For small businesses, your main marketing goal is finding new customers and getting them to book your services. Most business owners try to accomplish this by getting to know their customers, being there for them, and answering all of their questions and concerns. This tactic of being personal and reliable is well intentioned, but it can sometimes result in businesses getting trapped in a cycle of communication and reassurance with their customers, spending hours a day on the phone; booking appointments, reminding customers of appointments, giving directions, and confirming meeting times.
Being on the phone is a huge waste of time for businesses. Not only does being on the phone limit customers to only schedule during business hours, but it also makes interactions way longer than they would be than if it were accomplished through an email, text or other online communication. This is why so many companies have turned to online booking as a way to get customers off the phone and onto their website.
Getting your customers used to the idea of booking online can be difficult if they are in the habit of calling your business and talking to humans, but it usually only takes a few months for a successful switch over if you make sure to do it right. Here are some tips on how to get your customers off the phone and booking online without losing any business in the process.
- Make booking online easier than a phone call
The main reason why people prefer talking on the phone to booking online is because they find online booking options confusing or unreliable.
As a business owner, you know that this is not the case. Booking over the phone is time consuming both for you and your customer, and adds extra steps and hassles that are much more easily avoided through booking online. However, if your website does not make booking online as easy, intuitive, and clear as possible, your customers will not trust the system and will continue to call.
The key to encouraging your customers to book online is to make the experience something they are comfortable doing– even more comfortable than being on the phone. The best way to do this is to get a booking software that has an intuitive interface and very simple directions.
Booking apps like BookLikeABoss offer an interface that is very intuitive for users as it closely resembles the interfaces of Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and other social media accounts that customers are already familiar with. It also makes booking very clear and easy with a visual aid of a calendar already on the page.
By creating a separate booking page that people feel comfortable with, and making the process easy and intuitive, you will ease your customers into trusting the experience of booking with you.
- Answer questions online
Another common reasons why customers call a business is because they have questions that they can’t find the answer to online. The best way to avoid this is to have an FAQ page that is actually helpful.
Many FAQ pages are out of date, lazily put together, and of no real help to the customer. Make sure you have an FAQ page that looks up to date and trustworthy, answers common questions, and offers a reliable email address where customers can ask further questions.
Don’t make the FAQ page so long that customers have to dig through it in order to find answers, but make sure it gets to the meat of common booking issues. If you take the time to create a truly useful FAQ page, you will reduce the amount of phone calls you get and save yourself time and money.
- Leave no room for doubt
Lastly, if you’re going to offer online booking services, you need to make sure that your customers receive confirmations and reminders that reassure them they booked successfully.
All booking services should come with an instant confirmation email that is sent to your customer’s email address, confirming their appointment and reminding them of their time so that they don’t have any doubt about their appointment. It’s also helpful to send out reminder emails a few days before the appointment in order to remind and reassure your customer.
These little details will make a big difference to first time customers that want to be sure the online service worked the way it was supposed to. They will also reduce the amount of phone calls you get of people wanting to be reassured by talking to a person.
At the end of the day, succeeding in moving your booking services online is all about creating a system that is intuitive, reliable, and comprehensive. If you make sure your online booking is a positive experience, you will see that your customers prefer it to speaking on the phone as well.