Businesses often get bogged down when it comes to managing appointments. Here's how an automated scheduling solution can help.

Small business owners can often get bogged down with tedious administrative work, especially when it comes to managing appointments. This is particularly true for businesses that deal with numerous client appointments on a daily basis, such as doctor's offices, salons and driving schools.

If you're struggling to keep your calendar together, an automated scheduling solution may be for you. Switching over from pen and paper or even spreadsheets may help your business run more efficiently.

What Is an Automated Scheduling Solution?

Automated scheduling solutions are typically cloud-hosted, software-as-a-service solutions that can help simplify the scheduling process for both your business and your clients. In a nutshell, many of these applications allow your clients to set up an appointment on their PC or mobile device via a scheduling link on your company website.

Once the scheduling link is opened, users generally arrive at a scheduler or calendar that allows them to select the date, their desired service and an available time slot. From there, clients enter their contact information, and then the system returns an appointment confirmation. The appointment confirmation is sent to both the client's email account and the appropriate staff members', and the client can use the software to modify or cancel an appointment if necessary.

Appointment calendars are generally easy to set up and manage using the software. However, the time it takes to set up an appointment calendar will vary depending on the complexity of your service offerings.

Weighing Your Options

Fortunately, there are several strong automated solutions for business owners looking to streamline their scheduling process. One example is Booksy, which can help businesses take online bookings and allow them to improve how they handle their customer-facing schedules. Moreover, this tool enables your business to accept bookings from anywhere at any time. This can be particularly beneficial for hairdressers, for instance. As Booksy co-founder and CEO Stefan Batory notes in TechCrunch, stylists' hands are often occupied when they're working, which makes it difficult to take appointment requests, and clients often call for appointments when they're not working, which is typically outside of business hours.

If you want to test the waters and see whether automated scheduling is right for your company, 10to8 offers free online booking software for independent practitioners, tutors, coaches and small businesses. 10to8 also offers additional, premium options for growing or larger businesses; however, these software packages come with a monthly fee.

Upgrading the way you're managing appointments may also offer additional benefits, as automated scheduling solutions tend to offer features that attend to customer relationship management, marketing automation and more. With some solutions, you can even enable appointment reminders for your clients. This may help cut down on last-minute cancellations, late arrivals and no-shows.

Overall, an automated scheduling solution can help alleviate some of your workload and offer your customers the convenience that they desire — factors that can positively affect your bottom line.

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Tags: Efficiency innovation Technology