Online Scheduling with VCita

One of the things that I really like is being able to book appointments with a provider or a client and know that the time and date is blocked out in my calendar.  To me, there is nothing worse than the too-ing and fro-ing via email or text messaging trying to work out a date and time, just to have another appointment booked because things moved a little to slowly.

That’s why I implemented an online bookings calendar – my clients can look at the available spaces I have and take one, right then and there.  They get an email confirmation and so do I.  Better still, the appointment is automatically sync’d  with my Google Calendar and replicates to all my devices. This is a great way to reduce the number of double bookings that can occur!  I would like to say eliminate, but planning fails still occur.

I’ve trialled a few online scheduling tools, and looked at a heap more.  From that investigation, I’ve decided to use Vcita: online scheduling.  I looked at Vcita about 18 months ago and it just wasn’t quite there in terms of User Experience, so I was really pleasantly surprised when I reviewed Vcita again – it has some great functionality and a really great price.  This is what I like about the online scheduling feature (I haven’t even delved into the other features here):

  • Online scheduling – The base offering is free and you can have up to three services that people can book for.  There is no integration with other calendars at the free level
  • Online scheduling with integration – With the paid subscription (currently $14.95 per month or $9.95 per month paid annually) you can sync with your Google Calendar, Outlook, iCal, Hotmail, Yahoo or any calendar that supports an ICS format. This means that I can enter an appointment through my phone and it will automatically blank that time out of my online booking system (neat!)
  • Reminders – This is really great… You can set up to two reminder emails to go out.  You can also set WHEN these emails go out – I’ve used 1 hour before and 15 minutes before.  Of course, an email is sent when the meeting is confirmed as well.  I’ve found this reduces ‘no shows’
  • Choice of timeslots – you can configure the system to let customer choose up to 3 timeslots.  This works well for me as I sometimes look at meetings before or after the requested time and make a value based decision as to whether there is sufficient time between the calls or not.
  • Choice of timezones – When your client visits the scheduling page, they can change the timezone to best suit their locality.  The system does a reasonable job at determining a persons location, but it can easily be overridden
  • Services Menu – do you have a number of options a client can choose?  You can setup a services menu and send people there.  As opposed to other services that only provides links to the specific services only.  As a bonus, Vcita also provides individual links for each service which is great as I’ve used this to sell a services package through my own shopping cart and then get purchasers to set their appointment time.

In this video, I do a walkthrough of the backend of Vcita (you can see the front end by visiting http://askcharlyleetham.com/bookings) and how easy it is to use!

We offer a service to provision and setup Vcita for you and provide training so you know how to use it. Contact us to find out how we can help you.

[su_box title=”With Thanks To:” style=”soft”]Charly Leetham, from Ask Charly Leetham, is an Online Business Implementation Expert who helps Small Businesses and Solopreneurs harness the power of the Internet as a Sales Channel or Channel To Market. Grab a free copy of Charly’s teleseminar, Getting Your Business Online Using Low and No Cost Resources by visiting www.AskCharlyLeetham.com today.  This article originally appeared on www.askcharlyleetham.com/8135/online-scheduling-tool-vcita-walkthrough[/su_box]

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