The reason I am such a big advocate for having online scheduling is the power it gives you to live life on your own terms and the freedom that comes from knowing you able to connect with your clients without being a slave to your email.
Does this email conversation sound familiar?
"Do you have time to talk on Wednesday at 10am?"
"No, how about Friday at 2pm"
"I'm gone this Friday. Next week?"
"Sorry I didn't see your email, next week works great."
"Ah man, next week is booked now. How about the 15th at 9am"
Not only does it take 2 weeks to actually get on a call with someone, but the endless email back and forth is cluttering up your inbox.
And judging from the amount of emails I receive (and send) that start with "Sorry for not getting back to you sooner," I think it's clear that none of us need more email in our lives!
The answer? Online scheduling! And in my experience, Acuity Online Scheduling* is the clear winner in the online scheduler world.
Plus if your competition allows them to book online they might have already had a consult with someone else before you even get a call scheduled!
Get Out Of Email purgatory
feel The Freedom Of Online Scheduling
Switching my availability over to an online scheduler was a game changer in how I related to my calendar and also my email. I even include a link in my email signature to make sure people know how to get ahold of me since email isn't my primary mode of communication.
I never have to worry that a client concern or sales lead is stuck in email purgatory because I know they can book a call on my calendar whenever they need me.
It's one of the reasons I am such a big advocate for my clients to find the freedom of online scheduling. Someone people jump in with both feet right away, while other people take a little longer to come around.
Some of the biggest objections I hear are:
"I don't want people to be able to book something whenever they want."
The good thing about Acuity Online Scheduling is that you can open up as much or as little of your calendar as you want. I have some clients who open up Monday-Friday, 8-5pm and others who only use Acuity for phone consults Monday and Wednesday from 9-11am.
You can set different availability for each appointment so if you only want your clients to schedule session in the morning no problem. Don't want to do sales calls on Friday? Acuity has you covered.
"But what if I made a personal appointment and then a client books a call?"
The magic of syncing. Acuity Online Scheduling let's you decide which calendars you want to sync so if you want it to, when you book something on your personal calendar it will update your work calendar automatically.
That means you can sync your kids school calendar (or your weekly mid-day yoga class) to automatically block off dates so you never miss a school holiday, early dismissal, or field trip you can do that.
"But I don't work standard hours, it's different every day."
No problem, Acuity gives you the power of override. If you decide to set normal business hours you can manually override specific days to block off next Wednesday to work on that big client project or because you're going to play hooky with a girl's day in Napa.
"I want to control how many people book a day. "
Acuity lets you set scheduling limitations for each appointment type which means you can block off your calendar (automatically) based on how you want to work.
Do you want your calendar to close for the day 2 appointments so you don’t over book? No problem.
Need to block off extra time before or after an appointment to prepare. Yep, it will let you do that too.
Brand Yourself With
The Power Of Automated Follow Up
Not only does Acuity Online Scheduling book the initial call, it puts the appointment on your calendar and automatically sends branded & customized confirmations, reminders & follow-ups.
No more missed appointments or communication mishaps!
It also means once a client books, you never have to touch a thing until the day/time of the appointment.
Have a 48 hour cancellation policy? Send them an automatic reminder 72 hours before the appointment so if they need to reschedule they can do it online.
Want them to fill out a form, prepare something for their session, or remind them of the phone number of physical address? Your confirmation email can be customized to give them any details you want.
Need to accept a payment or deposit to hold their session? You guessed it, Acuity integrates with Stripe, Paypal, and Square.
Okay, I need online scheduling,
But Why Acuity?
A quick google search into the world of online schedulers might be enough to make you walk away from the computer saying, "I'll pick one tomorrow."
It's no secret that I LOVE Acuity Online Scheduling. No offense to Calendly, ScheduleOnce, or the other popular online schedulers but I'm an Acuity girl all the way ... and most of my clients have become brand evangelists too!
My favorite features?
Easy To Use: The interface is pretty intuitive which means it's easy for me to set up, change my availability, and set up new appointments.
Good User Booking Experience: More importantly than being easy for me to use, it's really easy for my clients to use!
Integrates With My Other Programs: From Squarespace to Mailchimp, Zoom Conferencing to Quickbooks, Acuity plays nice with almost every application you use as a business owner.
Free Vs. Paid Version
The free version of Acuity is an awesome place to start and depending on your needs that may be all you need.
What you get with the free version:
Client self scheduling
Unlimited services/types of appointments
Unlimited client appointments.
Personally I use the paid version (I'm on the Emerging Entrepreneur plan which is $15/month). For me it's worth it for the premium features.
What you get with the paid version:
Reminder e-mails: You send out customized confirmation/reminder/follow up emails. Each type of appointment can use the same email or you can put in custom information for each type of appointment/service.
Group Classes: If you offer a class, workshop, or group event you can allow more than one person to book an appointment during a specific time slot or type of service.
Online Payments: Need to accept payment for a service or a deposit to hold a start date? The paid version connects with PayPal, Square, Stripe, Braintree, or Authorize.net to accept online payments.
Customize Colors or Logos: Make your appointment booking look on brand with a few upgrades!
Embed Scheduler Into Your Website: Making it easy for your clients to book without ever leaving your website. It also means that you keep your branding consistent!
What Does It Cost?
There are different packages based on what you need, but all the premium features listed above are part of The Emerging Entrepreneur package (the one I use) which is $15/month (or 3 Starbucks lattes).
Whether or not you go with acuity, i hope you give online scheduling a try!
* Note – I only recommend products and services I’ve tested, used and truly love ... but in full disclosure this post contains an affiliate link, which means if you sign up with the link above, I will earn a thank you bonus from the provider.