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Appointment Scheduling Software

Appointment Scheduling software allows businesses to streamline the process of booking appointments and scheduling meetings with clients. Software for scheduling appointments promotes efficiency by eliminating double bookings and automating the scheduling of recurring appointments. In addition, appointment software allows employees to have real-time access to their and their colleagues' schedules, make changes to the system directly from the scheduling interface, and provide clients with the most suitable appointment options. Appointment Scheduling software often includes reminder tools that help ensure timely attendance of scheduled meetings and appointments. Appointment Scheduling software is related to Employee Scheduling Software, Medical Scheduling software, and Reservations software. Compare product reviews and features to help find the best Appointment Scheduling Software for your business in the UK.

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Boost your business with Vagaro's appointment booking software! Join the 220,000+ global professionals using Vagaro. Start your 30-day free trial today. Learn more about Vagaro
Vagaro is an all-in-one appointment scheduling software to help grow & manage your business. Trusted by over 220,000 professionals. Manage your appointments, find new clients & view reports to make data driven decisions. Reduce no-shows with automated reminders & deposits. Manage your business from anywhere with our app. Get booked on the FREE Vagaro Marketplace and keep all your profits. Claim your free 1 month trial today! Learn more about Vagaro

Features

  • Client Database
  • Mobile Access
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Calendar Sync
  • Group Scheduling
  • Online Payments
  • Recurring Appointments
  • Reminders
  • Billing & Invoicing
  • Appointment Management
From online booking & appointment reminders to lead generation, client retention & schedule management, we have it all! Learn more about WellnessLiving
WellnessLiving’s all-in-one appointment scheduling software equips you with the tools, support, & resources needed to manage & grow your business. Offering flexible business settings and dynamic tools like online booking, appointment reminders, rewards, website widgets, advanced reporting, mobile apps, and client & staff management, all on one convenient platform, to streamline business operations. It’s the only software you need to attract, convert, & retain more clients. Learn more about WellnessLiving

Features

  • Client Database
  • Mobile Access
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Calendar Sync
  • Group Scheduling
  • Online Payments
  • Recurring Appointments
  • Reminders
  • Billing & Invoicing
  • Appointment Management
The easiest way for businesses to accept and schedule appointments online. Clients book directly via web, Facebook, email or SMS. Learn more about Schedulista
The easiest way to accept appointments online. Clients book directly from your website, Facebook page, or from a link in email / SMS. You get a beautiful booking page that you can customize to match your website or your personal brand. Features include calendar sync, embed scheduler right in your website, unlimited SMS, charge for no-shows, payments, classes, Mailchimp integration, and friendly support! Learn more about Schedulista

Features

  • Client Database
  • Mobile Access
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Calendar Sync
  • Group Scheduling
  • Online Payments
  • Recurring Appointments
  • Reminders
  • Billing & Invoicing
  • Appointment Management
Timum is an appointment scheduling solution that allows businesses to manage their appointments automatically. Learn more about Timum
timum is an SaaS solution for automated bookings and appointment coordination. The software aims to optimize appointment management to achieve greater efficiency. timum is used in the real estate industry and offers various functions, such as automatic email reminders, online appointment booking, and a configurable calendar. The latter forms the core element and offers one overview for all-in-one resource management. Learn more about Timum

Features

  • Client Database
  • Mobile Access
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Calendar Sync
  • Group Scheduling
  • Online Payments
  • Recurring Appointments
  • Reminders
  • Billing & Invoicing
  • Appointment Management
Mailchimp is the #1 email marketing and automations brand that recommends ways to get more opens, clicks, and sales.
Mailchimp is the #1 Email Marketing and Automations brand for growing businesses. We empower businesses around the world to launch, build, and grow their businesses with world-class marketing technology, award-winning customer support, inspiring content & our data-driven recommendations Over 12 Million businesses including TEDTalks, Shutterstock, Boston Market, Nikon India trust Mailchimp to turn their emails into revenue, grow their audience, & create effective multichannel marketing campaigns Learn more about Mailchimp

Features

  • Client Database
  • Mobile Access
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Calendar Sync
  • Group Scheduling
  • Online Payments
  • Recurring Appointments
  • Reminders
  • Billing & Invoicing
  • Appointment Management
Zoom Meetings are easy, reliable, and secure, providing HD video, audio, and content sharing across a multitude of systems.
Zoom Meetings are easy, reliable, and secure, providing HD video, audio, and content sharing across everything from your mobile and desktop devices to telephones and conference room systems. Special features include cloud and local recording with transcripts and multi-user annotation capabilities via screen share. Easy access with one click, chat across platforms and share files all with encrypted, compliant settings for extra security. Learn more about Zoom

Features

  • Client Database
  • Mobile Access
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Calendar Sync
  • Group Scheduling
  • Online Payments
  • Recurring Appointments
  • Reminders
  • Billing & Invoicing
  • Appointment Management
Wix Bookings makes selling services and managing your bookings simple with an all-in-one scheduling solution for your business.
Get booked and drive more revenue with Wix Bookings, the leading online scheduling solution from Wix- trusted by 11 million+ businesses. Sell services, memberships, packages and more. This all-in-one business management platform includes essentials like an intelligent booking calendar, automated emails & SMS messages, staff management systems, custom analytics, a full marketing suite and more. Manage it all from your desktop or on the go with the Wix mobile apps. Learn more about Wix

Features

  • Client Database
  • Mobile Access
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Calendar Sync
  • Group Scheduling
  • Online Payments
  • Recurring Appointments
  • Reminders
  • Billing & Invoicing
  • Appointment Management
Self-service appointment scheduling with the world's friendliest scheduling tool, so you can save time for the rest of your to-do list.
Meet the personal scheduling assistant that works 24/7 behind the scenes to fill your calendar & take busywork off your plate. From the moment clients book with you, Acuity is there to automatically send branded & customized booking confirmations to you and your clients, deliver text reminders, let clients reschedule on their own, and process payments or accept donations. With Acuity, your day-to-day runs more smoothly even as business get busier. All you need to do is show up at the right time. Learn more about Acuity Scheduling

Features

  • Client Database
  • Mobile Access
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Calendar Sync
  • Group Scheduling
  • Online Payments
  • Recurring Appointments
  • Reminders
  • Billing & Invoicing
  • Appointment Management
Calendly is the #1 scheduling automation tool, helping teams simplify scheduling, close deals, hire candidates, & connect with clients.
Calendly is much more than a scheduling link - it's the world's #1 scheduling automation platform. More than 20 million people and 100k companies around the world use Calendly to simplify scheduling, close deals, hire candidates, and connect with clients. Calendly powers scheduling for over 4 out of 5 Fortune 500 companies, featuring team scheduling, automations, admin controls, and enterprise-grade security and compliance. Integrations with Zoom, Salesforce, Google, Microsoft, Slack, & more. Learn more about Calendly

Features

  • Client Database
  • Mobile Access
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Calendar Sync
  • Group Scheduling
  • Online Payments
  • Recurring Appointments
  • Reminders
  • Billing & Invoicing
  • Appointment Management
United Kingdom Local product
Online Personal Training software enabling PTs to create and track their client's training and nutrition plans. Free 30 Day Trial.
My PT Hub is an all-in-one software for personal trainers, coaches, gym owners, and nutritionists to manage their clients by creating customizable training and nutrition programs while tracking their progress and achievements. Get started with our Free 30-Day Trial. NEW Marketing Features: - Accelerate your business with Google Ads, all from within your My PT Hub account - Showcase your business with MySite, your own virtual storefront Learn more about My PT Hub

Features

  • Client Database
  • Mobile Access
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Calendar Sync
  • Group Scheduling
  • Online Payments
  • Recurring Appointments
  • Reminders
  • Billing & Invoicing
  • Appointment Management
Simplify appointment scheduling, automate reminders, and streamline your business management with Mindbody scheduling software.
Mindbody’s all-in-one software has everything you need to seamlessly manage your business end-to-end and grow your revenue. From booking and scheduling to client and staff management, automated marketing and in-depth reporting to integrated payments and lead management, Mindbody helps you thrive. Plus, Mindbody offers innovation you can’t get elsewhere, including an AI front desk, as well as 700+ partner solutions, open API, and an exclusive network of new clients. Learn more about Mindbody

Features

  • Client Database
  • Mobile Access
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Calendar Sync
  • Group Scheduling
  • Online Payments
  • Recurring Appointments
  • Reminders
  • Billing & Invoicing
  • Appointment Management
Housecall Pro is a top-rated business solution for home service professionals to streamline scheduling, dispatching, payments, & more.
Call today to start your free trial: 866-405-0752. Easily Schedule Jobs, Assign Team Members, and Set Arrival Windows in only a few clicks. Housecall Pro is an all-in-one Field Service management app that helps automate business processes and workflows. Trusted by over 30,000 home service companies. Learn more about Housecall Pro

Features

  • Client Database
  • Mobile Access
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Calendar Sync
  • Group Scheduling
  • Online Payments
  • Recurring Appointments
  • Reminders
  • Billing & Invoicing
  • Appointment Management
SimplePractice is a HIPAA compliant practice management software. Join 178,000+ thriving health & wellness professionals.
SimplePractice is a top-rated EHR software and all-in-one practice management solution trusted by more than 185,000 health and wellness providers. While using this practice management software, practitioners are able to access everything they need from appointment scheduling, billing, and payments to HIPAA-compliant Telehealth, insurance claim filing, and more. Sign up for a free, 30-day trial today to try it out for yourself. Learn more about SimplePractice

Features

  • Client Database
  • Mobile Access
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Calendar Sync
  • Group Scheduling
  • Online Payments
  • Recurring Appointments
  • Reminders
  • Billing & Invoicing
  • Appointment Management
Brevo, is the leading customer relationship management (CRM) suite.
Forge lasting customer relationships and accelerate growth with Brevo, the most approachable CRM suite. Build brilliant customer experiences across email, SMS, push, and more. Coalesce data sources for precise targeting and a single customer view. Automate, segment, and A/B test for campaigns tailored to your audience. Trusted by 500,000+ businesses worldwide, Brevo offers premium solutions and support to enhance clients’ marketing strategies and drive their ROI. Get in touch to learn more. Learn more about Brevo

Features

  • Client Database
  • Mobile Access
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Calendar Sync
  • Group Scheduling
  • Online Payments
  • Recurring Appointments
  • Reminders
  • Billing & Invoicing
  • Appointment Management
Doodle enables busy professionals to focus on their real work by making time-consuming tasks, like scheduling meetings, quick and easy.
Doodle enables busy professionals to focus on their real work by making time-consuming tasks like scheduling and organizing meetings fast and easy. The worlds leader in online scheduling, doodle.com is used by over 30 million people each month. Doodle AG is headquartered in Zurich. Learn more about Doodle

Features

  • Client Database
  • Mobile Access
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Calendar Sync
  • Group Scheduling
  • Online Payments
  • Recurring Appointments
  • Reminders
  • Billing & Invoicing
  • Appointment Management
Resource management for agencies, studios, & firms across industries to plan projects, schedule resources, and manage their team’s time
Float is the resource management software that keeps teams of 5 to 500+ in sync. Schedule tasks quickly with a real-time view of availability, including time off and public holidays. See your team’s capacity and utilization at a glance to optimize assigned work. Connect with project management, calendar, and communication workflows via direct integrations. Keep project plans up to date with easy bulk edits. Scale up compliance with approval workflows and access permissions. Try for free (no credit card). Learn more about Float

Features

  • Client Database
  • Mobile Access
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Calendar Sync
  • Group Scheduling
  • Online Payments
  • Recurring Appointments
  • Reminders
  • Billing & Invoicing
  • Appointment Management
United Kingdom Local product
The world's best online booking software for the beauty and wellness industry. Unlimited possibilities, subscription-free.
Fresha is the only subscription-free appointment booking software for beauty and wellness. Everyone gets unlimited bookings, locations, team members and notifications. Boost your sales and attract new clients by accepting online bookings directly through Google search, your Facebook and Instagram pages, and your website. Clients are easily kept up to date via automated texts, emails and the mobile app. Fresha has zero monthly fees with optional paid features, including card payment processing. Learn more about Fresha

Features

  • Client Database
  • Mobile Access
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Calendar Sync
  • Group Scheduling
  • Online Payments
  • Recurring Appointments
  • Reminders
  • Billing & Invoicing
  • Appointment Management
The smarter way for small businesses to do great work Keap organizes your client information & daily work in one place, freeing you up
Grow your business with the all-in-one CRM, sales & marketing software for serious business owners. Our platform organizes your customer information and daily work in one place, freeing you up from repetitive tasks so you have more time to focus on growing your business. Learn more about Keap

Features

  • Client Database
  • Mobile Access
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Calendar Sync
  • Group Scheduling
  • Online Payments
  • Recurring Appointments
  • Reminders
  • Billing & Invoicing
  • Appointment Management
Online Booking System with reminders for all service companies! Let your clients book themselves online - Includes free version.
SimplyBook.me offers the most extensive booking system on the market, that makes you look professional and solves all your online needs. You get a full blown booking website, or a widget for your own website, where you can present your business and accept appointments, sell products, membership, packs, gift cards and service add-ons. A great variety of marketing tools available as well as an Admin app and a branded Client app. An extensive Enterprise Solution available with HQ management. Learn more about SimplyBook.me

Features

  • Client Database
  • Mobile Access
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Calendar Sync
  • Group Scheduling
  • Online Payments
  • Recurring Appointments
  • Reminders
  • Billing & Invoicing
  • Appointment Management
Powerful online ticketing and booking solutions for tour, activity, attraction, and event businesses of all sizes.
Our mission at FareHarbor is to make experiences better for everyone. FareHarbor's clients come in all shapes and sizes, from boat rentals to museums, food tours to events, and more! Some love our robust and intuitive software, while others enjoy the world-class 24/7 support they receive. Every day we have the privilege of empowering over 18,000 clients (across 90+ countries) to operate and grow their businesses. We’re the largest in our industry and shaping the future of travel, together. Learn more about FareHarbor

Features

  • Client Database
  • Mobile Access
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Calendar Sync
  • Group Scheduling
  • Online Payments
  • Recurring Appointments
  • Reminders
  • Billing & Invoicing
  • Appointment Management
Everything you need to manage and grow your brand from a fully-integrated singular platform. You can¿t be great without integrate!
Enjoy the fruits of a busy schedule . When it comes to business, time is money. Scheduling allows you to maximize your time and revenue by giving you full control over your schedule, staff, services and more. Create your free account today to learn more and explore plans and pricing. Learn more about Marketing 360

Features

  • Client Database
  • Mobile Access
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Calendar Sync
  • Group Scheduling
  • Online Payments
  • Recurring Appointments
  • Reminders
  • Billing & Invoicing
  • Appointment Management
Cloud-based online booking, scheduling, point of sale and marketing software - everything you need to run your spa or salon better.
35% of customers seek to book appointments after normal business hours - are they able to book with you? Make appointment scheduling easy for you and your customers with Booker's online booking & all-in-one spa and salon management software. Our platform features appointment & staff scheduling, point of sale, marketing & customer retention tools. Take a free demo & join over 128,000 professionals who save time and effort as they grow and run their business with Booker. Learn more about Booker

Features

  • Client Database
  • Mobile Access
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Calendar Sync
  • Group Scheduling
  • Online Payments
  • Recurring Appointments
  • Reminders
  • Billing & Invoicing
  • Appointment Management
Setmore offers a free, online scheduling platform for you to connect with your customers.
Setmore offers a free, online scheduling platform for you to connect with your customers. Manage all your appointments through one simple, sleek calendar system and give your business the freedom to grow. Bring on more customers and sharpen your brand image, while taking charge of your working hours. By listing your availability online, your customers can self-book their desired services. Focus on providing an excellent customer experience and let Setmore handle the paperwork. Learn more about Setmore

Features

  • Client Database
  • Mobile Access
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Calendar Sync
  • Group Scheduling
  • Online Payments
  • Recurring Appointments
  • Reminders
  • Billing & Invoicing
  • Appointment Management
Easily schedule appointments, accept online bookings, send reminder messages, take payments with your phone, and view business reports.
Goldie (formerly Appointfix) is the best appointment scheduling app to manage and grow your business. Easily schedule appointments, send automatic appointment reminders, get a free stunning online booking website, take deposits and process payments with just your phone, view business reports, send marketing messages, keep client notes and appointment history, etc. Goldie syncs with your Google & Apple calendars, keeping all your schedule in one app. Light & Dark versions are available. Learn more about Goldie

Features

  • Client Database
  • Mobile Access
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Calendar Sync
  • Group Scheduling
  • Online Payments
  • Recurring Appointments
  • Reminders
  • Billing & Invoicing
  • Appointment Management
Verizon Connect's fleet management software for small to medium-sized businesses with fleet sizes of 5 or more vehicles.
Verizon Connect provides business customers with the insights and intelligence needed to optimize their operations and drive growth. Through a cloud-based, end-to-end solution, Verizon Connect accurately measures a user's fleet's performance, uncovers hidden costs and opportunities for improved efficiency, while empowering them to better manage service with real-time alerts and reports. Learn more about Verizon Connect

Features

  • Client Database
  • Mobile Access
  • Automated Scheduling
  • Calendar Sync
  • Group Scheduling
  • Online Payments
  • Recurring Appointments
  • Reminders
  • Billing & Invoicing
  • Appointment Management

Appointment Scheduling Software Buyers Guide

Appointment scheduling software is any programming application that enables users to book appointments or schedule meetings with clients, colleagues, contractors, or businesses. This specialised application type can streamline tasks conventionally carried out by personal assistants, secretaries, and receptionists in a business setting. It also empowers users to take the initiative and maintain full control of their virtual appointment diaries.

Scheduling systems are sought-after applications known for automating scheduling tasks, improving efficiencies, and promoting savings. As they enable end-users to gain access to their contacts' schedules, make real-time changes to their work diaries using a calendar-style scheduling interface, and opt for the best available options for them, appointment booking systems are also known for their user-oriented design, convenience, and transparency.

Often equipped with reminder tools, they can also be used to ensure timeliness, boost attendance rates, and promote the topics to be discussed at the meeting or appointment.

As explained in a Capterra blog article titled 5 Best Appointment Scheduling Software for Small Businesses, appointment systems simplify the booking process and reflect professionalism on the side of both the organiser and attendee. By eliminating the risk of double bookings, automating time-consuming tasks, replacing manual processes prone to error, and facilitating real-time visibility into the host's appointment diary, these tools empower users in every capacity, including clients, suppliers, partners, contractors, and patients.

The working principle of online scheduling software is very simple, as explained in Capterra's Top 4 Free Online Booking Systems article. It lets attendees make appointments through a website or app via a PC or mobile device through online ticketing systems and, occasionally, offline ticketing and payment processing technology. In this respect, it works much like online booking software, scheduling software, and calendaring software tools. As it tends to come with built-in alerts and notifications, it borrows some of the functionalities of an appointment reminder software program.

But while they are user-driven by design, they can also be tailored to specific industry verticals. So, in this regard, they have much to share with healthcare and wellness applications, such as medical scheduling software, spa software, and massage therapy software. Another field of business that embraces booking software is hairstyling, so it could be said that these types of applications have much in common with barbershop software and salon software. This cross-over makes it possible for businesses to choose between using a specialised tool or opting for a more comprehensive package that can cover a broader set of activities for providers like holiday resorts, wellness clinics, leisure centres, and beauty salons.

No two appointment booking software tools are exactly alike, but there are a few capabilities they all come with, regardless of their industry vertical. Whether they're used in a healthcare setting, a corporate environment, field servicing activities, or an event marketing campaign, any appointment scheduler should be able to perform, automate, and streamline these tasks, at the very least:

  • Centralise appointment management and employee/event scheduling
  • Sync calendars for attendees and hosts, including employees, clients, and contractors
  • Grant end-users access to the event calendar
  • Offer user-dependent and time-zone-friendly visibility into upcoming slot availability
  • Provide booking, re-scheduling, and payment options
  • Send reminders, RSVP requests, and event confirmation emails
  • Distribute pre-attendance forms, waivers, topic lists, and more

What is appointment scheduling software?

Appointment scheduling software is designed to streamline the booking process for businesses, field service providers, creatives, and wellness professionals. It helps their teams synchronise calendars, makes their availability known to clients, staff, or partners, and facilitates self-service bookings. With software like this, UK companies can minimise the risk of a no-show by connecting with users directly, sending pre-visit reminders, accommodating special requests, and granting real-time cancellations.

Appointment booking software replaces outdated business practices, like booking in person, over the phone, or via email through a receptionist, operator, or personal assistant. It solves some of the most troublesome aspects of manual appointment scheduling, such as overbooking, double-booking, and typos. Also, with real-time access to appointment diaries, users have complete control over the booking process without needing to share their personal time availability or credentials with a perfect stranger.

As a self-service tool, appointment management systems can come in the form of a browser platform, mobile app, in-app calendar, widget, or another integrated service. But whatever the type of program, its mainstay is the ability to centralise time availability, scheduling, and appointment management into a single, transparent, and accessible digital solution.

Online scheduling software lends itself well in a variety of business settings, including clinics, doctor's offices, salons, spas, gyms, estate agents, and home service businesses. But it can also be used in restaurants, car dealerships, field sales, financial institutions, and educational institutions that offer tours, such as universities and museums.

Scheduling systems are designed to serve a broad spectrum of industry sectors and be used by people who don't necessarily have advanced IT skills. These systems tend to offer an online portal for service providers to enter their business hours, service descriptions, and staff availability. On the other end of the process is a user portal that enables clients to create, change, or cancel their appointments without personally contacting the service provider. This feature removes the middleman, saves time and resources on both sides, reduces reliance on receptionists, lowers the risk of cancellation, and saves clients the trouble of calling to confirm appointments. It also empowers clients to single-handedly optimise their own schedules while staying within certain parameters.

Synchronising calendars enables businesses to view client appointments, staff availability, and holidays in advance from a single dashboard. Depending on the type of software, service providers may also be able to integrate their calendars with their social media profiles, promote them with embedded code on their websites, or share custom URLs with prospective visitors. The higher the level of complexity, the less likely companies are to create proprietary scheduling applications of their own. Instead, most rely on existing, reputable, and established booking software providers that can accommodate custom demand fluctuations, seasonality, and viral marketing results through ASP, SaaS, or cloud-based models.

What are the benefits of appointment scheduling software?

The benefits of appointment scheduling software are double, for both the host of the meeting and the attendees. As a dependable double-barreled application designed to benefit both businesses and clients, an appointment scheduling tool's most basic benefits are efficiency, cost savings, and high levels of autonomy. But if we wanted to go into specifics, we could say that some of the most compelling benefits of appointment scheduling applications are:

  • Better CX and CRR: Empowering clients to book their appointments at leisure and at the best available time for them means less frustration and more business. A self-service portal with guided support and tips via on-screen pop-ups, drop-down menus, pre-filled fields, and chatbots is an effective way to ensure customer satisfaction (CX) and maximise customer return rates (CRR).
  • More autonomy: Appointment scheduling software allows clients to not only book their appointments but also cancel, reschedule, or set up recurring meetings. This benefit essentially replaces first contact and any follow-up calls with receptionists.
  • Lower vacancy rates: Relying on a receptionist to pencil in bookings on a first-come-first-serve basis without sharing their dashboard with the caller is not ideal. It can lead to callers overbooking certain days, settling for their least favourite option, leaving unfulfilled slots, or missing out on slots that later become available after they hang up. Online booking software addresses all of these issues.
  • Fewer no-shows: Appointment booking tools can send automated reminders, RSVP requests, and alerts with the option to rebook by text or email. It helps reduce the risk of a no-show, which is extremely high in restaurants, doctor's clinics, and other settings where clients do not typically call to notify the business that they will not be attending. Fewer errors: While humans are pencilling in appointments for them, clients run the risk of being double-booked or not being booked in at all due to misunderstandings or human error. In the worst-case scenario, clients only find out once they have arrived for their appointment. Scheduling tools minimise the risk of needing to turn a client away.
  • Better staff scheduling: As the staff usually have access to their schedule and can make changes in real-time, scheduling or monitoring work hours is easier to manage. Managers can assign shifts, track attendance, capture daily activities, and prepare for peak times from a single dashboard with scheduling software.
  • Lighter workload: Freeing reception staff from the tedious task of appointment scheduling translates into a lighter workload for them. This leads to greater employee satisfaction and better use of their time and skill sets.
  • Multi-channel availability: The convenience of multi-channel booking is nothing to sneeze at. It is easy to see why it is best to offer several booking options, such as web portals and mobile apps or by phone, email, and online chat. They make it so that every client gets through without placing calls on hold, the line dropping, or encountering problems caused by lack of accessibility.

What are the features of appointment scheduling software?

The features of appointment scheduling software are limited by the user's imagination and their growth expectations for their industry sectors. But software developers are more imaginative and generous with the features they equip these tools with. If we were to get down to brass tacks, we could think of at least a few basic features of appointment scheduling software:

  • Online bookings: Users can book appointments on a self-service basis through online portals, on-site touchscreen kiosks, mobile apps, and other convenient channels. This feature can only add value if clients can see available slots in real-time and make their own decisions.
  • Automated scheduling: Check staff availability in real-time, display the information to users and automatically recommend and book slots. This feature also adds value, but only if there is the certainty that staff shifts, holidays, skills, work preferences, and requirements are up to date. For instance, a hairstylist may only be willing to work with specific types of hair, or a doctor's shift may overlap with external commitments that have not yet been factored in.
  • Recurring appointment scheduling: Users can schedule repeat appointments over a set period and with consideration to any exceptions. For instance, users should be able to schedule a dentist's appointment every few months but make allowance for the dentist's holiday or the time it takes for an implant to heal.
  • Rescheduling: Allow clients to reschedule their appointments hassle-free. It is often easier for a client to not show up for an appointment than to reschedule. An online scheduling tool can address this issue by automating the process with direct links to the calendar, in-app slot selection tools, text reminders to reschedule if unavailable, and black-list warnings for 'serial cancelers'.
  • Calendar integration: Incorporate the company’s appointment planner on the company website or booking app. Clients who prefer external, cloud-based options can choose between Google Calendar, iCal, and Outlook widgets and dashboards to be featured on their booking portal. This enables businesses to link the booking system to attendance and payroll management tools.
  • Calendar syncing: Enable staff to synchronise their calendars with that of the company and those of clients. This makes it possible for the calendar to incorporate accurate availability information and make real-time adjustments whenever they want to ask for time off, fill in for a coworker, or work overtime.
  • Appointment reminders: Admins can set automated reminders for both service providers and their clients in preparation for upcoming appointments, payments, or scheduling changes. Depending on the application, users may be able to receive emails, calls, texts, and in-app reminders or push notifications.
  • Queuing and waitlist management: Manage website traffic and appointment waiting lists. During peak times, service providers can offer built-in queuing systems on their websites or apps, informing clients of their estimated wait times before they can complete the booking. Waiting lists can also help clients secure their appointments if they are willing to wait.
  • Payment processing: Businesses can support payment processing for consultations, deposits, equipment, and add-on services. This enables businesses of any type, from glamping sites to medical facilities, to ensure that the clients benefit from transparency in terms of the costs of the services offered while also streamlining cash flows. Website integration: Insert custom URLs in newsletters and embed pop-ups on the mobile app to steer visitors straight to the scheduling calendar page. Integrated tools like Google Reserve can also connect users browsing nearby businesses on Google Maps with the provider's booking system.
  • Manual input: Offer the option for clients to secure their bookings manually either by themselves or with help from reception staff. Manual input enables clients to request follow-up visits from receptionists as they exit the premises. It can also allow them to place a booking independently using a self-service kiosk or a mobile device terminal located on-site.
  • Dynamic resource allocation: Enable the system to automate staff and resource allocation for field workers, home servicing engineers, and mobile teams. Through built-in algorithms, appointment booking systems can connect a client with the nearest, most qualified, or highest-rated member of staff within proximity, calculating arrival estimates, fees, and the length of the appointment automatically.

As the Capterra software directory will readily reveal, there are countless appointment scheduling systems to choose from. But it's only with thorough research, browning, filtering, and comparisons that readers will find the ideal online booking software for their business needs.

What should be considered when purchasing appointment scheduling software?

When purchasing appointment scheduling software, it's easy to be swayed by the look, feel, or price of a tool. But these shouldn't be the main considerations. After all, even some of the most expensive tools on the market may struggle to match the popularity of the top four free online booking systems. Instead, users should focus on the essentials. Here are three critical things to consider when purchasing appointment-scheduling software:

  • Does it come with features relevant to business needs? The business size, market and user base will determine a booking system's utility and relevance. Unlike individual users, who only care about being able to book and track their appointments easily, service providers care more about how easily they can schedule their staff and manage vast numbers of appointments. But for every business in the UK, the IT savviness of employees is a parameter unique to them. Employers must consider their workforce before retaining the services of a scheduling system to book, track, and manage appointments. Several factors, like multitasking abilities, workload, and corporate culture, all point to very specific needs that not all software can accommodate.
  • Is it best to opt for market-specific solutions? Most of the scheduling applications available on the market are intended for general use, making them ideal for companies with a diverse range of activities. This includes logistics companies, entertainment venues, hospitality businesses, and wellness clinics. However, certain fields of practice, such as healthcare, property management, car rental, and plumbing services, need specific data input from customers during the booking process, including NHS numbers, appliance serial codes, waivers, and accessibility needs declarations. Where possible, market-specific scheduling features should come before generic features.
  • Does the scheduling system promote transparency? Calendar syncing, website integration, and sharing functions aren't useful if the scheduling application overlooks details important to clients. For instance, if a pet groomer fails to mention the species or breed of pet that they specialise in, or a veterinary clinic omits certain fees or qualifications while including services they don't offer, then the booking system is inherently flawed due to lack of transparency and accuracy. Being able to input the languages businesses can accommodate, the types of services they offer, and the catchment area so that the information is visible and accessible even on small screens is a basic requirement of a good online booking system.

Some of the most relevant appointment scheduling software trends emerging today are easier to embrace than others. But all businesses must adapt to the growing shift in consumer expectations, privacy concerns, and unstoppable automation. Even the tools deemed in Capterra's 5 Best Appointment Scheduling Software for Small Businesses article may struggle to match some of today's top releases, in terms of capabilities and how they approach social responsibility. Here are some of the most prevalent appointment scheduling software trends:

  • Chatbot scheduling took off: Chatbots are part and parcel of many customer-facing operations and are gaining ground. Whether they are built into web pages, messaging apps, browsers, or proprietary booking apps, text and voice-enabled chatbots are taking over from humans and reinventing the online booking process. However, unless developers consider accessibility features, these tools can put people with impairments at a disadvantage.
  • Mobile readiness is crucial: As people spend more of their time on their smartphones or tablets than they do on PCs, they are more likely to book their appointments on a mobile device. This makes mobile readiness imperative for developers. Service providers who sign on with specific developers may face the challenge of not being able to reach as many clients as they would like if their apps are not compatible with certain devices. Also, even with universal device compatibility, scheduling applications can still disappoint clients by not rendering well on certain screens, not working well with screen readers, not displaying magnified content properly, etc.
  • Multi-channel scheduling is gaining traction: Being able to schedule appointments from readily available devices is faster, cheaper, and more satisfactory to clients. This raises the chance of clients accessing the booking system and completing their booking. Making it easy to schedule an appointment is an indicator of a great customer experience and a sign that clients will return if given the opportunity.