Online Booking Tool, also for service providers
The fact is, our smartphones have become far more than a tool to make a phone call. Seriously, who uses smartphones to actually call someone? Well, we might do occasionally but we seemingly are far more likely to text, send messages or jump online. Agreed? In this article we want to highlight the benefits of an online booking tool for your business.
Calling is no longer like our second nature when it comes to communication, and this is probably due to its speed, or lack of it, when we need to get something done.
So often, the best business strategy mirrors everyday life, and in this regards, here is a question. Have you ever thought about the fact that your customers hate to call you just to find out if you’re available? In the same way sending a message or a quick Google often does the job, for them it’s so much easier to book online. Anytime. Anywhere. (Click below to find out more about our Online Booking tool!)
If they can't, it must be frustrating. But with the availability of increasingly effective online booking tools, what is the excuse? Gone are the days when an online booking tool was the preserve of rental cars or holiday firms - now it doesn't matter if you are a fitness centre or a hair salon - turning your business bookable online can revolutionise your business and make a difference to the bottom line.
If your business operates an appointment based system, or is based around filling customer allocations, it is likely that you could be ready for an online booking tool. Not only can it provide efficiency, informing your customer relationship management (CRM) systems and affording you added organizational benefits, it also puts the power in the hands of your customer. And isn't that what service based businesses are all about?
Customer power from self booking tools
Any time of the day or night, a customer can book themselves in - be it a flight, an appointment, a restaurant table or a class. (Notice for yourself with this customer success story). It's convenient, fast, and has the potential to put you at the front of the queue in the quest to attract new customers. Who would even consider booking flights with a travel agency that only offered a telephone service? To a huge share of travellers, the modus operandi for booking travel is to hop online and take matters into your own hands.
This looks likely to become the norm in a large number of other industries. As is usually the case with the transition into a new way of doing business - those who are slow to catch on risk falling behind.
Is your business ready for an online booking tool
Are you ready? A sensible way to find out can be to track your outlay into anything that involves the booking process. This can include a secretary or receptionist that deals with bookings currently, materials needed for the recording of bookings itself, and the time it takes to administer the process - from manually taking bookings, to totting up number of spaces filled and making periodical reports on numbers and demographics involved with booking.
You should also make a judgement on the effectiveness of your booking system when considering taking it to the next level. Are you regularly running into mistakes in the form of double bookings, over booking allocations, or bookings not being registered at all? Misspelling of names, mis-recording of dates and inaccurate times also all come under this umbrella. If you are suffering from a booking operation which is far from perfect, you should remember that online booking has the potential to take all of these areas of error out of the equation.
For the reasons above - namely efficiency, accuracy and value - it might be the right time to make the switch, but you should always bear in mind that not all of these motives need apply. If you are dedicating too much budget or routinely suffering from errors in your booking operation, remember that an online booking tool could solve the problem.
Satisfaction with online booking tools
On the whole, companies that do make the decision to offer their customers the option of online booking don't turn back. Research conducted by Amadeus found that after adopting online booking tools:
"22 per cent of companies [were] saying that they were very satisfied and a further 43 per cent [were] indicating that they were reasonably satisfied".
In terms of which sectors adoption was proving smoothest in:
"high tech companies, consulting services, and logistics companies achieve the highest levels of adoption, with public utilities and agricultural companies achieving the lowest levels".
Where do we go from here?
Here we go:
The next step for those companies that have adopted online booking tools is further integration with existing IT systems within a company, which could include; CRM, proximity data and accounting. This is one area in which the online booking tools available, along with the IT capabilities of the companies that use them, could improve in.
Indeed the Amadeus report mentioned above makes the observation that:
"almost 70 per cent of SBTs seem to be operated independently of companies’ other IT systems and are not integrated with expense accounting systems which would be a logical extension of system functionality."
As with most innovations, there is of course room for improvement, but that shouldn't detract from the very real immediate benefits which can be reaped from online booking tools. If anything can offer you instant savings and improve your efficiency, isn't it worth implementing sooner rather than later?
Capitalizing on Growth
If your company has grown its customer base and is now considering how best to meet its demands, there has never been a better opportunity to take your business to the next level than with a dedicated online booking tool. Step up your online presence and earn yourself some new customers in the process by making the switch to online booking - as we can see from the evidence above and in this customer success story, it is more likely that you will be satisfied with online booking than reverting back to an antiquated system that uses telephone bookings.