As a personal stylist, you probably are no stranger to issues with managing a schedule. A tight agenda is great, but it can quickly become overwhelming if there’s multiple bookings to keep track of, each with its own needs.
That’s where appointment scheduling software comes in. With booking software, you can stop worrying about appointment errors and focus on growing your exclusive clientele.
That’s why we’ll explain what appointment scheduling software is, how it benefits personal stylists and shoppers, and the tips you need to choose the right software for you and your business.
What is Appointment Scheduling Software and How Can It Help Your Business?
Appointment scheduling software is a tool that allows professionals to manage their appointments and bookings. The software is also known as appointment booking software or online booking software.
Through appointment scheduling software, a personal stylist can manage their existing appointments, see their schedule, and allow their customers to make appointments online.
For example, you could create a link that lets your clients pick up a date based on your calendar and availability, all updated automatically.
This capability significantly reduces scheduling errors and no-shows - allowing the stylist/shopper to focus on the work and leave the admin to the software.
The benefits don’t stop there. There’s so much more this type of software can do for your business, with some solutions offering payment processing, mobile compatibility, integrations with social media, and the ability to set up discounts.
Let’s look at some of the features of online booking software.
Popular Features of Appointment Scheduling Software
You’ll find that most appointment scheduling software options have similar core features. These include:
Automatic Reminders: your booking software can automatically send email and text appointment reminders; some digital assistants will even send a voice message.
Customer Scheduling: your clients can see your available dates and times and set their appointments based on your availability.
Online Payments: some options will let you integrate your booking system with payment gateways allowing customers to prepay after confirming their future booking.
Promotion Management: create promotions for specific dates or times to boost your bookings.
Calendar Management: you and your clients can share their appointments through calendar systems integrations, such as Google Calendar.
Real-time Automatic Scheduling: you can automatically update your availability as soon as someone makes or cancels a booking and even have wait lists that update when someone reschedules or cancels.
Online Booking: your customers can book, reschedule, and follow up on their appointments over the internet. Some apps even synchronize multiple devices.
Mobile Compatibility: the best appointment scheduling software will allow you to manage your schedule and appointments through your phone and extend that practicality to your clients.
That’s only a taste of the features offered by online booking software. You can find software that’s more in tune with personal stylists' needs and has additional features for your type of business, such as branded bookings.
Now that we know what booking software can do let’s see how these features can help you and your clientele.
Benefits of Appointment Scheduling Software for Personal Stylists and Fashion Assistants
There are myriad benefits for personal stylists and shoppers when it comes to an appointment scheduling software, including a simpler appointment setting process and live updates of your schedule.
Here’s a list of booking software benefits enjoyed by fashion assistants and personal stylists:
One of the worst parts of having an appointment-based business is dealing with last-minute cancellations and no-shows. These situations can damage your morale, not to mention your wallet.
Appointment scheduling software can help reduce no-shows by implementing protections, such as helping you set up cancellation fees that are automatically charged.
People are also forgetful, and text reminders can help with that.
Additionally, you can let your clients pre-book specific dates to help create a routine, which makes it less likely that they’ll cancel.
Reviewing your schedule is an important part of your day. This routine is how you know what’s on your agenda in terms of appointments and other obligations. You can also check the plan for the week, and even the whole month, to have a panoramic perspective of your schedule.
Messages, Reminders, and Marketing Campaigns
Almost all booking software options will let you send text reminders to your clients, but some take it a step further. Some providers will let you create marketing campaigns using your clientele’s contact information.
You can also automate more than reminders-sending thank you messages and confirmations has never been so easy. You can even create a custom template for your messages.
Simplified Appointment Process
Nobody wants to go through a complicated multi-step process to set a simple appointment. Booking software makes appointment creation easy for your customers.
Some options even let you create your own booking links that you can add to your social media channels, letting your clients book an appointment with you from anywhere.
Attracts and Retains Clients
You’ll have an easier time getting new clients and retaining your current ones when you improve the user experience of your booking process. People want to be able to make their appointments at any time, from anywhere, and that’s what you can give them thanks to online booking software.
Update Client Information
Keeping updated records of your clients is important. Plus, you can add notes about their style and buying preferences with some booking software options.
Now that you know what appointment scheduling software can do for you, it’s time to learn how to find the right option.
How to Choose the Right Scheduling Software
Many booking software options are available, but because they have the same basic design doesn’t mean you should choose the first one you find.
Here’s how you can find the right appointment scheduling software for personal shoppers and fashion assistants:
Review Your Needs
Your first consideration shouldn’t be the software but your business's needs. How big is your clientele? How fast is it growing? Will you be expanding and need to be able to manage multiple consultants along with an expanding client base?
Also, look for software that has the features that you need. Don’t get distracted by extra features that won’t help address your main concerns when it comes to scheduling.
And last but not least, think about your budget. You need to choose an option to help you earn more, not cut your profits.
Research the options
Now that you have a good idea of what you need, it’s time to check out the market. Make a list of options based on online reviews and features that you want, then compare your top choices to see which one suits you best.
And when it comes to booking software, look for options that can meet the following criteria:
Ease of Use: Look for options that are simple, both for you and your clients.
No-Show Protection: You want booking software that helps protect you from cancellations with features like credit card input on booking for cancellation fees.
Website Booking: If you have a business website, look for an option that lets clients book directly from it.
Custom Branded Booking: If you don’t have a website, some options let you create your own branded booking page.
Customization and Flexibility: Look for options with flexible booking settings that allow you to customize your system.
Google Integration: Integration with Google Calendar, Google Maps, and Google My Business will help you increase your bookings.
Quick Booking: Look for options that let people book with only a few clicks.
Deals and Discounts: Look for options that let you set up special deals and discounts.
Reviews: Check out the reviews and testimonials regarding the service.
Continued Support and Customer Services: Choose a provider with easy-to-reach customer service.
Data Security: Since you’ll be handling personal information, your software must have good security features.
Industry-Specific Features: If you can find a choice that offers features specific to the style and fashion industry, even better.
Try Them Out
You don’t need to settle for one choice immediately. Many companies offer free trials or demonstrations, so you can know whether your choice suits you or not.
It’s one thing to like an option on paper, but it’s another thing entirely to actually use it. Trying out multiple options will help you find the one that really resonates with you.
There is no guarantee one software option will be right for you just because it is popular or highly regarded. Before making your final decision, take your time to review your needs, explore the options, and test them out.
Appointment scheduling software can be a game changer for anyone in the style and fashion industry. Managing your appointments, reducing no-shows, and simplifying the appointment process for your customers means less hassle and more money for you. At this point, the only question left is which one is right for you. Before making a choice, make sure to consider the needs of your business and take the time to research your options.