If you are still currently booking your clients using a pen and paper or even the calendar in your phone, then you might want to keep reading for some top tips regarding online booking systems. There are some significant advantages to having a purposeful booking platform. They can make your practice look professional and efficient and there are definitely administration benefits which can save you time and money as well as increase revenue in client appointments.
Sync with your website for quick call to action from potential clients
When potential clients look at your website having a “book a free introductory consultation” link could motivate people more to book in with you rather than having to send an email or make a call.
Business is always open for booking
No more calls, emails, and texts back and forth at all times of the day trying to find a mutually convenient time. If a client wants to see you, they can pop online and pick from your availability themselves.
You can get paid quicker
You can set it up in most systems that once a client books an appointment they pay there and then for the service*. If you’d prefer to put a payment link in the confirmation email clients can easily make payment at their leisure prior to the appointment. And if there is a third party paying for the treatment, invoices can be sent via Stripe afterwards. If you are completing the admin work yourself it can also act as a buffer when requesting payment.*Using Stripe
Easy to manage your calendar
Online booking systems sync with your calendar, so you always know what you’ve got on that day. Set the hours you want to work and also the minimum time frame for when a booking can be made so you are always prepared. If you are not using an online calendar check out my blog on How Can I Improve My Time Management?
You may get an influx of new clients
Having the call to action button for new enquiries is great if you have space but if you don’t it could cause more problems. Ensure to update your website if you are not actively looking to take on new clients and remove this call to action.
Not all booking systems are created equally
Write down what features are MUST HAVE’S and then check out the pricing and features list of the platforms you want to use. There are many options available but make sure that they at least cover all your must haves for the price you want to pay.
You may get clients stating they’ll book themselves when you want consistent slots
Depending on how you run your practice you may want clients to commit to weekly slots and knowing that you have this handy booking system may encourage clients to take a more “I’ll check my calendar“ approach. This can be detrimental to your business as you know the hours you want to work and how many clients you can see during these hours. If everyone books themselves when they want to it can leave slots open that could’ve been filled with consistent paying clients. Ensure to think about your processes for booking in clients so the majority of your hours are filled with regular clients and there’s some availability for new or irregular clients.
Here’s my quick take on some online booking systems available.
There are free options:
Simplybook.me (paid version available)
Simplybook.me is an online booking system that can sync with your google calendar and has additional benefits to a simple calendar. You can add a widget to your website so that clients can book their own appointments based on the availability you dictate. It can sync with Stripe* so that clients can make payments for any services you offer. You can also add on custom features relevant to your business such as social media integration, rescheduling, notifications, and intake forms.
Check out https://simplybook.me/en/ for a full range of features and pricing plans.
There are paid for options:
Acuity is one of the most well-known online booking platforms and for good reason. It has tons of amazing features. Clients can see real time availability, book their own appointments, and pay online. You can record lots of information on your clients as it is both GDPR and HIPAA compliant. Clients can book via your website and complete intake forms. You can customise your confirmation and reminder templates for clients including any online video calling details and it syncs with Zoom.
Check out https://acuityscheduling.com/ for a full range of features and pricing plans.
Power Diary is a new system I have been using and I LOVE IT. For the Psychotherapists clients I have, it is ideal as it has all the features of the above platforms but loads of extras that can really ensure everything is located in one place. The client files are huge. You can record session notes with speech to text which can save tons of time! You can send invoices direct from the platform to clients, parents, or insurers. It has Telehealth built in so you can complete your online appointments right there plus loads of extras.
Check out https://www.powerdiary.com/uk/ for a full range of features and pricing plans.
*Stripe carries additional charges for processing payments. See https://stripe.com/gb/pricing for full price breakdown.