Booking apps or even a booking facility on your website, gives your customers a chance to book appointments, viewings, lessons or reservations, without you needing to get involved. The huge advantage of a booking app or booking facility via the web is that it’s functioning 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even if your business is closed.
However, before you decide on getting a booking app developed or having a booking facility online, you need to look at a few considerations in relation to how you already log bookings or appointments.
If you currently only operate a manual system, then you’ll be able to look at your developer, building you a booking app from scratch. In some ways this is an advantage because you start with a clean slate. If however you already use some sort of booking software on a computer or laptop for your business, then there are a couple of things you’ll need to check out first.
Any booking system, whether online or just on a local computer, is really just a series of databases, that work in tandem with each other. One database will contain your services, one will contain your business hours, another may contain your staff and there will of course be a diary database which stores your opening hours and the physical bookings themselves, which you probably update manually when customers call up.
So for example, if you are a hair salon and somebody wants to make a booking. You’ll select the customer, the particular hair service they want (which should have a duration attached to it), the member of staff that is going to cover the appointment and of course the date and time of the appointment.
This will then place that customer in that slot and prevent anybody else booking in with the same staff member at the same time…. All pretty obvious and straight forward.
However, if you want to allow customers to book themselves in, that booking system needs to be uploaded to “the cloud” or in simplistic terms put on some sort of domain somewhere. If your current system has the facility to do this, then you’re at a major advantage but don’t worry if it doesn’t as there are usually ways and means.
Once your booking system is online (on your own page or on a domain hosting your booking app) people then have access to it. Now, not only can you still add your manual bookings as you currently do but customers can book themselves in, without clashing with each other or the appointments you already have.
The best way to manage the booking app or online booking system is to get customers to register with some form of user ID. This way, only recognised customers can book themselves in, which avoids fake appointments or bookings. At the very least, you should require a contact number, name and email address, so that you can confirm the booking or be able to contact them if there is a problem.
Now you have a booking system that can work for itself and when customers get used to using it, it will save you huge amounts of time. Also, because the customers get a visual look at the physical available empty booking slots, they will be filling dead parts of your diary, rather than all ringing up to make a booking for the same time on the same day. This can really help with “dead” spots during the week, meaning you are busy all day every day.
The other advantage of a booking app is that you will be collecting valuable customer data on who is booking what and when. This is great info for when you are looking to do a new marketing campaign.
And of course the huge area where a booking app scores over just a booking page on your website, is push notifications. Because your customers phone is registered with your app, you can send them notifications on special offers, events and new services.
If you run any sort of business that takes bookings of any kind a booking app would be a huge bonus for your business. Even if at first you just trial it on your website, if you get it built correctly in the first place, it will be easy to convert to a full on app in the future.
Booking apps are not as expensive as you think, so talk to us today and let’s get booking 🙂