If you’re someone who has done business the traditional way for years you may not be able to fathom the idea of an office that doesn’t rely on the phone to do business. [clickToTweet tweet=”A lot of time is wasted on the phone that could be better spent.” quote=” The truth is, while a well-planned and scheduled phone call is still a relevant business tool, a lot of time is wasted on the phone that could be better spent. ” theme=”style1″] For example, how many times have you, your assistant or receptionist played phone tag trying to schedule a meeting or appointment? Did you know there are amazing online tools that can eliminate not only phone tag, but the phone itself for scheduling.
There are actually tons of choices for online scheduling, but I’ve chosen the following five because of my own familiarity with them.
At the moment, I use this scheduling option on the contact page of this website. Rather than just take every call that comes in, including a growing number of SPAM and scam calls, I prefer to have visitors schedule a call to discuss their needs and how I may be able to help. Enter Setmore. It allows me to set my own availability for calls each week so that only times that I’m available are shown to those looking to schedule a meeting or call. They can simply find one of my available times that fit their schedule and make the appointment. Easy.
Setmore takes care of all the things a receptionist normally would, including sending a reminder email. There are integrations for connecting to your Facebook Page, Mailchimp and more.
The standard version of Setmore is free, but if you want to sync with your Google Calendar or Outlook, take online payments, set up recurring appointments or classes, or send SMS reminders you can get a Premium version for $25 a month or $199 annually.
If you’re looking for something more powerful than Setmore, Schedule Once may be your answer. If you’re looking for something to help you with all the stages of the customer life-cycle ScheduleOnce can handle it.
Some of the features include automatic booking, booking with approval, multiple service offerings, virtual and physical locations and integration with key third party apps like Infusionsoft and PayPal. You can try ScheduleOnce for free, with pricing ranging from $5 to $49 per month, per user.
Google Calendar with Calendly
So your life is contained in Google Calendar? Good news! By adding Calendly, you can turn your current Google Calendar into a scheduling machine. Sign up is quick and easy using your Google account, integrating your calendars and information immediately. Then just go to your Dashboard and set up your event [meeting] types.
Calendly allows you to set availability plus it also checks your Google calendar as well, so if you forgot about an appointment you already have scheduled, Calendly will rule out that time slot as well. You can also customize the event even more, even adding questions for the scheduler to fill out.
Once your event(s) are set up, simply provide the URL link to the event to allow others to schedule a time. The Basic version of Calendly is free, the Premium option which includes unlimited event types, removal of Calendly branding, group events, customizable notifications and reminders to invitees, metrics and reporting is just $8 per month.
If you don’t want to sign up to another service, the Doodle Wizard can be used without starting an account, so if you only schedule a meeting occasionally and hate signing up for stuff, this might do the trick.
Of course, by signing up for the free account you can integrate with your Google or Outlook calendar. There are paid account options for professionals or business teams. The Premium 1 user account is $39 per year and includes SSL encryption, automatic reminders and no ads. The business team option also gives you the option to customize the design and URL of your scheduling page. There is also a Doodle Mobile version for iPad and iPhone and the Meet Me contact center that allows contacts to see when you are available.
If you’re looking for simplicity without all the toots and whistles, When is Good may be what you want. If all you really need to know is when everyone is available for a meeting, this simple availability grid setup works great. You don’t even need an account to set up your availability and circulate the link for everyone to chime in on what works for them. While When is Good doesn’t do all the heavy lifting, like actually setting the meeting date/time, it does a great job of ending phone tag when trying to determine participant availability.
When is Good also offers a free account that gives you a Dashboard to manage all of your events and responses as well as edit and delete events and eliminates the need for a code to get the results. There is also a Premium option for $20 a year that gets rid of ads, gives respondents the ability to qualify options (i.e. this time is possible but not ideal) and lets you export results to Excel.
As you can see, no matter what your individual needs may be for scheduling, it can be handled online. No phone, or phone tag, necessary.