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Making scheduling appointments easier: 3 solutions that’ll help

Philipp Steinweber
Written by Philipp Steinweber

Making scheduling appointments easier: 3 solutions that’ll help

“Errr, that’s kind of weird…” were my thoughts when I  used it the first time. But by this time it’s saving me a couple of emails every single day. A thing I wouldn’t wanna miss. I’m talking about appointment scheduling software.

There are many, with the same principle throughout: A user gets sent to an URL where he can chose a timeslot for talking to you. It’s crystal clear why this is helpful. It prevents the typical back and forth:

  • “How is Monday 2pm for you?”
  • “Oh, I already have something there”
  • “Alright, same time Tuesday?”
  • “Let’s do that.” … “Oh wait, do you mean your timezone or mine?”

With these scheduling softwares you enter your availabilities, and the user chooses whatever fits him best. Better for everyone, as long as you integrate a gentle approach in case users are not used to these kind of automated processes. Remember, they might be thinking: “Errr, that’s kind of weird…”.

Let’s have a look at some of the most promising solutions out there and see how they can help.

ScheduleOnce – The professional

Let’s start our comparison with the big player: ScheduleOnce. Formerly known as meetme.so, they’ve been around since 2006 and therefore have the most solid product out there. It’s being used by big companies and the features reflect that: everything one could possibly think of for scheduling appointments is possible. This includes: reminders and follow-ups, conditional booking, reports, website integration, pooled availability, and more. Also integration to CRMs like Infusionsoft or other software like GoToMeeting is possible.

But it hasits price: there is no free plan, and the plans below $19 have almost none of those possibilities. So it’s obviously more of an enterprise solution. But one that shows nicely how it should be done, and therefore has inspired many copycats.

There’s a 14 day trial if you want to test drive all the features.

 

Set up difficulty Easy
Pulling free slots from calendar Yes, premium
Cancellation and rescheduling Yes, premium
Charge for bookings Yes, premium
Multiple users/calendars Yes, premium
Email reminders Yes, premium

See features in detail

Go to ScheduleOnce.com

YouCanBook.me – The free alternative for bootstrappers

In case you’re wondering: that’s the one we’re using too. We’re not hardcore users as we’re not selling phone calls per se. Booking us is more part of our project acquisition and something we need a couple of times during an ongoing project. Not the major feature of our services.

And for everyone with a similar approach, youcanbook.me might be very interesting. They throw almost every feature into the free tier. Even accepting credit card payments. So much is possible that we sometimes wonder how long they’ll keep it up like that. The only motivation for switching to a premium tier, starting from $16, would be collaboration with others (more users, more calendars). Plus automatically sending out appointment reminders, which is not possible in the free version.

The free version also allows quite a few design options and therefore can be better looking than some of the more professional solutions. Only the options pages in the backend are a bit confusing and not very well thought out

If you want to keep your costs low, don’t have to manage more than 5 bookings per week, and can manage all that with one calendar and user, youcanbook.me might very well be your weapon of choice.

Nice bonus: it has a brand new Zapier integration, which allows many kinds of hacks.

 

Set up difficulty Easy
Pulling free slots from calendar Yes, free
Cancellation and rescheduling Yes, free
Charge for bookings Yes, free
Multiple users/calendars Yes, premium
Email reminders Yes, premium

See features in detail

Go to youcanbook.me

WooCommerce Bookings – The self hosted, integrated solution

Next to the above-mentioned hosted “software as a service” solutions, which often come with monthly fees, we’d like to show you one new kid on the block which goes down a completely different road. And an interesting one, we think.

WooCommerce Bookings is, as the name suggests, an extension for the ecommerce platform WooCommerce. We introduced the mothership WooCommerce in a previous post.

The bookings extension for WooCommerce is quite highly priced, at$249 for a single site license (currently on sale for $149). The financial advantage is that’s it’s a one-time fee, as long as you don’t need ongoing updates (which, practically speaking you might very well need). Still, it’s obviously positioned as a rather professional solution. What’s it good at?

First of all: it can be used for much more than booking appointments, e.g. rooms and other resource dependent items. That’s probably its key feature and main advantage over comparably “simple” appointment booking systems. It might be the only way to go for you if you’re looking at more complex booking processes.

However, we’re focused on selling consultations here, so let’s see how it compares with the other solutions. It’s not perfect! For example there’s no possibility of getting the availability from your calendar. Availability has to be set up separately in the options. Also the multi-user functionality is a bit more complicated to set up.

On the other hand it’s incredibly good for optimizing the check-out process. It’s self-hosted and based on WooCommerce, which means everything can be customized and optimized. The choice of payment providers is huge (although many of them are required paid extensions).

 

Set up difficulty Hard
Pulling free slots from calendar No
Cancellation and rescheduling Yes
Charge for bookings Yes
Multiple users/calendars Somewhat doable via “resources”
Email reminders Yes

Go to WooCommerce Bookings

Which one should you chose?

Obviously: it depends.

First of all: there are many many more providers out there. We focused on the ones with the best reputation, that are all different from each other. A corporate solution, a bootstrapper solution and a self-hosted solution.

If it’s your first time using appointment scheduling software, the free youcanbook.me might be enough if you integrate it into your work flow. ater it can be replaced by more versatile options (or upgraded to their professional plan) if needed. We rarely use ScheduleOnce for our clients, or for larger applications either, because WooCommerce Bookings’ customizability is just too neat in comparison with the ScheduleOnce hosted solution. But it comes down to deciding it on the basis of per use cases.

About the author

Philipp Steinweber

Philipp Steinweber

Philipp is the founder of Metamonks and Omooni, and passionate about personal growth. On Soulful Hustle he open-sources the strategies and insights learned from his projects.

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