Is Online Booking Right for Your Business?

Is Online Booking Right for Your Business?

If you’re serious about growing your service business, you know that you need to introduce new efficiencies in your processes. And one of the ways you can achieve this aim is by using an online booking system.

If you’re still using traditional ways to accept bookings, you know that this can lead to backlogs, numerous hours wasted on miscommunication and the need for a large team of staff to help serve your customers. With online bookings, this is a worry you no longer have to worry about.

But what is an online booking system, what are its pros and cons, which factors should you consider when choosing one and is there an industry-leading solution you can fully trust? These are the questions we explore in this article. Keep reading to learn more.

What is an online booking system? 

An online booking system is a type of software that integrates with your business to enable you to accept bookings for your services through the internet. It is a secure way for customers to find out more about your services, book them at a time most convenient for them and pay you online, as you manage bookings in a quicker space of time with less staff required.

Advantages of using an online booking system

There are multiple benefits of an online booking system. We explore a few of these in more detail below:

1. No more emails, no more calls

You know how tedious, expensive, energy and time-consuming it is to have back and forth communication with your customers. With an online booking system, you’ll be able to save a lot of time and resources by having automated reminders about upcoming appointments and more, scheduling your team’s availability better and focusing on the more important aspects of your business.

2. Help keep your team on the same page

When all your bookings and jobs are organised in one platform, coordinating your team members becomes a much smoother and easier process. You can work around their schedule and instantly see at a glance who has availability to take on the next job.

3. Aligns with your calendar

As soon as your customer has booked a time and date for their service or appointment, this booking immediately goes into your calendar, ensuring that no jobs are missed and that all your important information is centralised in one place. This means you can stay in control of your schedule without saying “no” to any bookings.

4. Reduce no-shows and cancellations

It does happen that customers forget about their appointments or cancel at the last minute. However, with online booking software, you can send automated reminders (freeing up space for your team to focus on more important work). This means fewer chances of missed opportunities to perform jobs as your scheduling process is automated from start to finish.

5. Boost your image of professionalism and attract new customers

Because convenience is so important to so many customers today, your business will look more professional by offering modern and convenient booking solutions.

This way, your business will become more competitive as you attract new customers drawn to your efficient service offering. This is also important for returning customers, as they’ll already have experienced the convenience of booking your services and will be happy to do so again and again.

6. Keep your bookings coming in 24/7

When you give your customers the chance to book at their convenience and you offer round-the-clock booking availability, your business stays open for longer, meaning more bookings and greater chances of higher revenue earned and, naturally, fewer expenses.

7. More upselling opportunities

Giving your customers the chance to do everything online and being able to promote other related services means greater upsell and cross-sell opportunities, which also positively contribute to your bottom line.

8. Make informed decisions

You may not know this but an online booking system is not only capable of handling your bookings and payments online.

It can also produce important reports and information that can streamline your decision-making process, ensuring it is driven by real data and insights as you work towards offering your customers levels of unmatched convenience.

Potential challenges of online bookings

Naturally, online bookings can come with certain challenges. Some of these are mentioned below:

  • Set-up processes: Depending on the online booking system you choose to work with, sometimes, it’s possible that the set up process will be lengthy as it needs to integrate with your current systems, cloud, software, hardware and other essential elements.
  • Training and learning curve: Once you’ve implemented an online booking system in your business, you need to ensure that your staff get the right training so that they’re able to use it. This may involve a certain learning curve that will take time to overcome.
  • Costs: Certain online booking systems can be quite costly and lack the budget-friendly solution that you may be looking for. Associated expenses related to setting up your online booking system as well as training your time can be a downside for a small business owner.

Key considerations when choosing an online booking system

When choosing an online booking system, you need to consider several important factors to ensure you pick the right one for your business. A few key examples include:

  • The size and type of your business
  • The initial and ongoing costs of set-up, maintenance and software upgrades
  • Compatibility with current systems
  • Your customer demographics 
  • Technical skills of your team

When to use offline bookings?

Online bookings are not always suitable for every business owner. In some cases, the more traditional telephone-call-based bookings may be more appropriate. This is the case when your target demographic is not tech savvy and cannot navigate what may feel like a complex space to make a booking.

Other customers may not have access to mobile or computer devices or have an internet connection. And finally, it is possible that your customers are still looking for that human or personal touch by speaking to a person on the other side of the line, ensuring that their needs are met.

ServiceOS: A customisable appointment booking system

As promised earlier, we now touch on an industry-leading online booking solution you can fully trust: ServiceOS. What is more, it comes at business-friendly prices and offers you a full suite of features to ensure that you can streamline your online booking process to the needs of your business.

With ServiceOS, you can accept bookings online 24/7 and give your customers profiles to self-manage their appointments. In turn, this helps you manage your schedule on the go. You also reduce the chances of no-shows or cancellations as you can automatically send reminders by email and SMS.

And last but not least, ServiceOS gives you the chance to customise offers, automated invoices and so much more, helping your service business truly become more efficient and scale that much faster.

TEST OUR fully customisable software for your service business TODAY!

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