If you answered “yes” to either of those questions, you may need appointment scheduling software.
Sure, you could hire someone to keep your appointments straight. For some freelancers hiring someone is the right solution, but for many freelancers hiring someone to set appointments is just too costly.
An alternative solution to the problem of keeping up with your schedule is to use appointment scheduling software instead. In this post, I’ll explain what appointment scheduling software is and list twelve software options for freelancers.
What Is Appointment Scheduling Software?
At its most basic, appointment scheduling software lets you record and track your appointments with clients and colleagues. The most recent generation of appointment scheduling software goes one step further, it allows your clients to schedule their own appointments online (within preset parameters). Some tools even include mobile functionality.
Many appointment scheduling packages will also bill or allow the client to pay for the appointment online, send reminders, and even update your calendar software automatically.
Now that you understand what appointment scheduling software is, you may wonder what the advantage is to using it.
Pros of Appointment Scheduling Software
Let’s take a look at appointment scheduling without appointment scheduling software and then explore the difference that appointment scheduling software can make for freelancers.
While each package works a little differently, the examples below are typical for many of these tools.
Without appointment scheduling software, a prospective client emails you asking for a consulting appointment. You email back suggesting several dates and times. Unfortunately, none of these dates and times is to the client’s liking, so they email back again asking for different dates. You could go back and forth like this several times, before actually scheduling an appointment. In some cases, the client might actually lose interest before an appointment gets set up.
With appointment scheduling software, a prospective client clicks on a scheduling link on your website. They view a list of your available timeslots, select the time that is best for them, choose the type of consultation they would like, and prepay for it online.
You can see how easy the appointment scheduling software could make things for both you and your client. The next question becomes, how do I find the right appointment scheduling software for me?
Options for Appointment Scheduling
Once I realized what an advantage appointment scheduling software could provide to freelance consultants and coaches, I went searching for the best packages online. This post lists what I found.
(Note: At the time of publication, all of these packages offered at least a free trial or a free basic service. To take full advantage of a package’s features you may need to upgrade to a paid version of the software.)
Here are twelve alternatives for appointment scheduling:
- Acuity Scheduling. The basic version is free. The full version allows you to customize your online appointment forms. It has iPhone compatibility.
- BookFresh. A free trial of this software is available. The website for this package includes great tutorial video. The package supports iPhones and you can receive text message notification of new appointments. BookFresh has been reviewed by TechCrunch and Mashable.
- CalendarFly. This application is totally free. It is more suited to groups who need to schedule meeting times than for client or prospect use. Lacks some of the more advanced features of the pricier packages.
- Clickbook. A basic account is free. Additional functionality is available at an extra cost. The site includes a helpful blog. This tool is aimed at the client–service providers must register.
- Genbook. This package offers a free trial. Features of this unique package include iPhone and Facebook apps, text notifications and more.
- Jiffle. This is a free application for individual users. It offers good basic scheduling capabilities. It integrates with Google calendar. Timeslots must be shared with contacts before appointments can be made.
- Lattiss. This is another free application with some basic scheduling functionality such as keeping a calendar and reminders. A premium version with more features is available. It is compatible with the iPhone.
- Simplifythis. This scheduling package offers a free trial. It synchs with Google calendar and offers billing capabilities. The website also includes helpful blog.
- Scheduleview. This package offers a free demo and various levels of scheduling functionality based on price.
- SuperSaaS. A free version of this app is available for smaller users. Some versions include automatic Outlook and Google calendar synchronization and automated waiting lists.
- TimeTrade. Several versions of this app include a free trial. Appointments are integrated with your Google or Outlook calendar. It also integrates with Salesforce.com.
- Tungle.me. This tool offers a free basic account and premium accounts with additional functionality. This app integrates with a huge suite of calendar apps and also offers mobile functionality. There is also a helpful blog.
I’ve shared my thoughts on appointment scheduling software and how it might be useful to freelancers. Now it’s time for your thoughts.
Do you currently use a tool for scheduling appointments with clients? What package do you use? Share your answers in the comments.
Image by mpclemens