The world has become more demanding than ever before. Professionals and businesses alike need to ensure that they have a robust, efficient, and reliable workflow to manage everything. Any slip will cause losses beyond comprehension.
This is where the best scheduling software plays a major role by streamlining the workflow in a single place, making everything more manageable.
It is needless to say that businesses and even freelance professionals must deal with appointments, meetings, work scheduling, and various other complex aspects of work on a daily basis. This can be daunting and overwhelming. Human brain has a limit. For some, the limit is high, for others, it is low. No matter what, there is always a limit, and the brain can only process a limited number of things.
Too much of work can only reduce productivity. Remember meetings and appointments should not be on the list of things that one must remember. Juggling between texts, emails, and various digital channels should be left on specialized programs that can make the workflow smoother.
This is precisely where scheduling software comes into play! These are smart tools designed to make things smooth and organized.
A well-designed scheduling software allows businesses to:
- Optimized use of resources.
- Increased customer engagement.
- Streamlined business operations.
- Improved project management.
Before starting the list, let me quickly walk you through the benefits of using a scheduling software and tell you the things to look for while selecting one.
What Are the Benefits of Using Scheduling Software?
There are several benefits of using a scheduling software. Do not forget that you are living in a digital era where people can find life partners on a digital platform. So, your business should also make use of it. Manual processes are more or less defunct now. Going the manual way can lead to increased costs and missed opportunities because people responsible for such jobs are humans! Mistakes cannot be evaded while performing manual tasks.
This is where scheduling software can make a big difference. The major benefits of using a scheduling software are:
Minimize Missed Appointments
Automatic confirmations and reminders not only save you time but also assist clients remember future appointments. You may also add cancellation rules in the reminders, so they give you ample notice if they need to cancel.
There are scheduling software that will enable you to collect a deposit or securely store a card number. The awareness that real money is on the line motivates customers to maintain their appointments.
Enhanced Customer Satisfaction
Customers are more satisfied with online schedulers that provide all-in-one services. Because they retain all information and history, you may quickly access a person's background, making them feel valued. Clients will schedule and pay quicker and more readily if you save payment and appointment preferences.
The data collected and monitored may help you advertise your company. Having all of your current clients' information in one location is helpful when offering customized promotions or highlighting additional services.
Efficient Time Management
You've got enough on your plate operating your company, so adjusting schedules everyday isn't the greatest use of your time. Without optimal schedules, you risk overbooking, resulting in dissatisfied consumers and wasted income.
With computerized reservations, the risk of human mistake is almost eliminated, and appointment calendars are always up to date.
What Should You Look for While Selecting a Great Scheduling Software?
Not every online scheduling software is made to have the same set of features and ease of use. Nonetheless, there are some criteria they must fulfill to become the most preferred choices. Just setting up customer reservations successfully cannot be the sole criteria for selection. Every scheduling software will do that. There must be more. Here is what you should be looking for while selecting the best scheduling software:
By the time you implement a scheduling tool, your organization is likely already operating a slew of sales, operational, and office software among others. Due to the fact that your scheduler interacts with both the administrative backend and customer, the scheduling software must be as inconspicuous as possible.
It should be capable of extracting customer data and monitoring progress in the CRM that you are using. Additionally, the platform should easily sync with the calendars currently in use in your organization, ensuring that any previously scheduled blocks of unavailability and existing appointments are preserved. It should also be able to train your personal time.
Additionally, it is also a desirable trait for any scheduling software to sync with the email platform you are using to allow for customer communication. Furthermore, great applications enable you to connect with your clients wherever they are by connecting with social media platforms by allowing you to create appointment booking buttons on such platforms.
Do not forget that you will be looking for appointment scheduling software because you want to overcome the limitations and hardships of manual booking. This means that the appointment scheduling software should be easy to use. If it has a very steep learning curve and gives your team a nightmare, the whole purpose of switching from manual booking procedure is defeated.
A good scheduling software should be very easy to set up and there should not be too many steps involved in getting simple things done. There should be features like auto-sending reminders and confirmations to people booking appointments.
External branding can destroy your professional brand. So, it is imperative that the scheduling software that you are selecting should allow custom branding. Not just that, it will be great if the program that you are selecting has the provisions for other customizations like setting fonts, colors, etc., because all of them play a very important role in providing a seamless experience to your customers.
That being said, cosmetic changes are not the only type of customization that you should be looking for. Every business has unique needs, and hence, the software of your choice should have enough flexibility to back the technical needs of your company. The program should be able to lend itself to your custom automation rules, permissions and more, so that your inhouse teams also get a seamless experience.
Okay, time for the list. In case you are running short on time and just want to get the list without delving into the details, here are the programs that I prefer:
- Acuity Scheduling
- Square Appointments
- HubSpot Meetings
Now, if you have some time, I will urge you to go through the entire blurb because you can get some valuable information about each software that will eventually help you with decision making. Evaluating each one of them individually might not be a possibility for you. So, I did the heavy lifting. Now all you must do is go through the list and pick the one that suits your needs the best!
#1. Acuity Scheduling
Acuity Scheduling is an appointment scheduling software that is well-suited for small to medium businesses with a bent toward the service industry. It saves you time and frustration by avoiding lengthy, sometimes pointless back-and-forth discussions regarding time zones and availability.
Acuity is capable of syncing with calendars. It can also connect with a variety of major corporate applications, including analytics, email marketing, accounting, video conferencing and customer relationship management (CRM) software.
Additionally, you can personalize Acuity Scheduler with your branding, establish scheduling restrictions and preferences, configure different automatic email reminders, collect online payments (via Stripe and PayPal), access sophisticated reporting, and more.
Embedding Acuity Scheduler on your website is also a possibility. You can embed it even in your marketing emails and share it on social media platforms. This highly intuitive software can help you to gain an edge over your competing businesses.
Acuity provides a plethora of features centered on strong integrations (with Zapier, Squarespace, and iCal), automation, and comprehensive customization that streamline the process of scheduling and maintaining appointments.
Acuity's support includes an extensive Help Center. They also provide live training webinars. Customer assistance is provided only through email. However, there are independent Acuity Certified Experts whom you can hire separately.
Acuity expedites the scheduling and management of appointments for both you and your customers. It enables you to maintain organization and provide exceptional customer service with least possible effort and time.
Acuity Scheduling will give you a free trial. When you are ready for a paid plan you can select a plan that starts from $14 a month and go all the way up to $45 a month depending on your requirements.
A cloud-based software, 10to8 appointment scheduling program automates the scheduling as well as management of appointments.
Simply configure your preferences and availability and customers can book their appointments online depending on your set availability. 10to8 then helps with confirmation, client information management, reminders, and follow-up on customer review requests.
Embedding on websites is possible and you can easily share on social media platforms and marketing emails. With a variety of branding choices, you can simply integrate the scheduler into your existing brand.
10to8 connects with your calendars and business applications like as Salesforce and Zoom. You can connect 10to8 with 1,500+ other business applications with Zapier, effortlessly integrating it into your current workflow.
The setup is simple and easy, with basic instructions. Once configured, 10to8 needs little to no management from you. Additionally, you may send customized email, SMS, and voice call reminders and set them to be triggered depending on time or service type.
Additionally, 10to8 allows you to seek reviews and build email campaigns directly. The program generates reports on attendance, no-shows, and even the performance of your employees.
10to8 comes with different pricing plans. They have a forever free plan available where you cannot set your own branding, and you will be limited to 100 appointments a month. Beyond that, their paid plans start with $9.6 a month and go all the way up to $40 a month. If you need more than that, they have the Enterprise plan where they will offer customized pricing depending on your needs.
Calendly is designed to be a time-saving scheduling program capable of automating many of the most time-consuming aspects of scheduling, such as managing time zones and availability. It is compatible with calendars and a broad range of other common business apps.
Website embedding and social media sharing of Calendly link is possible. You may customize your meetings by setting meeting preferences, selecting from a variety of meeting formats, sending SMS and email reminders. It also has team collaboration features available.
Calendly enables automating the sending of emails or SMS whenever customers book meetings. Additionally, the program will also allow sending email reminders, follow-up meeting requests, feedback surveys, and thank-you emails. Calendly combines all of the tools you need to plan, monitor, and manage appointments into one handy interface.
Calendly's best features include a robust integration ecosystem with major corporate tools such as calendars, video conferencing applications, CRMs, etc. Additionally, Calendly enables users to define preferences, monitor metrics, and arrange a variety of meeting formats directly via the platform.
Calendly offers assistance via blogs, community forum, and video tutorials. Live chat and email support are both available for paid customers, while free users can only use email support.
Calendly enables you to schedule and manage meetings efficiently and effectively. Calendly is worth checking out if you're looking to automate the process of arranging meetings and avoid the back-and-forth emails that follow.
Calendly offers a forever free plan that will not allow custom branding, and of course, there will be certain limitations. Premium and Pro plans come for $8 a month and $12 a month respectively. If you need anything more, they have the Enterprise plan where they will give you bespoke pricing.
HoneyBook is a powerful scheduling application that excels in managing bookings and clients, as well as the operational and sales procedures associated with any business' administrative back end.
When it comes to scheduling appointments, it is simply brilliant. The client interface of HoneyBook is simple and clear; it can be customized to fit the look and feel of your company's website. The application can easily sync with the calendars of your choice and guarantee an accurate scheduling.
It then gathers keeps track of appointment history, customer information, and saves all interactions in one convenient location so that you can access it anytime you need. Additionally, you may create extremely complex and detailed workflows for sending automatic immediate confirmations and reminders to your customers. Not just that, HoneyBook will even allow you to trigger internal administrative activities in response to client events.
Apart from its excellent scheduling services, HoneyBook excels in a variety of areas. From a financial perspective, you may instantly invoice customers and monitor payments directly from the app. Additionally, you can immediately deposit money into your account. HoneyBook allows payments by debit and credit cards, and even supports direct bank transfer.
From an operational perspective, HoneyBook enables the creation and storage of contracts, and allows you to set up your workflows. Report customization is another aspect of the software that you are going to love. Everything is interconnected ensuring that you never lose context or any information.
HoneyBook's onboarding process is extremely thorough. They will help you set up your account with patience so that brand consistency is retained. The whole process of onboarding and account setup is friendly, and they also provide a robust resource library and 24/7 live support.
HoneyBook doesn’t offer a free plan. However, they do have a free trial that lasts for 7 days. You can try out the software program before making a commitment with your money. Once you are ready to purchase, you can select from three plans. The basic plan is called Starter that will cost you $9 a month with a maximum of $10K in transactions. The next plan is Unlimited Monthly with absolutely no limitations. It will cost you $39 a month. Finally, you will have Unlimited Annual that will cost $390 per year.
AppointmentPlus provides an easy and efficient scheduling and booking platform that streamlines company operations. It has an intuitive awareness of company owners' fundamental problems, not only with scheduling but also with optimizing efficiency.
AppointmentPlus simplifies viewing, modifying, and monitoring appointments with an intuitive dashboard and interface that is designed for efficient administration.
You may have it connect directly with your current software infrastructure for smooth operations, or you can use its marketplace of add-on integrations to create the precise kind of customization your company requires.
Automated scheduling reminders and comprehensive reporting contribute significantly to increasing company efficiency and profitability.
AppointmentPlus has lots to offer, whether you need a complete 360-degree picture of your company or want to dig down into a particular day, staff, or client trend. Trend tracking and the ability to make adjustments when needed will ensure that your business runs efficiently.
Their onboarding process focuses on your success by enabling you to personalize your system and dashboard that adhere to the unique needs of your company while also providing space for rapid growth.
Their customer support team is quite responsive, and they also have an extensive collection of knowledgebase articles to ensure that you do not get into any trouble while using their platform.
If your company is all about data-driven operations, AppointmentPlus will simplify the scheduling process and give you access to all the data you will need to make it easy for your company staff and stakeholders.
They do not have a free plan available. Their basic plan starts from $49 a month, making it one of the most expensive scheduling software programs available today. Their highest tier plan costs $199 a month. If you need more than that, they have an Enterprise option where you get customized pricing and customized features depending on your requirements.
#6. Square Appointments
Square Appointments is a simple and inexpensive appointment scheduling solution. It integrates with current calendars and enables you to create custom in-app rules that ensure secure and efficient scheduling.
As a result, it is simple to use on a regular basis, even for the most technologically challenged employee. Irrespective of how small or big your business is, Square Appointment can fit in. You may configure different abilities and permissions on a per-user basis to increase overall accessibility.
Additionally, Square Appointments aids in the development of client loyalty. You may create policies and discounts, as well as store all types of client information for future processing, which include things like payment information, customer data, appointment histories, and more.
Additionally, the Square Appointments scheduler simplifies client administration via automation. It helps guarantee that consumers will show up for reservations by providing immediate confirmations and pre-set automatic reminders.
You can pull data easily and segment it in a variety of ways, providing insight into things like sales patterns, customer behavior, inventory management and so on. You can store files and documents and even send them to customers for sharing information, signing, confirmation, etc.
They have a free plan that allows only one staff calendar. The highest price they have is $90 a month for 10 staff calendars. Anything beyond that, you can contact their sales team to get a custom pricing.
SimplyBook is the finest online scheduling solution for companies working in the service industry.
It's an excellent option for service-based companies, since you'll get a professional website complete with a booking system. This enables you to embed a booking button widget not only to your website, but also on your different social media accounts like Google Profiles, Instagram, Facebook, etc.
Additionally, SimplyBook accepts payments online through their POS system and has a slew of additional excellent marketing tools. Their software is a one-stop shop for service-oriented companies, offering everything from gift cards, discount coupons, email marketing, and video meetings.
It will automatically deliver booking confirmation SMS and email to those who book an appointment. Additionally, consumers may cancel their bookings at any moment. It allows ticket generation in QR codes.
Users may take use of the comprehensive configuration options to bundle various services and club offerings. It enables companies to accept online payments through a variety of payment methods including Bitcoin, Skrill, PayPal, Dwolla, Mollie, Zooz, CCAvenue, and PayFort.
It allows utilizing the Google Calendar Sync plugin to easily sync booking transactions and available time. Its simple interface color-codes all data, allowing easy and quick access.
It integrates seamlessly with Google Analytics, allowing you to monitor visits and interaction. Additionally, it has a reward system that enables companies to incentivize current consumers to promote their brand.
Through its newly introduced Class & Membership feature, you can simply establish courses and events. Each package includes customized features, such as add-ons that enhance the functionality of your reservations.
SimplyBook allows a free plan with only 50 bookings and one custom feature. You can go for a free trial of their paid plans that start with 9.90 USD a month and scale all the way up to 59.90 USD a month.
Bookafy is a flexible scheduling application that enables you to arrange meetings quickly without fuss and complexity. You can customize the appearance and functionality of your scheduling site, collect money, automate video meetings, and do more! It's ideal if you're a small company looking for a scheduler that supports a variety of meeting types.
The free plan has a plethora of features. The software features an attractive customer-facing interface that can be modified to suit the needs of your branding, including font size, font type, styling, color, and much more.
It is simple and sturdy in design, with one of the most comprehensive feature sets available in the market.
There are two-way and one-way sync options for Outlook.com, Exchange, ICS, iCloud, and Google Calendar. Additionally, they offer an open API that enables custom development and enterprise functionality.
Bookafy enables customers to schedule appointments online in 34 languages and in more than 180 countries. The platform complies with both GDPR and HIPAA regulations.
They have a free plan available with certain limitations. However, you can always try their paid plans for 7 days. There are three paid plans. The first two are Pro and Pro+ that cost $9 and $13 a month respectively. The final one is the Enterprise plan that comes with Open API and custom integrations. The pricing for the Enterprise plan will depend on your requirements, and hence, you need to contact their sales department.
#9. HubSpot Meetings
The meeting scheduling feature in HubSpot offers you with a customized booking link that you can use for inviting people for checking your availability and scheduling meetings with you. When a meeting is scheduled, their contact information is immediately added to your calendar and sent to the HubSpot CRM database. The HubSpot CRM is a free tool that you can use for as long as you want with and add as many users as you want.
HubSpot Meetings is compatible with Office365 and Google Calendar, and it is also included in WordPress plugin of WordPress. Signing up for HubSpot Meetings will entitle you for access to free HubSpot CRM, Customer Support, and Marketing tools. These tools include live chat, forms, and email marketing automation.
If you face any difficulty understanding things, you can use their free online resources and visit the HubSpot Academy to sort things out.
If you have a startup company with very limited needs, you can use the free plan of HubSpot that will allow you to use one personalized meeting link, which will allow you to book unlimited meetings. Along with it, you will get free CRM and other free tools. If you need more personal or team meeting links, you can upgrade to their paid plans that start with $50 a month and include all features of HubSpot Sales.
A cloud-based scheduling system, Appointlet interacts with various applications to streamline operations for almost any kind of company and to ensure seamless client reservations.
Its simplified features assist office administrators, human resources experts, and company owners, among others. The core features include customization of intake questions for collection of essential information, enabling clients to self-book meetings, automating processes by linking to current systems, and significantly decreasing missed appointments by sending reminders automatically.
Appointlet is also intended to integrate easily with a variety of third-party applications, including Salesforce, Google, Office 365, and more. It does have a learning curve, but that is quite manageable because the system is quite unobtrusive and intuitive.
Albeit the frontend UI is slightly dated and difficult to preview from admin side, but that is not an impediment, because it allows customers to easily book and track their appointments.
Appointlet's price structure is very cheap, with two tiers: free and premium, which costs less than $10 per month. Both subscriptions provide a slew of helpful features that contribute significantly to Appointlet becoming an essential part of your daily business operations. If you are not ready to pay for the software right away, you can always go for their 15-day free trial that will give you enough exposure to scale the learning curve and become comfortable while using the program.
The list above is in no way the most complete list you will get. There are many more that could be easily included in this list. But what I included here is a selected list of the ones that I personally tested and then removed the ones that did not fulfill the basic requirements of being on the list.
In case you are still unsure of which option to select, the first four on the list, that is, Acuity Scheduling, 10to8, Calendly, and HoneyBook are by far the best in business. Take them for a spin and you will definitely find the one that meets your business needs.
Of course, you can always try out the other options on the list and see if they work for your business or not! Happy hunting!