Appointment scheduling software: it’s what Timely is! But what does that actually mean? If you’re just starting to think about switching over from a paper diary, here’s a little crash course on what you can expect.

What is appointment scheduling software?

First of all: why should you go digital with your appointments and your business?

Even if your paper diary is working well for you, we’re willing to bet a software system would be a huge step up.

Look more professional to your client

For better or worse, the Internet and the Cloud have changed clients’ expectations.

Presentation matters. It’s not enough just to be good at what you do anymore, if it ever was.

After all, that’s why you put energy into creating a beautiful waiting room, right? That’s why we get dressed up to go to work, or to an event. We know it’s not just what you do that matters.

A spa that offers online bookings appears to be more put-together than one that doesn’t.

A personal trainer with a website will be seen as more legitimate than one who just has a mention on a listings website.

A tutor who can send email invoices feels more professional than one who asks for cash on the day.

Save time

Paper diaries probably don’t lose you too much time when you’re just starting out, and don’t have a huge client list yet. But the more successful you become, the more complicated your business becomes.

That’s when paper diaries start wasting your time.

Do you really want to be scrambling to decipher your apprentice’s handwriting while a client is waiting in your seat? How about flipping frantically through your notebook to see if your client really did pay for two sessions last time they saw you, or if they’ve misremembered? And of course, the erasing.

“Pencil in, erase, pencil in, erase. I had a lot of no-shows the first month, not having any software. It was so frustrating. I definitely recommend getting reminders to anyone starting out!” Rachel Qiolevu, Salon 53

Save money

As they say, time is money. And if you’re a business owner, how much is your time worth? If you can save your receptionist even just one hour each day by offering online bookings, how much have you saved by the end of the month?

But it’s more than just saving time. Appointment scheduling software lets you take a look at your business to see what’s doing well, and what needs help. With just a few clicks, you can send out emails reminding your clients about unpaid invoices. That’s literal money in your bank account.

What will I get besides a nice calendar?

The Calendar is the feature most used by Timely customers. But there’s way more to appointment scheduling software than just a sweet calendar.

Most-loved appointment scheduling features

  • Appointment reminders: This one’s a biggie! Automated SMS or emails are sent out from your account to remind your client that of their appointment. It cuts no shows by 50%, on average. Appointment reminders hit all three benefits: they save you time (automated), save you money (no missed appointments), and make you look more professional to your clients. You can see why this is a favourite!
  • Online booking: Clients can go to your website or Facebook page, select the service and staff member they want, and see what openings you have. They then book in, and you’ll get a notification and a new booking in your calendar, without lifting a finger. This is another feature that ticks all three boxes. People who use online booking say that not being tied to the phone has changed their lives. Plus, clients absolutely love it.
  • Reports: Yes, this sounds boring. But stick with us for a sec. Reports let you see how your business is doing without having to do any math. See which services get booked the most, or how much money you’re making in summer vs winter. Check out which stock is flying out the door, and find out which staff member is upselling like a beast. Even if you’re not a spreadsheets kinda gal, you might find yourself totally hooked on tracking your business.

Of course, your favourite feature might be something totally different. Maybe you’ll just love the fact that you can drag and drop to move an appointment, instead of erasing and rewriting and erasing and rewriting and (you get the picture). Or being able to see exactly where the gaps are in each staff member’s schedule. Or rebooking a client with just a couple clicks.

Wherever you’re hoping to save time or make your life easier, going digital is almost always an easy answer. Sure, there’s a bit of a learning curve, but the time and money you save, and the image you present to your clients, is worth a little bit of time spent practising.

Being open to trying new things is key to staying ahead of the game in business. That goes for software and apps too, not just products and techniques.