There are some benefits of having a custom scheduling app as a small business, and if you’re reading this, it’s probably because you know that scheduling can be a real nightmare. Whether it’s about vendors, clients, staff, service providers, tasks, or even leads, finding the right tracking system to manage your business’ time and resources is challenging.
Even in 2022, most businesses still rely on outdated and obsolete systems that require paper trails and manual actions to run. Properly automated scheduling systems can have hugely positive impacts on organizations, from boosting sales, saving time, gathering payments quicker, to providing a much better experience for customers.
Let’s look into how a scheduling app could help your small business thrive. We will also be discussing how you can make sure you’re building a successful scheduling app and which solutions we find work the best. Let’s get going!
The benefits of a scheduling app for small businesses
Being able to automate the most time-consuming tasks
In this world, thriving as a business means leaning on technology to compete with the global hunger for innovation. That’s why sending dozens of emails back and forth with potential clients or current customers simply isn’t sufficient anymore.
As a small business, there are many tasks you need to be able to automate so you can devote your time to the most important actions. This includes making appointments, juggling between your team’s availability and your clients’.
A scheduling app can do just that for your small business, by allowing your clients to know when you’re free, and to fill out all their information in one centralized place. It’s all automated and synchronized with your calendar, so you don’t have to worry about updating the times you’re unavailable.
Not having to worry about peripheral tasks
Scheduling isn’t only about making appointments. It’s also about handling all the peripheral tasks that keep businesses running. This includes:
- Automatically generating unique Google Meet or Zoom links for every new call, and then sending it to all invitees without requiring any action to be performed.
- Offering the option to confirm or decline the appointment via email.
- Sending email reminders to all invitees a certain amount of time before the call is to take place.
- Asking for payment when clients book appointments so there is no need to send a separate invoice and chase payment from clients.
- Being able to ask for deposits upon appointment booking.
Your scheduling app can be fully integrated with all the other platforms you use. Every time someone schedules time with you or your business, you can update your CRM, notify the account manager, generate an automatic proposal, and a lot more tasks, everything done automagically by software.
Organization on the go
For the past couple of years, it seems as though businesses are employing more and more people who work from home. During COVID-19, not far from 70% of all people who are employed full-time were working from home. After the pandemic, 92% of people projected they would be working from home at least 1 day every week and 80% wanted to work at least 3 days from home every week.
That’s why it’s become increasingly important to find ways of staying organized even with teams working in different places. Being a small business owner means feeling like you literally need to be in several places at once, but a scheduling app can help relieve some of that pressure.
How? By allowing issues to be dealt with as soon as they happen, thanks to the right tools and solutions. A scheduling app can allow you to:
- Make schedules easily accessible across your whole team.
- Quickly fill or swap shifts as needed.
- Allow employees to clock in and out so that you know who is currently working and who is not.
- Approve time-off requests.
- Record and send videos, screengrabs, and tutorials to easily illustrate any points you need to communicate with your team.
- Share important documents and make them readily available for your team to review daily.
A scheduling app can really be your daily little helper and can help keep your whole organization coordinated, even if you’re not all in the same place every day.
Provide a better customer experience
It’s a competitive time for small businesses. They need to make a great first impression, and that happens through small details like making scheduling absolutely seamless and effortless for clients. There’s nothing worse than having to struggle to engage with a business as a customer.
Having your scheduling app embedded in your website for example can lead to amazing results in customer satisfaction, providing an easy way of making appointments and reservations. This is all too real, especially because nowadays, customers aren’t used to having to go through dozens of steps to make a reservation or appointment. You don’t want your reservation or booking process to be cumbersome for your customers, leading to them giving up along the way. Convenience is a big part of client satisfaction!
Reducing no-show rates
No-shows can cost businesses a lot of revenue each month. In fact, no-shows can go as far as costing small businesses $26,000 in losses. Of course, your scheduling app won’t completely eliminate the risk of clients not showing, though it will most likely hugely help. Why? Because when clients make their own bookings, they feel so much more compelled to see them through.
The fact that a scheduling app can also send automated reminders also helps. It’s harder for your customers to forget about appointments or reservations when they receive SMS or email reminders. The wonderful thing about this is that it isn’t going to cost your small business extra resources: it’s all fully automated.
Finally, if the customer ends up canceling their appointment, your schedule will open up automatically, which will allow slots to be filled up even right before the time. You can still expect another client to replace a no-show if you make the time slot available on your scheduling app.
How to build a successful scheduling app
The most basic scheduling apps usually allow users to input new contacts and allow these contacts to complete their profiles online. A scheduling app should also offer bookings and reservations for your clients, in an effortless way. It can also send SMS or email notifications to remind them of appointments, and allow integrations to Google Calendars so that the invite is embedded into their own calendars.
Okay, but how do you actually build your own scheduling app? Do you have to know how to code? Well, thankfully, no. With no code platforms like Glide apps, it’s within all small businesses to create their very own scheduling app, tailored to their needs. This will allow you to include features like:
- Allowing users of your app to sync their schedules with their calendar.
- Adding payment forms to collect payments online, therefore allowing clients to pay deposits or invoices as they make reservations.
- Building a hierarchy within users so some users can become administrators and modify or reschedule appointments.
- Create other types of forms.
- Access powerful analytical functions like the number of visitors and other important metrics.
- Allow customers to send messages and write notes within the app.
All of these features are completely possible if you go for the right solutions and figure out what you need the most. Let’s talk about a few tips and tricks to make sure you nail your small business’s scheduling app.
Do your research – find out what is out there
It may be a good idea for you to first carve some time out to research existing solutions that you can integrate into your own custom solution. It’s important to know which features you want your scheduling app to have, and to browse through some inspiring ideas. Our favorite existing scheduling solutions include:
These three popular scheduling platforms have some great features that you might want to use in your own app. They range from effortless timezone switching to embedded lists of local holidays, and integration with popular payment portals like PayPal or Stripe. Think about the basics you want your own app to have.
Use the best platform to build your scheduling app: Glide
Nowadays, you can totally build your own app without having to learn how to code. It’s all thanks to low code and no code, which are visual approaches to software development. Low code and no code platforms allow users to create apps using drag and drop builders, without writing a single line of code.
Here at LowCode Agency no-code agency, we’re experts in low code and no code, and our favorite platform is Glide. First of all, because we have a team of certified Glide experts, and second of all because we love how many powerful features Glide apps offer.
That’s why we definitely recommend you use Glide to create your scheduling app. It’s pretty easy, efficient, and streamlined. The hardest part is finding the best possible solution for your needs, which we can help you with, though we’ll talk more about that a bit later on.
The best features for your scheduling app
We’ve got a whole other article about how to create your Glide app, so if you’re unsure about the process, feel free to head over and read our guide. It’s a pretty straightforward process, so you shouldn’t have any trouble. We’ve also got an article showing no code app examples, so check that out too if you need some inspo.
The only thing that is left to do is to figure out which the best features are for your scheduling app. Let’s go through a few of them to help you choose.
Notifications for open slots
Obviously, you probably aren’t inclined to offer free cancellations to your clients. However, you could simply add a “notify me if available” feature to your scheduling app to notify clients if slots suddenly open up. This might significantly reduce no shows by allowing to fill slots up as soon as they become available. You could also offer last minute deals on time slots that aren’t booked yet.
There are so many reasons why you might want to allow payments on your scheduling app. You should be aiming to integrate as many payment options into your platform as you can so that you give plenty of options to your clients. It’s also good to make sure you clearly display prices and the payment options you offer, as well as the possibility of using promo codes or even gift cards. If your small business is prone to cancellations, you could set up a deposit payment system, or make it possible for refunds to happen with a reliable system whether it be automatic or manual.
Video and/or voice calls
If your small business is prone to appointments that can be done remotely, having a video or voice call option can be really powerful. This works especially well for medical and health related businesses, as well as sports (personal trainers) or clothing businesses (stylist/designer). This means everything from booking to the actual appointment and payment can be done within your app, streamlining and centralizing all processes along the way.
An app that runs smoothly is efficient not only for clients but for employees too. Your app should display all the relevant data for employees to use correctly. This includes:
- Different employees having access to different information.
- Easy calendar syncing options so the scheduling app updates your employees’ work calendars in real time.
- Showing the status of appointments, like paid or unpaid, or attended/no show.
- Allowing the manual adjustment of appointments so that employees can change information as needed.
- Choosing which notifications employees want to receive, in which level of detail.
- Assignment of employees’ workload in an automated way, according to which days each employee is on the clock.
At the end of the day, there are so many features your scheduling app could possibly have that it comes down to the goals and needs of your small business. It is great to know how many options there are out there though!
Your dream scheduling app with LowCode Agency
Here at LowCode Agency, we can help you navigate through all of the (sometimes difficult) decisions that come with building your own scheduling app and integrating it with all your tools and software that you use to run your business. Our mission is to find the best possible solutions for our clients, so we know that we’ll be creating the most tailored and efficient app for your needs.
Book your free discovery call today, so we can start figuring out what your scheduling app needs. We’ve built 235 apps to this day, so we know what it takes to make a beautiful and powerful app. Your small business deserves to reap the rewards of innovation, and with our help, it is all within reach!
Jesus is the founder of Low Code Agency: a low-code development agency that allows small business owners to get their mobile and web apps done fast and cost-effectively while maintaining quality.