It always annoys me when I want to make an appointment, whether it be for a haircut or a doctor’s visit, and I go online to make said appointment only to find that the company or provider doesn’t offer eBookings. You would think that, if airlines have managed to do it, most businesses might have followed suit by now. Online scheduling software enables customers to book appointments from their browser, reducing friction for them, and streamlining workflow for SMBs. And, hey, even Siri can schedule appointments.
Of course, for SMBs, adding a scheduling option to their website can be a pain in the ass. Or, at least the prospect of building a calendar app/module can feel like a pain in the ass. Which is why there are companies like Genbook, which offer local merchants the ability to automate their appointment scheduling through cloud-based software that can integrate with SMBs’ existing software — or allow them to introduce that capability.
Genbook’s solution adds a “BookNow” button to merchants’ websites and Facebook Pages, so that customers can scroll through available times, schedule and confirm their appointments with a few clicks. The online appointment and CRM platform is accessible from any computer, iPad or iPhone or Android smartphone, and for merchants, Genbook automatically collects and publishes customer reviews to help promote local merchants within their communities. And they’re genuine reviews, not just canned comments.
While Genbook has competitors like Schedulicity, Appointy, and BookFresh, each of which offers a similar service with varying limitations on how much functionality you’ll get for free (Genbook is free for 30 days, and then it’s $20 a month after that), the startup seems to be having some success. (Even though a lot of startups have opted for freemium plans to monetize, and I’d like to see Genbook do the same.)
Today, Genbook is announcing that it has scheduled over 10 million appointments for SMBs in the U.S., and has scheduled more appointments in 2011 than in any of the four years it’s been around. Just in October, local businesses scheduled 500,000 appointments.
The cloud scheduling platform has attracted 5,000 customers, which it says consists of businesses like massage therapists, spas, photographers, chiropractors, etc. — obviously any small company that requires appointments to do business.
And for those SMBs, as one can imagine, this can have a positive effect on their bottom lines, as scheduling software that lets customers book in realtime, at any time of day, can prevent no-shows and reduce friction. What’s more, plugging that capability into a social network via Facebook Pages, for example, extends the reach and can presumably provide a boost to customer acquisition.
And at less than $250 a year for solo operators and less than $500/year for SMBs, it’s not a bad deal. For more on Genbook, check out the video below: