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Online Appointment Booking?

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Mike Turner

New Member
As you know, I am a mechanic, and at the moment I am thinking about how I can make things easier. One thing that I had thought was that perhaps I could start an online booking system, where clients could book online before bringing the car in. People would obviously still be able to book over the phone, and for those people I would book them into the online system myself so that everyone could see which appointments were still available.

Do you think this system would work, or do you think people would abuse it? Should I ask for a deposit when people book, or would that stop people from wanting to book with me in the first place?
 
saltire

saltire

New Member
Hi Mike,

Your question piqued my interest as I've just done this with my local garage. I booked my MOT online by filling in a simple form and then got a confirmation email that had a link that saved the date to my Google calendar.

I'm not so sure about paying upfront but I was given a discount for booking online and to be honest if they'd asked me to pay at that point I probably would have as the saving was around about 50%!

I think anything that makes it easier for a customer to do business with you is always something you should consider.
 
caxyxn

caxyxn

New Member
Hi Mike,

Mark has made some very valid points.
Using an online booking system surely makes it easier for all parties.
Regarding charging a deposit I guess the deciding factor should be whether or not you already do this.
If you currently charge your customers in advance then it shouldn't be a problem shifting this model online.
If it's something new you wish to introduce it might be worthwhile doing some market research/competitor analysis to that effect.
Most importantly, think of your customers - what would be practical for them?
I could assist you with the market research & also developing a survey to this effect if you like - just PM me.
Best wishes,
Osa
 
M

Mike Turner

New Member
Thanks guys. I don't ask for an upfront deposit at the moment, I just worry about people booking appointments and then not bothering to turn up. Perhaps only people who have used us in the past should be able to use this service? That would mean that we would at least be a little familiar with them so a certain level of trust would be there?
 
Scottish Business Owner

Scottish Business Owner

New Member
I came across a system called booking bug which looks perfect for what you need >>> http://uk.bookingbug.com/business?id=enquiry-booking-for-services-and-trades

I have to agree with the others if it's adding value to your customer then I would be considering it.

It doesn't ven have to fe a fully blown system either. Maybe even just a simple form with some basic details that then allows you to call the customer back and get everything sorted that way.

There must be hige nefits though to gathering this data as you then know when people's MOT's etc are so you can then systemise a process going forward to keep in touch with people.

I get emails from my garage every month or so and guaranteed I will always have a little nose through it. On two occassions I've actually taken them up on special offers they promoted via their newsletter. That's business they would never had otherwise so it works!

Regarding the deposit I would probably pay it up front if it was discounted in some way as I appreciate not showing up will cause you an issue so if I need to invest a little then I probably would :)
 
M

Mike Turner

New Member
I came across a system called booking bug which looks perfect for what you need >>> http://uk.bookingbug.com/business?id=enquiry-booking-for-services-and-trades

I have to agree with the others if it's adding value to your customer then I would be considering it.

It doesn't ven have to fe a fully blown system either. Maybe even just a simple form with some basic details that then allows you to call the customer back and get everything sorted that way.

There must be hige nefits though to gathering this data as you then know when people's MOT's etc are so you can then systemise a process going forward to keep in touch with people.

I get emails from my garage every month or so and guaranteed I will always have a little nose through it. On two occassions I've actually taken them up on special offers they promoted via their newsletter. That's business they would never had otherwise so it works!

Regarding the deposit I would probably pay it up front if it was discounted in some way as I appreciate not showing up will cause you an issue so if I need to invest a little then I probably would :)
Thank you for this, I'll have a good look now but you're right it looks like just what I'm after. The cost thing is what I'm more worried about at the moment to be honest but I guess all I can do is give it a go. I could do a discount for upfront payment, or give something free like a valet (which we don't always do by default at our place).
 
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Leah Hutcheon

Leah Hutcheon

Want to take online bookings? appointedd.com
Thanks so much for the recommendation Jennie!

Hi Mike - great to 'meet' you :) I would love you to try out Appointedd - we're a Scottish startup trying to revolutionise online booking for small businesses. Not only do we offer online booking but we also have lots of fab business management tools that can help you succeed - everything from financial and productivity reports to automated email and text message marketing campaigns.

Do you have a website currently? We have a few ways we can empower you to take online bookings - either from your own site, your Facebook page or from a free hosted microsite like this: https://team.appointedd.com/ (this is our microsite so if you'd rather chat with me on the phone, feel free to book a slot with me on this!).

Re the payment side of things, we don't actually enable payments on our system, although this is something that we will be introducing very soon. We have lots of customers who use the system all the time for their bookings and 'no shows' are reduced by around 30% as we give the customers confirmation emails or text messages and can even set up reminders. We were worried about whether we would see a lot of no shows, but it really hasn't been a problem - I think people are so used to booking things online these days (everything from holidays to takeaways etc!) that it's just not an issue. That said, we will be introducing the option to do this within the next month.

If you'd like to try us out, you can sign up for a 30 day free trial here: http://appointedd.com/free-demo/ and I'd be delighted to have a chat with you if you'd rather. We're based in Edinburgh so we could even pop out and see you if you're local!

V best, Leah
 
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Mike Turner

New Member
Hi thanks very much. We don't have a website, but we're working on it. We found that so many people just called us from seeing us on the street that we've sort of fallen behind slightly with online stuff, but that's what we're trying to work on at the moment. I will be in touch hopefully when we're at the stage where we're ready to put things into action. I'll take a look at your website & compare it with the other one to see which best suits our needs. Thank you!
 
Leah Hutcheon

Leah Hutcheon

Want to take online bookings? appointedd.com
No worries at all Mike,

I'm delighted to help. With regards to your website, you would get a free one page site with our system where your customers can book and review you, and it will have all your info (services, price list, address, map, description and images),so it's a great start without having to project manage a website build! They're not all as girly as the one I linked to before ;-) - we have a more masculine theme here: https://engage.appointedd.com/. That package would have you up and running free for a month and would be £10 a month thereafter.

Any questions, just let me know! Have a fab day.

V best, Leah
 
Gemma Rowlands

Gemma Rowlands

New Member
This is how my old driving instructor used to allow students to book appointments with her, and it worked well. And it stopped her having to sort it out herself as well!

But we did pay for 10 lessons upfront, and if we didn't attend one we had booked without giving her 24hrs notice she would charge us, which was fair enough, because it is her business.
 
Leah Hutcheon

Leah Hutcheon

Want to take online bookings? appointedd.com
Thanks Gemma - glad to hear it worked for her and simplified her life! Online booking is fab for just freeing up time and keeping everything up to date, in one place. I'd LOVE to get some driving instructor clients! We are just about to publish our new mobile app so soon we'll be even better placed to help them while they're on the go!
 
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Lauren Turner

New Member
I would genuinely worry about people not turning up to the appointments that they'd booked. Because it's so easy to book one online they might do it, thinking that they can then decide whether to take it or not - and then forget to unbook it when they decide not to. So yes, you do have to be very careful indeed.
 
Leah Hutcheon

Leah Hutcheon

Want to take online bookings? appointedd.com
I totally understand your reticence Lauren - it is definitely something that comes up quite a lot and is why we are working hard on implementing the ability to pay for services online. I'll pop back here once we have that in place and let you know. Otherwise, if you wanted to, you could always implement practice where you get in touch with people who have booked online and take a deposit from them via Paypal or over the phone? Happy to bounce around some ideas if you'd like - we're always open to understanding our customers' (and potential customers'!) problems so that we can better solve them. Our office is 0131 5570857 or happy to chat here! Lx
 
Gemma Rowlands

Gemma Rowlands

New Member
Thanks Gemma - glad to hear it worked for her and simplified her life! Online booking is fab for just freeing up time and keeping everything up to date, in one place. I'd LOVE to get some driving instructor clients! We are just about to publish our new mobile app so soon we'll be even better placed to help them while they're on the go!
Well why don't you have a look at some driving instructor companies online and get in touch with them suggesting your software? You might as well give it a go, really. The worst that they can do is say no to you, and you'll only have wasted the time that it took to send the email, which is nothing in the grand scheme of things.
 
Leah Hutcheon

Leah Hutcheon

Want to take online bookings? appointedd.com
You are totally right Gemma! We have been engaging with all types of businesses on Facebook but we've not really reached out to any driving schools etc directly. Will definitely have a call around some next week and let you know how it goes!

Have a fab weekend and thanks xx
 
Gemma Rowlands

Gemma Rowlands

New Member
You are totally right Gemma! We have been engaging with all types of businesses on Facebook but we've not really reached out to any driving schools etc directly. Will definitely have a call around some next week and let you know how it goes!

Have a fab weekend and thanks xx
A lot of places like driving schools etc may know that it makes sense to use something like this, but they won't have ever thought much more into it because of the effort it takes. So making it easier for them by physically approaching them is something that might work well for you. Let me know how it goes, I hope you get some business from it!
 
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Mike Turner

New Member
Thanks for your help with this. We have decided actually not to go for it because we were simply too worried about what would happen if appointments were missed as we would be sitting with nothing to do then. But I am glad that I asked because it has given other people ideas and information for their own uses.
 
Gemma Rowlands

Gemma Rowlands

New Member
Thanks for your help with this. We have decided actually not to go for it because we were simply too worried about what would happen if appointments were missed as we would be sitting with nothing to do then. But I am glad that I asked because it has given other people ideas and information for their own uses.
That's the only issue with you being a small business. We have had a few similar issues of late with clients asking us to keep certain dates or times free, saying that they're going to use us for work, only to cancel at the last minute when it's too late for us to find anything else that we could do with our time.
 
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Pete Brindle

New Member
We tried this with our lesson appointment booking, and it didn't work well at all to be honest with you. We just had people failing to turn up all of the time, and our teachers were left bored and not earning. So we make sure things are a bit more formal, and the next lesson is booked in person now. We find it much better for us, but I do understand that there will be other people in other professions who it would suit a lot more.
 
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