What was the last thing you heard that was too good to be true?
Big promises leave a lot of room for doubt and doubt can be scarier than a 14 story waterslide at a Brazilian amusement park (or at least as scary).
When you have doubt about a promise, the human thing to do is fill in why the promises couldn’t possibly be delivered upon.
…Lose 15 pounds in 30 days (mind says: the only way to lose that much weight is to go comatose and not need solid food for a month).
…Take this course to learn how you can make an extra $1000 a month (mind says: probably some mid level marketing scam that will rob me blind)
…Get a Macbook Pro for $80 (mind says: probably one of those penny auction sites that I’ll never win on or spend too much placing bets)
It’s natural to be hesitant. Who likes the feeling that someone has pulled one over on you?
With online schedulers, it’s no different. People hesitate for all kinds of legitimate reasons and don’t want to spend time or money setting something up that doesn’t match the unique needs of their business.
Today’s post is a mythbusters session of the 5 most common misconceptions people have when it comes to investing in a web scheduler. All of these misconceptions bring up really relevant points for what you need to look for in an online appointment setter.
Misconception #1: “My web scheduler will be too complicated for my clients”
Many businesses and professionals that consider moving to online scheduling worry that their clients will have a hard time switching to this new method. Maybe your clients are “old school” and like being able to pick up the phone. Maybe your clients aren’t super tech-savvy and have trouble figuring out opening their emails, let alone making an appointment. Or maybe your clients are high maintenance and feel like you have to do everything for them.
I totally sympathize with the fear that something will be too confusing for the people who are keeping your business going. Trust me, I do. TimeTap’s scheduling system, however, will actually make booking an appointment with you even easier than picking up the phone or sending you an email.
Here’s why: When your clients go to your website and click the link to “Book an Appointment”, they’ll see a net scheduler that walks them step by step through the appointment booking process. There’s not a hundred different buttons to press and 1,000s of options to confuse them. The scheduler is streamlined to make booking an appointment with you 100% fault proof.
Misconception #2: “An online scheduler won’t work for my clients in different timezones than I’m in”
You’re kind of right – many web scheduling systems don’t adjust for clients across timezones or account for the countries that do abide by daylight savings rules versus ones that don’t. With the most modern & up-to-date online appointment setters, however, this worry is a thing of the past.
The scheduler you place on your site will auto-detect the timezone that your clients are in so that appointment times are displayed in whatever timezones makes the most sense. All the email communication about the appointment will then send to you (the service provider) in your timezone and to your clients in their respective timezones.
Here’s how: With TimeTap, your business is set to a timezone which determines what setting you (the service provider) want to see appointments in. Then, every client that comes to make an appointment with you has an individual timezone setting. You can lock this down so that all clients are assigned to the same timezone as you, if you want to, or you can open it up so that they can control what time they want to see their appointment in.
The best part? If any of your clients end up moving, you can adjust their timezone so that all future appointments are communicated appropriately.
Misconception #3: “I’ll can only use my scheduler for part of the month until I hit my appointment limit”
Also partially true. Many online schedulers do cap you at a certain number of appointments per month then charge you out the wooha when you go over. Make sure to find a scheduler that allows for unlimited appointments per month. You won’t want to be checking every day to see how many more appointments you have left before you are either forced to upgrade or forced to tell clients they now have to call you to book appointments.
Choose a scheduler that is feature rich instead of barrier rich. A great net scheduler will not use appointment or client caps to try and incentivize you to subscribe to their services. Any service that you subscribe to should add value beyond what you’re able to do for yourself. If an online scheduling system places appointment caps on you to try and get you to upgrade, chances are that taking appointments is about the only pain it’s alleviating.
Here’s the difference: With a scheduler that is feature rich and barrier poor, you’ll see reason to upgrade in the difference the product can make in your life that you would be unable to do for yourself. Anyone can answer emails or the phone to make appointments so a net scheduler has to go beyond that. It needs to provide benefits that will help to grow your business and establish stronger relationships with your clients.
Misconception #4: “I’ve got really weird hours that an online appointment setter probably won’t adapt to”
You’re schedule is unique, just like everyone else’s. The idea of the standard 8 to 5 work day for service providers is long gone (and no one really misses it).
You may be open on Mondays, Wednesday, & Fridays in the morning in one location & the afternoon in another location. Or you may be open every other week in one location and the alternating weeks you visit client’s homes. People do some crazy things with their schedules (we get curve balls thrown at us every week).
So no doubt, you probably do have really strange hours that may not be attractive or even understandable to anyone but yourself. The nice thing is with a flexible web scheduler they don’t need to conform to anyone else’s version of “normal”. You can go ahead and be as all over the board as you want and all that will be communicated to your clients as they’re booking is a nice summary of your open timeslots.
Why it matters: As more and more of your clients book online with you, a great web scheduler will be able to analyze your booking patterns and tell you when it makes the most sense to be open at any given location you work out of. With a web scheduler that allows you to be open at any time for appointments, you can create higher demand for the times you know are the most coveted and increase the value of your time.
Misconception #5: “A web scheduler will cost me more money than the time I end up saving”
This is generally untrue for all net schedulers, but particularly untrue if you’ve found a powerful & free web scheduler. If you’ve accepted the time it takes to return missed calls as just a cost of doing business, then you may not have thought about the direct effect a web scheduler’s productivity will have to your bottom line.
When things take up a seemingly insignificant portion of our day, we tend to overlook them for what they really are: time wasters. The little bits of time that missed calls and emails take eventually add up to be as substantial as the time we waste sitting in traffic every year. The difference is that at least when we’re in traffic we can listen to a book on tape, a TED talk, catch up with our family, or do something that makes the time worthwhile.
With missed calls & emails, if you can automate them you probably should because the opportunity cost just isn’t worth it. If you have to return a missed call to secure an appointment that the client could have just made online, then a web scheduler could have circumnavigated the time it took out of your day from the get-go.
How it adds up: As mentioned above, by choosing a net scheduler that doesn’t cap your appointments per month, you’re guaranteeing that if at any point you do have to pay for a web scheduler it is because it has features that directly benefit your business. That being said, with a free online scheduling system you really have no risk that it is going to cost more money than if you had just used your phone number to schedule appointments. The time it takes to set it up is minimal and the benefits are ongoing.
Turning these misconceptions on their head we start to see how the features of a web scheduler ultimately save you time. Whether it is an investment worth making for your business is something you have to weigh the cost of your time against.
Is it worth it to spend the time you do returning missed calls? Is it worth it to be unavailable for clients when they’re ready to make appointments? Ask yourself these questions. You may just find out that yes, it is worth it and you like running things the way you’ve been running them. Just don’t say you didn’t know better when one of your clients remarks “I wish you had a web scheduler so I could have just made my appointment online!”
You’ve been warned.
If you discover it isn’t worth it, then give online scheduling a try: