This article was written by Michelle Weger.
How does a searcher become a customer?
Maybe this person sees a Facebook ad or comes across your blog while they’re searching for something related.
Or they don’t see your blog (which is its own problem) but they’re actively looking for what you’re selling.
Whatever the reason is, they come across your business.
From there, they find information about you on your website.
They look up your services, check your blogs for more information, scroll through your FAQs, and compare you to your competitors.
Of course, they figure out that you’re the best at what you do.
Excited, they decide that yes, they want to book an appointment with you, so they click the handy button on your website to book an appointment, consultation, or service and…
…they’re directed to a page with a phone number.
By not offering an online booking solution, you’ve just stalled your customer’s journey.
Maybe they’re already on the phone.
Or perhaps they found your website after business hours and they forget to call back when you’re open.
Before online business was as universal as it is today, customers had to work within the hours set by a company.
That not only meant that customers only had set hours to shop or book appointments, but even to decide which businesses to work with. Something as simple as finding out what services a company offered would have to be done in-person or over the phone during business hours.
The internet is open 24/7.
That means your customers aren’t limited by your business hours. They’re expecting to be able to start their journey with you when they want to.
Now, customers can find that information at their convenience. For some people, that’s during their commute home from work. Or maybe it’s in the evening after dinner or on the weekend when they finally have time to look up that thing they’ve been meaning to look up.
Whatever it is, that time is not always going to correspond with your business hours.
Booking a service online is like a bridge.
Your customer knows the destination – they want the service you provide. They’ve gone down the path you offered to get to that destination.
But if the bridge is out just before they arrive – that is, if they can’t complete their booking like they want to – how many of them are going to wait until the bridge is open?
Isn’t it more likely that they’re going to turn around and find a different route to their destination?
New customers don’t know you or your business. They’re not going to be loyal to your company if they’ve never worked with you before, so if it’s not convenient to book with you, they’re just going to find someone else.
Why risk losing business over something so easy?
Implementing an online booking system not only earns you more business, it saves you time and money.
- Spending less time booking appointments over the phone means you can spend more time doing things that need your attention – like taking on more appointments.
- The risk of overbooking yourself drops when using online software since human errors are less likely to happen.
- Your customers can book when it’s convenient for them, which means you can be “selling” even when you’re not actively working.
- You can communicate information to your customers automatically so they have everything they need to get ready for their appointment
But what if you have customers who don’t want to book online?
You don’t have to force your customers to book through your online system.
Most appointment booking software allows you to manually book appointments. That means a customer can still call or walk in and book their appointment with a staff member.
Instead of adding the appointment to a calendar, spreadsheet, or notebook like you may currently be using, you would add the appointment to your online software.
This has the added benefit of then allowing that customer to receive automatic text or email reminders and follow ups just like someone who booked online would.
And that’s the key to all of this: your online booking system needs to work for you.
There are countless options available that all have their pros and cons. If you need a hand navigating these options, get in touch with our team – integrating solutions that work for your business is something we love to do.