Ingvar Gudmundsson, founder of SimplyBookMe, believes some simple features can be transformational for a microbusinesses.
Micro-businesses are vital performers in the UK economy. They make up 96% of its businesses, 33% of its employment and 22% of its turnover. Yet while a growing number of them are now accessing the tools they need to grow their business, there remains so much untapped potential. Here are five features that can transform the way you work.
Appearances matter, but in Business they matter a lot. Thankfully, the task of constructing a website is no longer just the domain of front-end developers. Customizable templates now mean that you can insert logos, photos and even videos into an admin interface and have a website up and running in minutes. You can customise it to get the look and feel you are after in line with your brand – and create a great first impression for your customers.
A well-organised booking website can be quite comprehensive, it may even mean you don’t need another website to worry about, but they can also seamlessly integrate into one you already have.
A booking service can be the backbone of a microbusiness. It’s the tool by which you connect the customer and the service provider. To the modern consumer, who deeply values their time, a simple and easy interface makes a massive difference. If you already have your own website then you can also easily integrate a booking system into it using an iframe, and if you are using Wordpress or Joomla there are also plugins. It’s easier than it sounds.
From there you can set up custom features like a booking button to direct them to a booking page or produce a popup overlay. Bookings can also easily be introduced to your Facebook page with a Call to Action button (CTA), and depending on your business, a client login can be added to only allow members to book in.
You can create your own booking form from here that requests the information you need, alongside the times appointments are available. And why not attach a sell on service with your booking such as new shampoo if someone has just booked a haircut?
Email & SMS Reminders
This is an essential service to consider automating and one that can save you both time and valuable revenue. If your client books through your system, they automatically receive an email with the details of their booking and your own customized wording.
This can be followed by email or SMS reminders to protect you from missed appointments. You can even easily create Come Book Soon notifications, which remind someone when they might need to reuse your services. This could be in the form of an email or text sent four weeks after someone has visited your barbers for example, it’s a powerful tool to create loyalty and protect your revenue, the longer the customer waits the fewer appointments you can fit in for the rest of the year.
If you do choose an automated booking system, be aware you can record all your payments as well as your appointments in the same system. This doesn’t just make your life a lot easier at the end of January but operates like an automated accountant that tracks all your earnings. Most systems available have the option to input data as well so all your dealings are in one place, with easy to read graphs and charts to bring it to life.
As well as that, why not spruce things up with a morning report? This can include your appointments for the day, estimated earnings and projections for the month. If you are someone who always worries about money, why not let your business analytics take care of it for you.
Customer support is at the heart of any business and is something that should never be overlooked. Customers want to feel important and the whole point of automating your business with these features is to make your life and their life easier.
As well as an email address, you can also provide a live chat to engage with your customers. Don’t be too intimidated by this prospect, It can help give your customers a voice and if you are running a smaller company, a great way to keep that human touch.
However, if like most microbusinesses time is your most precious resource as you balance family and the business, there are already plenty of easy-to-use and cost-effective Chatbots out there that can fit to your business needs. Almost everyone who uses messaging these days is willing to talk to a Chatbot and if your customer base is mostly millennials, this could have a hugely positive effect on how they view your business. It’s just another of the features that can help transform your business.
SimplyBookMe is an SAAS appointment booking business which champions tens of thousands of small of businesses around the world including in America, Australia, Canada and the UK.
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