Modern customers expect to make appointments with you any time of day, from wherever they are. No longer do they want to wait for your regular opening hours to call up and book an appointment. In fact, one recent piece of research found that more than 90% of people would like the option of booking appointments over the internet, and 71% of millennials prefer booking online to any other approach.
If you’ve added an appointment booking widget to your website, that’s a good start. However, simply making this a possibility won’t necessarily translate to a busy calendar full of bookings. Very often, these tools are confusing and hard to use. When they force your potential customers to hand over information or involve too many steps, it’s likely people will simply leave the page.
This isn’t totally 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 personal information. Nevertheless, by changing a few things about the layout, design and information included on your scheduling page, you can see an uptick in the number of appointments people make with you.
5 reasons people drop off from booking your service online
There are many reasons a potential client might reach your online booking page then decide to go no further. Sometimes they were simply shopping around with no intention of booking your time at all. That said, resolving the following five issues can make a huge difference in the number of online bookings you receive.
1. Making them start an account up front
This is 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 for online booking. While a return customer will 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. Confusing or unfamiliar payment options
If you’re taking payments online, make it as easy as possible for new customers to part with their money while making them feel secure. We’ve all heard about online scams, so you want to make sue your customers feel totally at ease. Provide them with the common options for online payment – including PayPal and all major credit cards. Also, make sure your payment acceptance method is secure and trusted, including standard internet security certificates.
3. Ineffective copy on your page
You don’t need to be the world’s greatest writer to create effective copy that makes people want to book appointments with you. Write a short paragraph ‘about you’ and your service, explaining to 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 entails.
Also, utilize multiple ‘calls to action’ (CTAs). CTAs are usually buttons on a web page which ask the reader to do something – ‘order now’; ‘go to check out’, ‘book today for better rates’. So many businesses forget that the whole point in their website is to get visitors to do something – such as booking your time. Make it very clear for people to understand how to book your time and where they have to click in order to do so (see this article for more tips).
4. Not building trust
Building trust is so 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:
- Customer testimonials. People are way more likely to believe what your customers say about you, than what you say about you. Ask a happy customer (or two!) to provide a quote for your appointment booking page. Reading other people’s praise will may well push someone to make their appointment.
- A smart, professional photo. Who would you rather buy from? A smart, smiling person, or a bland logo? If it’s right for your business, make sure you include a picture of yourself or one of your front-of-house staff. People trust people more than logos.
- Provide an FAQ section. Answer common questions before people book with you, and they’ll immediately trust you more.
5. Make it easy to contact you
Although 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 via other mediums! 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.
Booking your services needs to be super easy
Succeeding with online booking is about making at as simple 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 booking appointments over the internet as easy and intuitive as possible.