A post about the complexities of a booking manager and how to best set one up
So, we got the phone problem licked, if you missed that, here is a link to Part 2.
Next and sort of at the same time was scheduling, managing information, and the like.
BOokeo, appointment software
We knew from the first day that we needed a way to book clients and accept payments. From past experience we had used bookeo.com in another business venture. Bookeo is a pretty good all around scheduling tool. We do not get paid toB mention them folks, they just have a product that works for us. I would go as far as saying it is pretty damn good.
- Bookeo handles scheduling with absolute ease but is a pain to setup. If you have ever dealt with company assets (bookeo calls them resources), then you probably know what we mean. If you haven’t, this kind of software uses them to distinguish between different locations within the same system while allowing similar options for each one.
- It integrates payments for credit card processing through any gateway of your choosing, PayPal, stripe, and several others. Frankly, the list of options is lengthy.
- It sends automatic emails to clients that have booked, reminders, and thanks you messages. The caveat is YOU have to set all of those up and they won’t be city specific if you are doing all this from one subscription. In other words you can’t ask for specific site reviews for anything on it’s own. We operate in four states and must included links for each account a client could review. This is okay if you use one Facebook business page because you will only be passing out that link. But, if you have two accounts in Arizona, four in Texas, etc, then you will have to incude all of those links in your review email template. If a client puts there review in the wrong one and google cannot verify it, you will never see it.
- It integrates with the calendar on your phone. This can be overwhelming but you can assign certain calendars in the system to certain calendars outside the system. I let them all go straight to my phone calendar so I can see at a glance what is happening today.
CRM or customer relationship manager
That is the good. The bad is that we were also dumb. We did not think about all the information we were not saving but were paying for. Ads cost money. Whether on Google, Facebook, or in a newspaper, they all cost. When someone calls from those ads basic information NEEDS to be gathered and entered into a CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) and saved. We use a free one called HubSpot. This thing is INVALUABLE. You can’t track everything in google because then you are leaving out Facebook or anywhere else you advertise. I can’t say enough about a CRM, but they do have a learning curve. We could probably write a week of blogs just on that one subject.
Spreadsheets become cluttered very quickly as more and more and more info is gathered. They will do the job if you are getting maybe 4 or 5 calls per day but even then, in a month you have talked to 150 people and if you aren’t well versed in the world of spreadsheets, you will get lost.
The CRM solves all of these problems, except that the booking engine we use and the CRM will never talk to each other. Without the booking engine, clients can’t book themselves or get into their account to make adjustments. The booking software we use (a website) is quite powerful but it is only going to track BOOKED clients. You will absolutely want to also track people you DID NOT book. Those people are now your warm leads waiting to be called back. Understand, they were LOOKING for a service to be done. Keep those numbers and CALL THEM BACK MONTHLY. They may have a bad experience with whomever they did hire over you and will use you next time.
Get the best booking software you can find from day one, if it has CRM capabilities, use it. Bookeo does allow for new customer info to be entered without taking on that person as a client, but it includes zero real tracking. When you can see when all client contact was made at a glance, it will be much easier to determine what to do next. You can put a person in a “drip” campaign if they have not been responsive to communications. You can dial up the pressure and work towards closing a sale. Your CRM can do ALL of this.
Oh, I just remembered, bookeo also couples with some other software like MailChimp and can be used to offer discounts or do other viral marketing. This can help spread the word of your company via social media and things like that. If you go with them, read everything you can and write to their support team if you get stuck. They have a great team and are quick to setting you back on the right path.
Use a CRM tool. Yes, it is redundant, but redundancy is not all bad. Scrub your CRM and Booking tool together once in a while to ensure you are entering the info everywhere it should be. That CRM will remind you to call them back when you said you would.
This post could go on forever with advice like: if you are in many cities don’t mention that. Many clients want to know your location, we avoid answering that by asking for their address early on and pulling up maps or a realty site to determine nearest reference city.
I digress, part 3 will be on staffing.
Links to things discussed in this post:
- Part 2 – Phone Issues and eventual Solutions
- Part 3 – Tracking and Client Booking Software
- Part 4 – Staffing Woes
- Part 5 – Dishonesty Control
- Part 6 – Advertising mistakes
- Part 7 – Social Media Disconnect
The Good from the bad.
- Part 8 – The Percentages
- Part 9 – Supply Coordination
- Part 10 – Locations
- Part 11 – Systems
- Part 12 – Debt
- Part 13 – Death and Taxes
- Damage Control and Prevention
- Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up.
- Things to Avoid altogether.
- The Best Type of Clean