In this digital day and age, it’s very important for all businesses to have a strong and established online presence.
With that being said, service-based businesses that rely on client appointments like salons, spas, dental offices, and more, can significantly benefit from investing in an online booking system to reach a wider audience and provide a better overall experience for your clients.
Even today in 2021, many of these appointment-based businesses still rely on the traditional, manual booking process in their day-to-day operations. Not only this traditional booking process is inefficient by today’s standards, but it is also prone to human errors and miscommunications.
Yet, many of these businesses are still reluctant about implementing an online booking system, either because they haven’t found the right platform or they simply don’t know where to start.
With how more and more people are becoming increasingly familiar with online shopping and online reservations, it’s very important for your service-based business to move your scheduling and reservations online.
Below, we will discuss how using an online booking system can help grow your business.
1. Save More Time and Money
Improving cost and time efficiency is one of the main benefits of implementing an online booking system.
By moving your appointment and scheduling online, you and your staff are going to spend fewer hours on the phone and manually updating spreadsheets with customer’s information and schedules. If you can move all of the booking and scheduling processes online, studies have suggested that you can save anywhere between 10 and 20 hours every week.
That is 10 to 20 hours you can spend elsewhere on other tasks that can contribute more to growing your business, which will translate to higher revenue.
Also, you can save more money on labor costs since you won’t need as many staff in managing the booking and scheduling, and you also use less paper in the process.
2. Take Bookings 24/7
Another key benefit of an online booking system that can help your business grow is the fact that by implementing an online booking system, you can now take bookings at all hours even during the holidays. Which can significantly broaden your reach to more potential customers.
In fact, in this increasingly digital world, recent research has suggested that 35% of clients actually prefer to book appointments after hours. Meaning, if they can’t book your service during non-business hours, they might as well move to your competitors.
If you rely on manual booking processes, obviously offering 24/7 appointment scheduling is going to be very challenging and/or expensive. Most likely you’ll need to hire two or three employees to work in shifts, and even then there’s going to be a high risk of human errors, confusion, and miscommunications.
With an online booking system in place, however, it’s much easier to make this a reality. An online booking system would allow you to automatically take bookings without any human supervision, and will also update your calendar (i.e. by integrating with your Calendar app) in real-time.
Now you can attract clients anytime and from anywhere without needing to break the bank.
3. Eliminate Double Bookings
Double-bookings are a very common issue in appointment-based businesses, which happens when a service provider books two different clients in the same time slot. Double bookings can not only lead to loss of revenue and opportunity but can also cause long-term damage to your business’s reputation.
Double bookings can happen due to various causes, but mainly the primary cause is human error, for example when one staff takes a booking appointment but forgot to update the calendar or spreadsheet.
With an online booking system like Bookeo that is capable of automatically updating your schedules in real-time, we can effectively eliminate double bookings.
4. Reduce the Number of No-Shows
Another common concern in a traditional booking system is no-shows. No-shows aren’t just a minor issue for any service business, as they will translate into missed opportunities that can pile up into a huge loss in time and revenue.
If no-shows are a huge issue in your business, you should get an online booking system that can send automatic follow-ups (reminders) and notifications. Various studies have suggested that even basic text reminders can significantly reduce no-shows.
Another common cause of no-shows is when a client is reluctant to reschedule their appointment due to one reason or another.
An online booking system with the right features can allow customers to easily change their reservations online instead of having to reschedule over the phone. With more versatility in rescheduling their appointments in real-time, we can also effectively reduce no-shows for these clients.
5. Better Customer Experience
An online booking system can especially help your business grow by providing a better overall experience for your clients, which can encourage repeat businesses and referrals.
As we’ve repeatedly illustrated above, the manual booking process can often be a major time-wasting activity for both the service provider and the client.
In a phone-based booking process, for example, first, the client must make the call and ask for the available time slots before making a reservation. The staff taking the call will then manually update the calendar/spreadsheet with the schedule, and on the day of the reservation, the staff must make another follow-up call to prevent no-shows.
As you can see, the process is not only inefficient but is prone to miscommunications and other human errors. This can be frustrating for both the client and your staff.
With an online booking system in place, on the other hand, the booking process will be more streamlined, faster, and more accurate.
An online booking system is no longer a luxury feature owned only by the biggest enterprises but should be a necessary feature for all service-based businesses, especially those that rely on client appointments as the core of their businesses: spas, dental offices, salons, repair shops, and so on.
If your business is still taking your bookings manually, it’s definitely time to adopt an online booking system and grow your business more efficiently.