What is an online appointment booking system?
An online appointment booking system is a digital application with which companies can provide their services to customers on the internet.
The most common systems are so-called SaaS (Software as a Service) models, which do not require installation via a data carrier such as CDs or USB sticks. Such appointment software is used via common web browsers on different devices such as PCs, laptops, tablets or smartphones.
What are the advantages of an online appointment booking system?
Compared to traditional booking options such as booking an appointment via telephone, an online service offers several advantages:
- Services are available around the clock
- Employees do not have to record appointments manually
- All relevant information about the appointment can be sent in advance and does not have to be communicated at length.
- Cancelling appointments is very easy with an online service, preventing idle time due to unattended appointments
- Appointments can be managed centrally via a single platform
- Integration of existing appointment calendars such as Outlook is easily possible
What should I consider when buying an online appointment booking system?
The range of online appointment booking systems is broad and often confusing. So which system is suitable for your own company? There are different criteria that are helpful when choosing an online appointment booking system:
An online appointment booking system should be easy to use for customers and staff. However, with the large number of different queries and variables of a service, numerous functions are needed to display them correctly. Many such questions already arise when setting up a service on the respective appointment platform.
Some examples: Which workplaces are allowed to create, forward, edit, cancel which appointments? Which employees are assigned to the workplaces? At what time and on what days should the services be bookable? Are there exception days such as public holidays?
There are many more variables to consider when creating an appointment slot. Many providers either do not provide the necessary functions for comprehensive editing options or nest them and make things unnecessarily complicated for employees.
This is where cleverQ shows its strengths. We combine extensive functionality and ease of use in one system. Texts, images and videos explain each function quickly and easily. Days of training are no longer necessary.
Online appointment booking systems can be used across devices thanks to the SaaS concept. Whether PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone – work is possible at any time and is not tied to a specific location. The integration of other systems such as Outlook or other CRM software makes it possible to maintain existing IT structures.
Also make sure that your new online appointment booking system does not create a dead end. Instead of eliminating traditional booking methods (telephone or on-site), it is best to expand them with the addition of digital services. Customers who are used to booking appointments in the traditional way will not be rejected immediately, but can be familiarised with the solution step by step. For this to work, a digital appointment booking system must offer the possibility for your employees to quickly and easily create appointments themselves, e.g. during a telephone call.
The most important purchase criteria for an online appointment booking system is the cost factor. Many companies either advertise free versions that offer virtually no functionality to set up a reasonable online appointment booking system or offer licences that appear cheap at first glance. However, these are often tied to a single workstation, PC or person. It quickly becomes clear that additional licences are needed for day-to-day business and this is where the cost traps come in.
cleverQ takes a completely different approach. We pay attention to a transparent cost policy and offer unlimited licences per company/location for a low monthly fee. You can find the cost breakdown and the different cleverQ variants for online appointment booking HERE.
How well is a provider of an online appointment booking system positioned in its portfolio? Many lack the diversity of offerings outside the topic of online appointment booking. In everyday business, there is often a demand for complementary services such as video consultation, queuing systems, security applications in connection with on-site appointments or waiting time management solutions. It is therefore important to make sure that providers have these extensions in their product range so that you do not have to buy another system in case of future demand.
cleverQ offers numerous, useful modules as an extension to an online appointment booking system.
You can find the cleverQ modules here.
Make sure that a provider offers open and transparent support and contact options on his website. If you have problems or open questions and need quick support, you will quickly find yourself alone with non-communicative companies or waiting days for an answer. Direct hotline telephone numbers are best. Live chats, on the other hand, are no guarantee for a qualified answer, as usually there is no real person behind the chat partner, but programmed chatbots.
It is best to put different online appointment booking systems through their paces before buying. Most providers offer free demo accounts. Use these to find out whether the respective system meets your requirements.
If you are interested in a cleverQ test account, you can easily request a 14-day free access HERE
Ask the providers how customer data is handled and whether the system is DSGVO-compliant. When booking appointments, a lot of personal and sensitive data is passed on to you, and as a company you are obliged to protect it.
Is an online appointment booking system a must?
Basically, an online appointment booking system is not (yet) a must, but digital systems expand an analogue appointment booking system with many useful features. In the context of modern service in a competitive environment, the company that can serve the growing demands of customers in a targeted manner wins.
With the spread of mobile devices and increasing broadband connections in private households in both urban and rural areas, customers of all ages expect a digital service offering. Those who do not offer this in time will be left behind by the competition.