Your clients expect to be able to make appointments with you any time of day, from wherever they happen to be. No longer are they happy to wait for your regular opening hours to call up and make an appointment. In fact, one study found that over 90% of people would like the option of organizing appointments over the internet, and 71% of millennials prefer booking online over any other approach. If you’ve installed an appointment booking widget on your website, that’s a good start. However, simply making it possible won’t necessarily translate to a busy calendar full of online bookings. All too often, these tools are confusing and hard to use. When they force your potential customers to hand over information or involve too many steps, chances are people will simply leave the page. This isn’t completely unusual - one study of online shopping habits found that up to 40% of customers leave eCommerce websites the moment they are asked to hand over any details. Nevertheless, by changing a few things about the layout, design and information included on your scheduling page, you can massively boost the number of appointments people make with you.
There are many reasons why a potential client will reach your online booking page then decide to go no further. Sometimes they were simply shopping around with no intention of booking at all. However, rectifying the following five issues can make a huge difference in the number of online bookings you receive.
1. Forcing them to create an account up frontThis is the deadliest sin of online booking – and totally unnecessary. If a customer came into a physical store, they wouldn’t expect to hand over their email address and phone number just to buy a single item. The same goes with online booking. While return customers may see the value in starting an account with you, this should not be obligatory. Allow new customers to create a ‘guest’ account, or even book without sharing any details at all.
2. Complicated, limited or suspicious payment optionsIf you’re taking payments online, make it as easy as possible for new customers to part with their money while also making them feel secure. Provide them with the common options for online payment – including PayPal and all major credit cards. Also, ensure your payment acceptance method is secure and trusted, showing standard internet security certificates.
3. Ineffective page textYou don’t need to be Shakespeare to create effective copy that makes people want to book appointments with you. Write a short paragraph ‘about you’ and your service, and tell your target customers how you can help them and why you’re special. It’s also important to clearly list all your offerings up front, with a brief description of what each service or product is. Also, include multiple ‘calls to action’ (CTAs). CTAs are normally buttons on a web page which ask the reader to do something - 'order now'; 'proceed to check out', 'book today for better rates'. A surprising number of companies forget that the whole point in their website is to get visitors to do something, such as booking an appointment. Make it really clear for people to understand how to book appointments with you and where they have to click in order to do so (see this article for more tips).
4. Failing to build trustBuilding trust is incredibly important when asking customers to make an appointment with you – especially if they have never worked with you before. There are several important ways you can do this, including:
5. Be easy to contactWhile online booking lets people make reservations even when your business is closed, you should still make it as easy as possible for them to contact you in other ways too! Start by adding links to all your social media profiles (and your website, if you have one) to your bookings page. And of course, include your phone number, email contact and physical address somewhere prominent on the page.
Making a success of online booking is about making at as easy as possible for customers to book with you. Do everything you can to facilitate bookings, build trust, make people feel sure their data is safe and allow them to find out everything they need before getting in touch. Want to make it even easier for your customers to make appointments? Check out Book Like a Boss today. Used by thousands of businesses like yours worldwide, Book Like a Boss makes the process of taking online bookings as easy and intuitive as possible.