How to get customers to book online?
Online booking frees up your workload and brings real-time availability to the appointment booking. However, sometimes your customers don't realize how to use the convenient online appointment booking. What should you do if your customers do not use your online appointment booking service?
Your new customers find your company and book an appointment online. These customers are self-directed.
In an established business, a large part of your customers are your regular customers. They often have an established practice when it comes to booking an appointment: a new appointment is booked during the visit, the reservation is made by phone or e-mail as agreed, the customer stops by to make an appointment or the customer inquires about available times on your social media (e.g. Facebook) channel.
They act this way because they have always acted before, and they don't see anything wrong with their way of acting.
These established customers need someone to push them to start using your online booking service. When you have all of your regular clients using your booking software, you start saving your time instead of using the time creating bookings manually.
The first time is the most critical one
On average, more than 90% of consumers who have tried online appointment booking will continue to use it. Therefore, the most important thing is to get an established customer to try your online appointment booking for the first time.
More than 90% of clients who tried online booking for the first time will choose this method also next time
The best way to get your regular customers to try your online appointment booking is to offer them the some benefit. The benefit can be:
- Offer your client a discount (e.g. -10% discount for the online booker)
- Give a discount coupon for the next booking made online
- Offer more allocations online, e.g. evening times can only be booked online
- Give a free product gift for customers booking online
- Vacation season: during the employee's vacation time, the possibility of booking an appointment is only available online
Remember also tell your customers about the other benefits of online booking: real-time situation, written booking confirmation, possibility to change or cancel the booking online, booking reminders and the option of digital payment in advance.
Make online booking easy
Booking an appointment online may seem difficult or scary. That is often so because there are too many fields to fill in or sensitive information (e.g. social security number) is required.
Remember the purpose of online booking: The goal is to get the customer book with you - not with a competitor. Online appointment booking should be the easiest path for your customer.
So, only ask your customer for their name and email when booking and ask for more information later. It is a good idea to complete and request additional information from the customer only after the reservation or at the beginning of the treatment.
Online appointment booking should be the easiest way to make a booking
Also: remember that your customer may not know which service he should choose (e.g. massage or sports massage). If possible, offer as few and as simple options as possible. For example, you can combine services of the same duration under one title, for example "Massage or Sports massage 60 min".
Spread the word, inform, guide and market actively
Communicate actively about your new online appointment tool. This is the method you will get more bookings online.
Post on your social media channels you now have opened times to be booked online. Guide your customers - holding hands if necessary - to make their next booking online and offer them an attractive benefit.
Finally, replace all call-to-actions in your marketing (e.g. Contact us, Call us, Send a message, etc.) to the link to your online booking page. The simplest way to do this is to add your online appointment booking address to the top of your e-mail signature. Also, do not forget print ads and business cards: display the booking address here as well!