8 Scheduling Tools For Managing Deal Customers

From the moment her daily deal with Groupon went live, Maria Camacho was flooded with calls at The Little Yoga Studio in San Diego, California. “People are like, ‘What do I do? When can I come? Do I just show up?” Busy phone lines didn’t just overburden her tiny front desk staff, they also caused frustration for longtime clients who couldn’t get through to schedule classes and ask basic questions.

Camacho’s experience is hardly unique. Local merchants that offer daily deals run the risk of alienating their current customers if they devote too much time and resources to managing their new clientele, especially in industries that require significant customer interaction. Fitness studios, salons, and other businesses in service-related fields tend to be the most effected by this phenomenon, since these merchants can expect hundreds — if not thousands — of calls and emails from new clients booking appointments and training sessions in the days after their deals have gone live.

In an effort to combat this problem and free up phone lines, a number of vendors have popped up recently offering online scheduling services and tools that reduce the heavy lifting for small business owners.

Here are eight popular scheduling systems being used by SMBs to properly manage the influx of daily deal customers.

1) Full Slate. Daily deal companies like TIPPR recommend that merchants who need help scheduling new clients use Full Slate, an online system that lets clients book their own appointments at any time, day or night. Full Slate’s self-service scheduling tools are especially useful to businesses with multiple providers that each offer their own services and prices – like salons and spas – since businesses can set-up mini-menus of services that are unique to each employee on staff.

2) Genbook. Genbook is a great solution for businesses that want a scheduling service with minimal set-up or maintenance required. By placing a “BookNow!” button on their websites, SMBs can direct customers to scheduling pages hosted by Genbook. The service currently offers a 25% discount to merchants running deals with LivingSocial.

3) Schedulicity. Small businesses that deal with frequent no-shows from coupon buyers will want to check out Schedulicity, a scheduling system that claims it can cut down on no-shows by up to 70 percent. The online appointment-booking program is great for SMBs that need an easy way to send automated text and email reminders to first-time clients.

4) Groupon Scheduler. Merchants who’ve chosen to work with Groupon can get complimentary access to the company’s scheduling software. While not as robust as competing platforms, Groupon Scheduler does have all the necessary tools for accepting appointments, sending automated reminders, and managing staff schedules online.

5) GoBook. GoBook is the scheduling component of GramercyOne‘s GoSuite, the recently announced cloud-based platform for businesses. GoBook was built for businesses that want seamless integration between their current websites and their online appointment books. GoBook operates on a “freemium” model, which makes it ideally suited for companies with small marketing budgets.

6) StyleSeat. Developed specifically for merchants in the beauty and wellness industries, StyleSeat is a comprehensive platform that can be used for online booking, as well as marketing and CRM. In addition to offering free online scheduling and sending automated appointment confirmations, reminders, and thank you messages, StyleSeat helps salons send targeted marketing emails to customers once they’ve been entered into the system.

7) Appointy. Sole proprietors that currently use Google Calendar to manage appointments will appreciate the tools offered by Appointy. The online scheduling system is linked to Google Apps and syncs with Google Calendar in real-time. Any personal events that a business owner enters into his Google Calendar will be automatically blocked out on the Appointy scheduling book.

8) Appointment-Plus. Businesses that use QuickBooks for accounting will want to check out Appointment-Plus, an online self-scheduling tool that manages payment processing, as well as client reservations and bookings. Of the systems listed here, Appointment-Plus is perhaps the best suited for larger businesses and organizations.

  1. Michael Wilson
    January 24, 2012

    Great article Stephanie! 
    I would also like to add that schedulicity offers a very specific feature to help these service AND class-based businesses to meter the inflow of appointments that come from these deals.  Here’s the article that was posted in the NY Times concerning this feature.

    We’ve recently improved ths feature to allow our clients to create their own offers and share them through their own social networks.  They decide the discount and they keep the rest.  It’s a very empowering feature.

    If you have any questions, just let me know.


    Michael Wilson
    Director of New Media
    Schedulicity, Inc.

  2. Anonymous
    January 24, 2012

    You should also check out Ravn Tools, http://business.ravn.com

  3. January 25, 2012

    Good list,
    but don’t forget http://www.bookeo.com . A full-featured appointment scheduling solution, and the only one of the group that has automatic coupon code validation. 

    The manager uploads the list of coupon codes from GroupOn, LivingSocial, etc. and customers input their coupond code when they book. Bookeo validates the codes, make sure it is not reused, and skips payment processing (unlike many services listed here, Bookeo supports paypal and credit card payments and deposits)

    We’ve been doing this for almost a year, and customers love it!

  4. Info BookItLive
    February 5, 2012

    I think you list needs a bit of an update.  http://bookitlive.net  has been booking Group Buying Deals for over 18 months

    bookitlive has teamed up with a number of
    small businesses in 2010/2011 who have used Daily Discounting Deal
    providers (Group Buying Websites) such as Groupon, Jumponit, Spreets, Local Daily Deals, Ouffer, KBGdeals, Livingsocial, Catch of the Day, Scoopon, TravelZoo, Goodypass and many more to cater for the demands of managing 100s – 1000s of bookings in a single day (short period of time).

  5. Hans Hansen
    February 17, 2012

     Good list,but don’t forget http://www.time-book.dk

  6. February 17, 2012

    but don’t forget http://time-book.dk/booking

  7. lalting52
    March 10, 2012

    The list is missing skedge.me – http://www.skedge.me   skedge.me is the biggest secret in the industry. It provides easy booking for small to medium businesses and has the robust functionality to support complex scheduling rules of large enterprises. You need to put tis on your eval list.

  8. Kathy
    September 20, 2012

    Good article. The thing that strucks me most however, is that recently up and coming softwares are not covered. Me and my wife have been always giving way to the smaller companies that seem to offer the same as the bigger ones while not being exposed to the general public. We own 2 salons. Hair and massage, in both we are using http://www.bookappo.com and we can’t be more happy. This and other smaller companies deserve more coverage.

    1. Wayne
      October 3, 2012

      I’m with you we’ve been using http://www.booktup.com and I think they suite our needs to a T

  9. Jess
    December 28, 2012

    Great article and a good list but Here’s another one to add to it http://www.booktup.com/

  10. e_mugera
    December 27, 2013

    Interesting article Stephanie! I would also add http://www.playenble.com to that list. PlayEnable offers studio management software designed for sports and fitness studios (e.g. Yoga, Personal Training, Dance), which enables appointment scheduling, location management, billing and also doubles up as a marketplace from which customers can search and book classes.

  11. Dave
    July 22, 2014

    wow so many options! I’ve been using http://www.calendarspots.com/ for years and couldn’t be happier. Clients love booking online but it really saves me time knowing that staff can log in and update their own schedules and appointments whenever there are changes

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