Best appointment scheduling software for small organizations

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Small and medium-size businesses typically perform better when they focus time and energy within their areas of expertise performing high-value tasks. Appointment-setting software helps automate the once-time consuming acts of reviewing calendars, selecting a date and time to meet, booking the event, and sending reminders and follow up messages.

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Best appointment scheduling software for small organizations

Calendly

Available for individuals, teams, SMBs and even enterprise organizations, Calendly boasts an intuitive interface, rapid adoption, fast and frictionless customer interactions, high-levels of customer end-user satisfaction and important security safeguards. The software works with popular web browsers, features a standalone mobile app, integrates with CRM systems and connects to the PayPal and Stripe payment platforms.

The software solution permits businesses to adjust appointment availability preferences, incorporate team scheduling, implement routing forms, customize communications workflows, embed the scheduling feature within the company’s existing website, set up connections with real-time reporting for up to six calendars per user and deploy meeting polls for events with multiple attendees.

Other features include automating the sending of appointment reminders, generating thank you messages, performing round robin balancing in which responsibilities are automatically shared among specified team members (Figure A), sharing appointment-setting links via email and even coordinating meeting times for events co-hosted with other partners.

Figure A

Calendly offers a round robin feature that permits balancing appointments equally among multiple team members.

The provider maintains a dedicated team and processes to ensure rigorous privacy, security and business continuity standards are maintained as part of its everyday operations. The appointment scheduling solution encrypts appointment-setting and corresponding data passing through the company’s system, both in transit and at rest. Browser sessions are protected using TLS SHA-256 with RSA encryption and HTTPS is used for all services. For organizations needing such assurance, Calendly supports SAML-based single sign-on for the Auth0, Azure, Okta, OneLogin and Ping Identity platforms, too.

Calendly offers a free Basic version of its software with no time limit, while a free 14-day trial is available for its Teams plan. An Essentials subscription runs $8 per seat per month, its Professional option is $12 per seat per month and the Teams offering costs $16 per seat per month. Those prices are for annual billing plans, although slightly more expensive monthly options are available, as well.

Multiple subscription plans are available. Each subscription type offers a variety of features. The plans and corresponding features are described in detail on Calendly’s website.

Some key differences are the Basic version permits one calendar connection per person, one active event type but no support for group events, and no customization of email notifications and reminders. The Essentials option increases the calendar connections limit per person to two, removes the limit on active event types and permits creating group events.

The Professional subscription increases the calendar connections per person limit to six and permits customizing email notifications and reminders. The Teams version adds such team collaboration options as the ability to create round robin events and SAML SSO support. An Enterprise version is also available, as are discounts for non-profit organizations.

Interested firms should contact Calendly’s customer service team at [email protected] Alternatively, you can visit the vendor’s Contact page to request more information.

Thryv

Touting a dedicated focus on small businesses, Thryv offers a complement of solutions for small business owners. With appointment scheduling, CRM, customer communication, reputation management, payment processing, marketing, and document sharing and storage solutions, Thryv seeks to provide a complete small business management platform using a single online dashboard.

The company’s appointment scheduling software permits customers to reserve their own meetings and appointments and synchronizes with the business’ calendar software to prevent overbooking.

Multiple calendar options — including Apple iCloud and iCal, Google Calendar and Microsoft 365, Exchange and Outlook — are supported (Figure B). Administered using a web interface or via a dedicated mobile app, Thryv supports both public and private events and bookings as well as sending automatic reminders, automating follow up messages and processing customer payments. The software also enables offering customers financing, accepting digital payments such as Apple and Google Pay and offering customers installment payment options.

Figure B

Thryv’s appointment scheduling software targets small businesses specifically and supports leading calendar platforms.

Thryv offers three subscription platforms: Plus, Premium and Unlimited. The Plus version supports two users and provides scheduling and appointment services, text and email features, 20GB of document storage and payment processing using Braintree, Square, Stripe or PayPal.

CRM and social media services are among other features included with the Plus subscription. Premium supports five users and adds support for customized promotional campaigns, an additional 30GB of document storage and review acknowledgement capabilities. Premium, meanwhile, extends unlimited announcement and campaigns that can be used to help promote events.

The company requests potential customers contact its sales department for pricing. Complete the Thryv contact page for more information. Alternatively, you can call the company at 1-844-339-6334.

Squarespace Scheduling

Squarespace, the company often known for simplifying SMB website design and e-commerce administration, also offers an all-in-one Squarespace Scheduling appointment management solution. The software is compatible with a variety of third-party programs, including those from Microsoft, Square, Google, GoToMeeting, Stripe and PayPal.

Customers need not possess a Squarespace website to use the company’s appointment scheduling service. Formerly named Acuity Scheduling before its acquisition by Squarespace, the software permits clients to book appointments, classes and meetings when convenient to them. The software also permits customers to reschedule appointments and make deposits, pay invoices and sign up for subscriptions.

Using Squarespace Scheduling, business owners can offer discounts, promote events, automate follow ups, provide customers with intake forms to be completed prior to the meeting or appointment, customize appointment confirmation messages, and configure and send automated appointment reminders. The software also supports speaking face-to-face with customers using GoToMeeting, JoinMe and Zoom.

A mobile app is also available to assist business owners and managers with administering Squarespace Scheduling. Customers can use a second Squarespace mobile application to book appointments with the business using a scheduling URL or QR code.

To help safeguard its solution, systems and data, the company uses SSL to encrypt data in transit and uses data centers and cloud providers incorporating a variety of security requirements and workflows. The company also maintains a variety of technologies and workflows to protect against common security threats.

Three Squarespace Scheduling plans are available. Billed annually, the Emerging plan is $14 per month, the Growing plan runs $23 per month and the Powerhouse plan costs $45 per month.

The Emerging option provides support for a single calendar for each user or site, while the Growing plan increases the limit to two to six and the Powerhouse plan increases to seven to 36. All plans offer calendar syncing and custom payment options, along with invoicing and automatic reminder email messaging. The Growing and Powerhouse plans add subscriptions, SMS and text reminders, and membership and packages support. The Powerhouse plan adds support for multiple locations and time zones, custom APIs and CSS, and a BAA option for HIPAA compliance.

For more information, reach out to Squarespace using its Contact us page or request a trial.

Square Appointments

One vendor familiar to many SMBs is Square, which gave many businesses their start accepting credit cards. The company’s Square Appointments software integrates with its point-of-sale system to concentrate scheduling, point-of-sale features and payment processing all within a single platform.

Square’s offering provides a mobile app, free online customizable booking websites a subscriber’s customers can use to discover and schedule services, automated email and text reminders, Google Calendar sync, resource booking, website integration, and support for multiple locations and time zones. The software also includes Square Assistant, an automated messaging component that can reply to, cancel and reschedule client appointments around the clock. Other capabilities include support for Afterpay, the buy-now-and-pay-later installment payment solution.

The Square software supports integration with a variety of third-party software packages, including QuickBooks and Wix. The solution also integrates with other Square products, such as its payment processing platform.

Three subscription plans are available: Free, Plus and Premium. The Free version is for use at a single location and includes an unlimited number of user accounts, access to the custom booking website and social media integrations, as well as integrated payments, automated text and email reminders, and appointment and sales history tracking. The Plus version, at $29 per month per location, adds multiple time zone and location support and lowers the in-person credit card transaction fee by 10.1 percent, while the $69 per month per location Premium plan adds custom permissions, multiple wage rates and team sales and labor reporting capabilities.

For more information on Square, contact the company online.

Setmore

Advertising itself as “free scheduling software,” Setmore offers its clients’ customers around-the-clock automated online scheduling. But the solution also offers SMBs a wealth of other features, too. The appointment scheduling software boasts a mobile application, Windows and macOS desktop apps (Figure C), reminders, payment processing and integration with a variety of third-party platforms, including Facebook, Google Calendar, Instagram, Microsoft 365, PayPal, Shopify, Square, WordPress and Zoom.

Figure C

Setmore offers businesses a mobile app, as well as Mac and Windows desktop versions.

Offering support by phone, chat or email, the Setmore solution doesn’t require an SMB to possess a website. Businesses can instead share their Setmore Booking Page to permit customers to begin self-selecting appointments. SMBs that do maintain their own websites can simply add a corresponding Book Now button to help their customers connect to their Setmore appointment scheduling services.

The software also permits booking one-on-one meetings, as well as group classes, and simplifies marketing and promoting positive reviews. From scheduling recurring appointments to providing support for multiple locations, the solution includes a wide variety of capabilities, including enabling QR codes to simplify the booking process.

Three pricing plans are available, with the first being free and supporting up to four users. The free version provides businesses with unlimited appointments, social media integrations, email reminders, Square payment processing, Teleport video meetings and a custom booking webpage.

The Premium plan runs $5 per user per month billed annually, supports two users and adds text appointment reminders, two-way calendar synchronization and payment processing for PayPal and Stripe. The Pro plan, which supports three or more users, is $5 per user per month when billed annually and provides all Premium options for growing teams needing more users.

Free trials are available. The company also offers 30-day money back guarantees.

For more information on Setmore and its appointment scheduling software, call the company at 1-800-749.4920. Alternatively, you can sign up for a free account using the company’s website.

SimplyBook.me & SimplyMeet.me

An unusual approach, one company offers two separate but similar scheduling solutions: SimplyBook.me and SimplyMeet.me. The SimplyBook.me LTD company, a global ISO 27001 certified firm, first launched its appointment scheduling software in 2009. When the company acquired the Harmonizely CalDAV scheduling tool in June 2021, it rebranded that technology as SimplyMeet.me.

The firm offers both solutions today. If SimplyBook.me proves too extensive for a business’ needs, SimplyMeet.me offers a simplified interface and fewer features.

SimplyBook.me offers appointment booking software for all services-based companies. The solution permits accepting online bookings, both a client-facing and an administrative application, a mobile app, sending appointment reminders via text messages, and email and payment processing. SimplyBook.me also integrates with a variety of other platforms, including Constant Contact, Facebook, Google My Business, Instagram, Microsoft Teams, PayPal, Stripe and Zoom. Custom features include support for coupons, intake forms, memberships and classes.

The vendor is another prioritizing security. All electronic communications between users, customers and the software are secured by TLS 1.2 encryption, while data backups are stored on secure servers using encrypted data transfer. The software provider supports HIPAA compliance via Business Associate Agreements  and adoption of corresponding required security workflows, and it develops and maintains its system using Security Development Lifecycle principles. For further protection, the company hosts its servers within data centers that meet R82 and R81 APSAD security standards and comply with ISO 27001 requirements.

SimplyBook.me offers a free 14-day trial that includes most features and up to 50 bookings. Four subscription types are available: Free, Basic, Standard and Premium. The Free version supports up to one custom feature and five users and includes the administrative program and booking website and widget, among other features. The Basic edition increases the booking limit to 100 per month, custom features limit to three and the users limit to 15, while also adding the client application and POS, gift card and coupon capabilities. The Standard subscription increases bookings per month to 500, custom features to eight and users to 25, while also adding HIPAA features. The Premium option increases bookings to 2,000 per month, provides unlimited custom features, permits 50 users and adds branding for the client program.

Each SimplyBook.me subscription option presents a variety of other capabilities, too. For a complete list, visit the SimplyBook.me features and pricing page. For more information on SimplyBook.me, email [email protected] or complete the company’s Contact page.

SimplyMeet.me, meanwhile, offers simplified services, albeit via three different pricing plans: Individuals, Professional and Enterprise. All plans include calendar integrations, including with Google and Outlook, as well as video call integration with Microsoft Teams and Zoom, among other capabilities. Systems integrations available within SimplyMeet.me include Facebook, SimplyPay and Stripe.

The free Individuals plan supports one user, three calendars, unlimited meeting types and up to 500 meetings per month per user, while the Professional subscription runs $9.99 per user per month, has a limit of 30 users and eight calendars per user and adds round-robin scheduling. A customizable Enterprise version with custom pricing is also available and adds a designated account manager, in addition to other capabilities.

A complete listing of the features included with each SimplyMeet.me subscription is maintained on SimplyMeet.me’s website. For more information on that alternative solution, you can contact live chat support on the same pricing page.

What is appointment scheduling software?

Appointment scheduling software permits customers to review a business’ availability and independently book their own appointments and meetings using an online interface or email. Such apps permit customers to reserve, change and cancel appointments and meetings without having to call the business.

How does appointment scheduling software work?

Depending upon the platform and selected options, appointment scheduling applications can integrate with a small or medium-sized business’ website and software systems — including email, calendaring, customer relationship management and payment systems — to better enhance workflows, including booking appointments, sending customer follow-ups, and requesting and receiving payments.

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Business owners and managers can share their business’ calendaring and appointment booking systems with the appointment scheduling software. Customers, subsequently, can access the information in real time and use their own devices whenever convenient to find or reschedule an appointment time compatible with the business’ schedule.

What are the business benefits of appointment scheduling software?

Also known as online booking and reservation software, appointment scheduling apps simplify the process and eliminate frustration for both customers and employees by helping SMBs better meet customer needs, including after hours and on weekends when the business might not be open.

Because the business’ representatives can pre-configure the times meetings and appointments are available, customers can help themselves to book appointments. Scheduling conflicts don’t arise, as the software prevents double booking if configured. Customers are happier as they’re coming to expect such capabilities from the vendors with which they work.

Because the programs eliminate the interruptions and corresponding coordination time that staff previously needed to invest reviewing calendars, identifying open slots and booking appointments, employees can dedicate their time instead to fulfilling other tasks and responsibilities. Scheduling software also helps predict demand and even draft corresponding work schedules.

Appointment scheduling apps also assist SMBs by automating the process of sending customers appointment reminders and meeting follow-ups, which can reduce missed appointments and late cancellations. The programs also perform an essential function by capturing customer contact information, thereby eliminating the need for manual processes to capture and record such data.

Some packages also permit customers to make payments online. The capability helps eliminate another manual task while positively and directly impacting the business’ revenue stream and cash flow by accelerating customer payment cycles.