7 Online Scheduling Systems To Help You Manage Your Time

Tweet

calendarA major element of working with clients is being able to schedule phone meetings when the need arises. If you meet on an ongoing basis with clients, conduct sales calls and have subcontractors or team members you regularly meet with, you may find that you are scheduling a few meetings every week. You may be spending a lot of time managing these meetings – coordinating meeting times, confirming appointments, sending out dial-in information or other logistical details, handling cancellations and reschedule requests. It’s a lot of work!

Aside from outsourcing your scheduling duties, there are ways to make the meeting process go smoothly and take you a lot less time in the process. Using an online scheduling and calendar system is one option. You can use these tools as an internal system or even integrate them with your website so clients and colleagues can easily schedule meetings with you (without you having to handle the details). Here are a few online scheduling systems you may want to explore.

1. Appointment-plusappointment-plus

  • Branding options
  • Appointment and customer reports
  • Automatic e-mail reminders
  • PDA access
  • Schedule templates

Appointment-plus offers additional features for an extra fee, including a point of sale module, time clock, document upload, and Outlook export.

Cost: Starting at $39 per month.

2. AppointmentQuestappointmentquest

  • Sends e-mail confirmations
  • E-mail template customization
  • Synchronizes with Outlook, Palm Desktop
  • Exports to Excel, CSV and PDF
  • Customizable schedule and availability settings

For an additional fee, AppointmentQuest also provides credit card processing capabilities through several payment gateway vendors (including PayPal and Authorize.net), allowing you to collect service fees from your customers when they make appointments.

Cost: Starting at $6.59 per month.

3. Genbookgenbook

  • Synchronizes with iCalendar, Outlook and Google Calendar
  • Customize with your logo
  • Includes a customer database
  • Integrates with your website and e-mails
  • Customizable availability settings

Genbook can be integrated on your own website, or you can create a business profile page through the service that handles scheduling requests real-time.

Cost: There is a limited-function free version; paid version starts at $19.95 per month.

4. Grace Schedules Appointment Scheduling Systemgraceschedules

  • Search functionality
  • Sends e-mail confirmations
  • Printable schedules
  • Integrates with Outlook
  • Exports to Excel
  • Customizable scheme and schedule settings

One unique feature of this service is that you can purchase the script for a flat fee to modify and install on your own server.

Cost: Starting at $9.49 per month for hosted solution.

5. Shiftboardshiftboard

  • Search functionality
  • Printable calendars
  • Exports to Excel
  • Sends automatic e-mail notifications
  • Data backup and recovery options

For an additional fee, Shiftboard offers additional features including, document upload, job board tools, timesheet functionality and SSL security.

Cost: Starting at $50 per month.

6. TimeCentertimecenter

  • Includes 128-bit SSL encryption
  • Sends notifications by e-mail and text message
  • Mass e-mail capability
  • Includes a customer database
  • Customizable appointment availability

TimeCenter also includes a journal component that allows you to enter notes and comments for your meetings so you can have a refresher for each contact.

Cost: Starts at $29 per month.

7. TimeDrivertimedriver

  • Integrates with Outlook and Google Calendar
  • 128-bit SSL encryption
  • Ability to send scheduling invitations via e-mail or incorporate on website
  • Sends automatic e-mail confirmations and reminders
  • Customizable availability rules

TimeDriver also allows you to create custom e-mail invitations for special events or teleconferences and send to directly to contacts you’ve added into the system.

Cost: $29.95 per year.

With all of these options, once you handle the initial setup, the systems run themselves. So you won’t be spending time going back and forth on e-mail, trying to find common availability or juggling your appointments to accommodate reschedule requests.

Do you use an online scheduling system? Which would you recommend?

All prices listed in USD.
Image credit: Pawel Kryj

Free book: Jump Start HTML5 Basics

Grab a free copy of one our latest ebooks! Packed with hints and tips on HTML5's most powerful new features.

  • cheekymaori

    it would be cool to see a list of free online schedulers !

  • torlowski

    Glad to see that you included TimeDriver. I’ve recently started using that for one of my clients, and it’s one the most user friendly services I’ve seen in a while. Almost no learning curve, and a great price. I give it two-thumbs up!

  • Blaine

    Another really good one is 24hrassistant.com. I use it for a few projects. Super simple to add to your site.
    [i'm not affiliated]

  • Michael Wilson

    One more to add to that list is Schedulicity. It combines online scheduling and email marketing allowing service professionals to find new clients as well as strengthen the relationship with existing clients.

    Check it out at schedulicity.com

    Also, I am affiliated with Schedulicity ;-)

  • Daniel (TimeCenter)

    Hi Alyssa! Thanks for the review! I really like your articles.

  • http://www.avertua.com Alyssa Gregory

    @cheekymaori – Stay tuned…working on a list of free scheduling tools for this week.

  • Jan

    Very useful! Perhaps you could you consider putting SuperSaaS on this list, you’ve now put them on your list of the free schedulers list but their paid version is absolutely great too.

  • Paul (from Doodle)

    Hi Alyssa

    Being on of its founders and its CTO, I use and recommend Doodle.

    Cheers,
    Paul

  • Justin

    What i think is that in this digital age with increase in technologies the complexities have also summed up but one more part of the fact is that there are so many products out there today where you can easily manage your projects ant time in some really simple ways that it can help reduce various complexities to high percentages. Like in our company we used basecamp (www.basecamphq.com) for project management purposes and used some addon for the time management. Though we find out some even better product named Proofhub Proofhub (www.proofhub.com)which provided the same or you can say better services at a cheaper and effective price and without even paying for any addon. All other products except this one are either difficult to use or way too costly. Now we see that various complexities and time management problems we used to face have almost vanished to a high extent. I realy thank these products to make project management such an easy task.
    And yea thanx for the post

  • Pete

    Good list. Hopefully you will take a look at ZamaBook

    I am affiliated with ZamaBook. We also have a free version.

  • Stephen

    Great 2009 review! Thanks. Anything newer? I’ve been satisfied with Appts+ for a few years now and they are rolling out a new face with no real technical improvements IMHO and are struggling to make it functional. I can’t wait a month for them to get it right. What would you suggest today?
    I’m a sole practitioner family/marital therapist about to hire my first associate therapist and looking to grow the practice bth in # of clients and # of therapists. Thanks!

  • Magic

    Dudes and Dudettes.

    Careful what you wish for – many of these examples provide paid as well as free versions.

    In most cases the free version will create more work for the business. The business must process the incoming email, reply and confirm, and then enter the REQUEST into their schedule. This is not online booking!

    The best test is to put a stop-watch to it. If it ends up taking more time to process than simply answering a phone call then it fails the efficiency test.

    Using technology for technology’s sake is stupid.