5 Appointment Scheduling Tools for Small Business
As a small business owner, there’s always lots to do and phone calls to make. If you’ve ever played phone tag, then these appointment scheduling tools will save you time.
What are appointment scheduling tools or programs?
Appointment scheduling apps or scheduling software allow you to book a meeting time with another person. And you won’t have to play phone or email tag.
Here’s how they work
Meeting scheduling tools do vary in the way they work. Some allow you to book 1:1 meetings which allow you to first block out any times that you don’t want to make available. You then send the other person a meeting request. They can see your availability of free times and book a suitable time to talk.
Other plans allow you to schedule a meeting with multiple people. These tools allow you to create a poll depicting your available times, then it’s sent to all meeting attendees. Everyone puts in their available times and hopefully, there’s a time that suits you all.
Why you need one?
If you’re a solopreneur and you’re playing phone tag then you’re spending a fair bit of time on admin and not your core business. Why waste your valuable time when you could be spending it on billable work? Or doing something you enjoy.
What appointment scheduling systems can you use?
There are a number of online scheduling tools, but I’ll go over just a few. My aim was to find something which allows inbound meeting requests. So you send a link to a potential client, they view your meeting availability and they schedule a time to chat.
Other tools allow you to create polls where you select some proposed times, send to the others you are wanting to meet with. They vote in the poll and then hopefully there’s a time everyone is available to schedule the time.
Calendly is a free tool – which makes it great for solo-entrepreneurs. There are also some paid versions which give you more functionality such as the ability to create multiple event types. It has a clean interface and pretty easy to use.
If features inbound meeting requests as you can see below. I’ve blocked out my calendar and have created a link that also embeds into my website. It allows for someone to request a meeting with you. But you need to first set up your availability and how far in advance you want to allow someone to schedule.
The free version allows you to customise one event such as 15 min meeting but not create a 15-minute meeting plus a 30-minute meeting. Though for a solopreneur, perhaps that’s all you need. Calendly is easy to use and streamlined.
2. Schedule Once
This was the first online meeting scheduling tool I’d come across and it got me thinking about how much time you’d save by automating meeting bookings.
Schedule Once has a 14 day trial period and 4 plans (plus, premium, professional and enterprise). Best of all you don’t need to provide credit card details. It features an ability to add multiple team members and handles cancellations and rescheduling well.
The Plus plan offers 1 booking page and integrates with iCloud and Google calendars. If you want integration with Outlook you’ll need to go either the Professional or Enterprise plan.
For more details, visit the plan features summary
SetMore is another calendar scheduling tool aimed at small business owners. It offers mobile apps for Android and IOS so you can manage your bookings on the go.
It allows for a booking button to be integrated with your WordPress website via an embed code or through a button integrated with a plugin. It has a lot of functions such as adding contacts to your Mailchimp account and adding different staff calendars for meeting requests too.
Setmore has a free option as well as a paid Premium version. The Premium version offers extra functionality such as 2-way syncing with Outlook and Google as well as SMS reminders.
If you’re after something free and mobile friendly then try SetMore.
Doodle is a meeting booking tool that also features iOS and Android apps. It allows you to create a poll in order to find the times that best suit a number of attendees, and then schedule a meeting.
The free plan on the iOS app, at this stage, doesn’t feature the ability to send a meeting link request to a client in order for them to schedule a time with you. If you log into the website you have an option to create a MeetMe page which syncs to your Google calendar.
You can then send a link to a client so they can see your availability and book a time for a 1:1 meeting. This free tool has a limited range of functions but may be just what you need. Or view their pricing for the Private and Business plans and for more functionality.
Timebridge is another tool that you may find useful. It allows meeting time to be coordinated between a number of people by checking their calendar availability. The useful thing is that it also allows inbound meeting requests. So you sync to your Google calendar and send a link (URL) of this to the person that wants to meet with you. They can view your meeting availability and book a meeting time.