Three benefits of booking plugins you probably don’t know
If you run a business in which customers or clients book your time or a date, then you need a booking plugin for your website. Here are three reasons why.
A friend of my husband has a car dealership, and one day we were talking about how business was going. His business is very successful, but he said that he was finding it hard since customers were emailing and calling almost every day (including weekends), and his wife was beginning to resent the amount of time he was spending working. He also found it hard to switch off and felt that he could never really escape work.
I asked him why he felt obliged to respond to customers in the evenings and weekends, which is when the business was officially closed. Surely, he could contact them when he opened up or have an out-of-hours email autoresponder and voicemail?
But he said that in his business, customers expected to be able to book a viewing straight away. If they weren’t able to, then they’d either contact another business or get annoyed, and leave a poor review.
Luckily, I was able to suggest a solution to his problem, one that has already transformed the way I work: set up a WordPress booking plugin on a website and connect it with an online calendar. This way, people could visit his website 24 hours a day and be able to book an appointment to view the car they wanted straight away, allowing him to enjoy his time off work with his family.
By keeping his online calendar up to date, customers could only book slots when he was free, and he could control the duration of every appointment he set.
It was a win-win. My friend had his family time back (and a much happier wife!) while retaining his customers. Also, his customers were able to easily book an appointment to view the car they wanted, whenever they wanted.
To me, this story perfectly illustrates just how much of a difference installing an online booking plugin on your website can make. If you are also struggling to manage bookings for your business but need more convincing, here are three benefits of booking plugins you probably don’t know.
1) You’ll save time
Just think how much time is involved with a manual booking. The customer calls or emails you, and you answer. You then either converse back and forth via email or on the call to find a date and time that works for you both. When you have agreed on a time, then you need to send them an email with the details and collect payment.
Supposed you had an online booking plugin set up on your website. Rather than taking a phone call or respond to emails, your customer can choose a date and time that suits them. Since your booking plugin is connected to your calendar, it will only show customers the time and date you have available. It will take payment (if required) and then your automated email sequence will send the customer all the details they need.
Scenario one – the manual booking – requires you to be available when the customer gets in contact (or risk them taking their business elsewhere) and to spend time finding a time and emailing details.
Scenario two – the automated booking – only requires you to set up the plugin once, then keep your calendar updated and set up automated emails. Once this is done, bookings, payment, and the relevant emails can take place without any time or energy input from you.
2) You’ll lose fewer customers
When customers are looking for something – a restaurant or pub to book lunch in, a hotel or B&B to stay with, a spa or beauty parlor to book a treatment in… basically any business that requires them to book a date, time slot, or appointment, they generally want to secure their booking quickly.
So, when they’re making inquiries, it’s often the business that responds the quickest to secure the booking. This means you either need to be monitoring and responding to calls and emails constantly, or you have an automated system that enables them to get the information they need and make a booking immediately.
If you rely on a manual system, like my friend was, you can rarely afford time off. And, if you do switch your phone off or stop checking emails for an evening or weekend, you could find that you have missed business. But with an automated system, you’ll have an advantage over your less tech-savvy competitors, allowing you to win more customers, even when you’re not on duty.
3) You’ll have happier customers
With an automated booking system set up, you’ll make your customers happier. How? Because they can make a booking easily whenever they need, without needing to call or email someone, then wait for a reply. They can tick the task off their to-do list in minutes, and then get on with something else. They also don’t need to wait for information as your automated email will confirm their appointment and give any details they need.
So, not only will they have a better impression of your business and enjoy more convenience, but they’re more likely to give you a good review and recommend you as a result.
How can online booking plugins help you?
If you have a business that requires customers to booking dates or times and maybe even make payments, an online booking plugin makes sense.
It’s better for your customers, too, since it’ll save them time and hassle, enabling them to book what they need, when they need it, and get all the information they require. Also, it’s better for you because it will save you time, energy and stress, as well as give you your evenings and weekends back. It will also stop you from losing customers, ensuring that your business has a more professional image while keeping your customers happy.
So, if you’re still relying on a manual booking system, maybe it’s time to explore your online booking plugin options. They’re easy to set up and connect with your calendar and payment system. Once done, you can save time and stress for years to come.