In A Nutshell
Bookings provides a quick and easy alternative to scheduling customers appointments over the phone. A fully customisable, public facing webpage lets customers find available times and book appointments at any time of the night and day. The business gets a private calendar for schedule management, and automatic confirmations and reminders.
Who is it for?
The tool will mainly be useful for consumer based service businesses such as hairdressers, beauty therapists, physiotherapists, solicitors, independent financial advisors or garages.
There are mobile apps for both Android and iPhone available so businesses can be updated with their appointments on the move too, which makes it useful for mobile hairdressers, dog walkers or any other mobile business that makes appointment based house calls.
What’s good about it?
Facebook integration – Bookings allows business owners to accept customer appointments on their Facebook Page, via an added “Book Now” button. After clicking, the customer’s contact information is automatically filled in, and they only need to click the “Book” button to complete the appointment setting process.
After clicking, the customer’s contact information is automatically filled in, and they only need to click the “Book” button to complete the appointment setting process.
Customer control – Bookings sends an email confirmation to the customer, as well as a reminder email ahead of the appointment time. Re-scheduling is also self-service, as customers can return to the scheduling site by clicking a link in their email to choose a different time or cancel. Businesses can avoid last-minute cancellations by controlling how
Businesses can avoid last-minute cancellations by controlling how much advanced notice is required to cancel an appointment.
Contact database building – While appointment management is obviously the primary goal of Bookings, the system can also help build the company’s customer database or list. It creates a contact entry automatically when a customer inputs their info into the online system.
The contact card contains the customer’s personal information, like name, address, phone, and email, as well as notes. This has obvious uses and benefits for marketing.
Expandable – As the business grows, businesses can add more staff and create additional booking pages all at no extra cost. Plus, only one Office 365 Business Premium account is required meaning staff aren’t required to have Office 365 subscriptions themselves.
What’s bad about it?
Doesn’t do much that’s different to other offerings – there are a lot of other options out there for managing appointments online in the same manner and the offering from Microsoft doesn’t really distinguish itself. However, with it being part of the Office 365 subscription there is potentially a cost saving to be made.
That’s about all the negative feedback we’ve been able to find which either means the product is very good, or nobody is using it!
Think Bookings might be worth some further investigation?
Then please read on!
Whether you prefer to read blogs or watch webinars and tutorials there are some resources on the web to find out more about Bookings and what it can do, although maybe not as many as with some of the other products.
Most of the materials we’ve found come from Microsoft themselves, so don’t expect anything too unbiased!
The Microsoft product overview – https://products.office.com/en-us/business/scheduling-and-booking-app
There are a couple of useful ‘How To’ articles on the Microsoft TechNet site – How to Set Up A Microsoft Bookings Site https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/cloudready/2017/08/31/how-to-setup-a-microsoft-bookings-site/ and How To Customise A Microsoft Bookings Site – https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/cloudready/2017/09/04/microsoft-bookings-how-to-customize-a-microsoft-bookings-site/
There’s also a demo from the Microsoft Office 365 YouTube channel – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNXxBNPAOKA
There is also an independent video ‘how to’ which is spread over two lessons and has good, if limited, feedback – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcM8f0gq2wo – this goes into a bit more depth without being hours long.
We’ve (hopefully!) given a broad, unbiased, view of what it Bookings can offer and pointed you in the direction of some further help in getting started. Whilst it doesn’t do anything spectacular Bookings looks like a good, low-cost option for suitable businesses but to be honest the information is a little sparse.
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