of time organizing these appointments knows what a headache it can be.
But this is one area where web 2.0 has attempted to make things easier. Setster is one such tool.
Rather than build your own calendar application to interact with your clients, Setster offers an online service that allows your [prospective] clients to view your schedule and book an appointment for when you’re available. And it allows you to easily offer this functionality from your own site.
Let’s take a look.
First Things First
To get started, you have to go through the usual hoops — sign up. The process is a little longer, but for good reason. There are a few settings that you have to fill in before you start using the application and its widgets.
Normally I prefer web apps that get you in and started, allowing you to fill in the details later. But in this case, it’s a matter of necessity. Here’s the various details you need to fill in:
- You create your account — the usual username, password etc. applies.
- Next you add your business details — this lets your [potential] customers know who you are.
- Then you add your services — your customers need to know exactly what you offer.
- Next comes your availability — this is where you set your free hours during which customers can book time with you.
- Finally, choose your widget type — then grab the code to insert on your site.
Setster in Action
Chances are, if you have your own web site, then you know how to tinker with the code and design. If not, find the guy/gal who set up your site and get him/her to do this next step for you. Or call your 12 year old nephew.
Either way, once the Setster code is inserted into your HTML or PHP file, your site will now display the Setster widget as seem here:
Once the client has completed the form, the widget fades away and they can once again browse your site. Meanwhile, Setster fires them an email with the account they specified, asking them to confirm the appointment. Once they do that, both the client and you get an email confirming that the appointment has been booked.
It’s a fairly impressive implementation in action. You have no need to answer phone calls or hire someone to do so. Your clients can see when you’re busy and when you’re not. Everybody wins. And now you have a calendar booked with opportunities to earn income.
Nothing Comes For Free, Even in Web 2.0
Speaking of calendars, Setster offers an online calendar with the Pro version. It also offers an organizable client list, payment collection and invoice creation.
All this for just under $10 (US) a month for a personal account. Not a bad deal that you — and your clients — get from the service.