Why a Booking Widget is Critical for your Service Business in 2019

Do you have a website where you promote your service business? Do you want your customers to book their appointment through your website? Is it even possible?

You can bet your tax return that it is!

This is what a booking widget is for. A booking widget (like PocketSuite’s own booking widget) is a plugin used for websites. When embedded on a website, your customers can just click and they will be redirected to your booking page where your availability and schedule is shown.

Is it free? Yes and No.

You need to have an appointment app subscription in order to get a booking widget plugin. The booking widget plugins differ for each scheduling app, and so are the ways and methods of utilizing them for your business and setting them up.

Before picking a booking widget, check first if you can easily set it up on your own.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Booking Widget

There are a lot of questions to ask yourself when it comes to choosing a booking widget. The problem is choosing the right booking widget that will work with your service business. Before adding a booking widget to your website, you should consider these things first.

  • The type of service business you have
  • The features of the booking widget
  • The compatibility of the booking widget with your service business website
  • Ease of use
  • Number of access points for staff or logins available
  • Flexibility to customize

To help you make a decision, we searched for the top booking widgets on online. Considering features and ease of use, here are the top 10 booking widgets that we found.

Squareup

Squareup is a booking widget that you can add to any website. It works with Squarespace, WordPress, Wix, and Weebly. This booking widget makes booking easier for people who need to schedule their dental checkup or for house cleaning. This booking widget is easy to use. Once you’ve added it on your service business website, your customers can simply click on it if they want to make an appointment. All available schedules will be shown on the booking page. An indicator shows if the date and time are available.

Features

  • It comes with a personalized ‘book now’ button
  • Easy to use even for elderly folks and non-tech savvy individuals
  • Provides options like highlighting the names of your service business staff (for customers to choose from)
  • Sends out automated reminders to customers with upcoming bookings
  • You can personalize the calendar

Mindbody

This booking widget is easy to add to any website and is easy to use. Mindbody also allows widget customization so you can change the calendar’s color or the font. The limiting aspect of this booking widget is that it only allows one booking at a time. If two of your customers booked at the same time, chances are, it will not work or they will get an error.

Features

  • It allows your client to choose their preferred staff from your service business
  • It has neat options for listing staff names (alphabetically or by availability)
  • The booking interval option can be turned on for this booking widget

Bookly

Bookly is a booking widget with full features. It’s basically like having an appointment app on your website. However, this booking widget is not cheap. It is a good widget app choice to use if your website’s platform is WordPress.

Features

  • A booking widget that sends SMS notifications automatically
  • Processes payments
  • It syncs with Google calendar
  • Your clients can book multiple appointments at once
  • It is available in 10 languages (translation-ready)

Launch27

Launch 27 allows your customer to choose their schedule when booking an appointment with you. This booking widget can be embedded as a booking form to your service business site. You can also add a link to the Launch27 booking page if there is not enough room on your service business website to fit the booking form.

Features

  • Easy to use
  • Minimal design to make booking easier even for non-tech savvy folks
  • It sends automatic reminders to booked customers

Jobber

If you are running a service business where your staff is always on the go, you should check out Jobber. Service business providers that do home service (technicians, cleaning) can use Jobber on their phone to check their next job order.

Features

  • Integrated with other apps like payment apps or any marketing tools
  • Easy to use
  • Send out automated reminders to both staff and clients

BirchPress

BirchPress is a popular WordPress plugin and booking widget that offers professional booking management assistance. This booking widget can be embedded on the WordPress platform. Once a customer books a service on your website, you can add an option to collect payment via PayPal or credit card.

Features

  • Customers can book appointments easily
  • It syncs with Google Calendar and Outlook
  • You can choose to have a customized email notification sent to your clients regarding their booking
  • This booking widget also has a reminder feature about your upcoming schedule

Booki

If your service business deals with reservations and appointments in order to run smoothly, you could check out Booki. Booki is a booking widget that can be used by service business providers in the industry of hospitality, resorts, driving lessons, hair stylists, and more.

Features:

  • Unlimited booking options
  • This booking widget syncs with Google calendar
  • Sends automated confirmation for every booking
  • Comes with different calendar modes
  • Can process payments
  • Sends a reminder for each appointment (customized or automated)

Bookeo

Bookeo is a booking widget that you can integrate with your service business to make scheduling of appointments easier. Your customers can just click on the ‘book now’ button and they will get directed to the Bookeo calendar page. When integrated, your page URL or domain name won’t be affected hence your customers can still see your website’s name and not the Bookeo booking widget URL. Note: You cannot use Bookeo appointment app on your service business website if you have a Bookeo booking widget or vice versa.

Features:

  • Customizable booking widget on your website (you can even change the color and font size)
  • Customizable calendar page for booking (only shows what you want to show like available dates for the day, week, or month)
  • Customizable booking page
  • Easy to use for service business customers

Bookme

For a streamlined and easy to use booking page, you can try Bookme. Bookme is a booking widget that works across different platforms. By clicking on Bookme, your customers can check if there are available booking slots that they can reserve. For example: Say you are a cleaning service business provider. Your customers can easily check your availability and book right onto your schedule. Presto!

Features

  • Available appointment dates are made visible while taken dates are greyed out (to avoid double booking)
  • Provides access to multiple service business staff members, if needed
  • Sends out a customized email notification
  • The appearance of the ‘book now’ button for this booking widget is customizable

PocketSuite

The PocketSuite booking widget allows service business websites to have a customized ‘book now’ button. With a customized booking widget, your clients or new leads can easily pick an appointment. With PocketSuite, your customers won’t have to call anymore to make their bookings. A click of their mouse or a tap on their phone can easily lead them to your booking page where they can schedule an appointment, register for a class, or purchase a package from you.

Features

  • Allows multiple booking widgets in a single service business page
  • This booking widget allows you to have customized online forms and e-contracts
  • It provides a unique booking widget code that you can place on your email or your service business Facebook page, Instagram page, or website
  • Can process payments
  • Compatible with different hosting platforms like Wix, Weebly, WordPress, Webs, GoDaddy, and Squarespace
  • Overall has the most features for the best price.

When it comes to a booking widget, there are at least 100 options out there. Before you pick a booking widget, make sure to learn more about the features.

There are booking widgets that are specifically designed for a particular service business only. So make sure you check out one of our recommended ones first!

Ready to accept payments from customers with your brand spankin’ new booking widget? Great, now it’s time for a victory dance!

Like this article? You’ll love our guide on how to generate leads for service businesses in 2019, and of course our Frustrations with Square article!

What is Business Messaging

A new category of communication has arrived…It’s called “Business Messaging” and it’s designed for busy professionals and business owners.
If you find yourself asking “What the heck is Business Messaging?”, the answer is simple:

A mobile messaging tool to help your business make more money

Business Messaging focuses on 3 core benefits that can instantly bring your business out of the ancient technological traps of SMS and email, and delight clients (both old and new) to help your business make more money.

People in the 21st century want instant gratification more than ever.

Faster Customer Responses

That means, any inquiry or question a customer (or prospect) sends to a business, they want a response ASAP. The longer the client has to wait for a response, the higher the likelihood of the client moving on to another business.

To enable you (the business or professional) to respond as fast as possible to customers, you need to make sure you’re getting notified. In order to do that, you need to make sure your client list is organized so you can actually response as fast as possible.

The first key to delivering an instant customer response is being notified when the client reaches out.

That means ANY time a client wants to contact you (whatever the context may be), you need to get notified immediately — whether you’re sitting at a desk or out with another client.

This is where email falls short. You don’t want clients who shoot you an email or who fill out a form on your website, to have to wait for you to happen to pull out your phone and load your emails and then respond. This creates pockets of delays where clients can be waiting hours or even days to get a response.

Not only that, but with email spamming being a reality of life these days, parsing through unwanted emails to find your urgent client emails can be huge a time suck.

This bring up point #2 in delivering faster customer responses:

Client Organization

Email, yes, can have spam intermixed with customers. But even worse is SMS text message — not so much the spam aspect of it, but more so personal distractions.

80% of business owners we talk to use text message as their primary way of communicating with clients. The issue there becomes – on your texting feed, you’ll have a client, then a friend, maybe a family member. Your private life conversations and business get mixed together.

This creates (at no fault of your own, to be clear) an unorganized feed of your life’s thread of communications.

Not having a single, instantly accessible area where ONLY your customer messaging and history flows into, creates a problem. It’s a problem because:

  • You’re unaware immediately when you hear a text come through if it’s a client or friend or family member pinging you
  • You cannot prioritize messages to be followed up with in a regular SMS feed
  • Spend time scrolling and searching through a mix of people to find specific customers
  • Can only access a client’s message history — not calls, notes, payments, or anything else relevant to that client

A way some business owners get around this is to shell out  another $500+ on a new phone (for “business”). Then you’re permanently stuck carrying around 2 devices at all times: one for business, one for pleasure.

These days are now over.

Business Messaging keeps all your client communication in a central, mobile location. This will give you instant and organized access to all your customer’s needs. This makes your life less stressful while keeping your clients happily attended to.


A More Organized Day

Today’s modes of client communication are all handicapped mainly because they only do one thing: communicate.

We (over at PocketSuite) don’t really see any particular reason for why that has to be the case.

With your client communication (whatever that may be: phone, email, text, a fancy CRM system, etc.) being focused on just communication, then you depend on other tools for relevant information about each customer. That information includes customer:

  • Payment history
  • Upcoming appointments
  • Detailed notes
  • Signed contracts
  • Referrals
  • Call logs

Logistics and payments are all integral parts of any conversation you have with a client. Thus, these important items should be naturally weaved into the conversation and easily accessible by both you and your client.

Business Messaging does just that — it integrates all crucial transactional information into each customer message thread. WITHIN a conversation, you can transact with said client, while at the same reference important information about said client.

Combining all this information into one place that is instantly accessible anywhere turns today’s business owner into an efficiency machine.

Accessibility 24/7

Homeowners have graduated from having to flip through a single Yellow Pages book to search for a local business to hire.

With the growth of discovery platforms online, the ability for you to reach moreof your addressable customer market is easier than ever.

But that also means that clients are going to be reaching out to you on a LOT more platforms. That includes:

As you expand your business presence online, you’ll be receiving more and more incoming messages, inquiries, questions, quote requests, leads, and more, from a whole host of platforms. Each one of these different platforms has apps, account log-ins, special email addresses, etc.

Business Messaging reduces the mess and consolidates all incoming requests – no matter where they are coming from – into a single, organized channel.

Business Messaging comes with messaging widgets that can be placed as links practically anywhere. From a single website, social media, directory to a lead gen platform. That means, that no matter WHERE a customer finds you, all their reach-outs will be directed into your Business Messaging feed.

This allows you to respond smartly and instantly to any new customer coming your way. You are 100% accessible so a new customer never slips through the cracks, and a repeat customer never feels ignored.

Smartphones Beat PCs in Speed, Cost, Convenience

Frustrating Slow PCs

WHY THIS IS HUGE NEWS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

The release of the iPhone X has proven one major headline: smartphones are now faster than PCs.

Chips inside computers and smartphones are referred to as central processing units, or “CPUs”. The faster and higher quality they are, the quicker your PC or smartphone runs. The CPU inside the new iPhone X is referred to as the “A10” chip, and that chip not only outpaces all other Android smartphones, but it has now caught up with Intel’s laptop CPUs.

That means that common tasks are (for the most part) now faster to perform on your mobile device than on your desktop or laptop. Retail consumption trends show just how important processing speed really is, with people are buying smartphones at five times the rate they are acquiring new PCs. iPhones alone saw 75 million shipments last quarter vs. 72 million for PCs.

But it’s not just your average consumer buying up more iPhones and smartphones for their day-to-day enjoyment. Small businesses and professionals are now flocking to this newest wave of faster and more powerful technology.

Speed and Power

Speed and power are crucial and a much-needed added benefit to today’s small business owner.

If your business runs faster and more efficiently, you have more time to grow.

Many businesses and on-the-go professionals have been resorting to their laptops to deal with customer transactions. The speed and flexibility of their PCs were providing platforms for scheduling, invoicing, contracts, etc. Despite being on their feet and in the proverbial field each day, mobile was not quiteadvanced enough to support all their real-time needs.

As the power of smartphones has now surpassed that of the most popular computers, the adoption of mobile in business continues to see an upward trajectory. It’s perfectly natural for home and local businesses to want to have the fastest, most capable, and most convenient tool at their fingertips to stay ahead of their competition. In fact, they deserve it.

Hardware-less

The lighter you are, the faster you move.

Small businesses are shifting in droves from lugging around laptops (and even tablets), to moving towards the more practical, lighter-weight tools.

The iPhone X, for example, has now removed the need for wired headphones by removing the jack. This is a major step towards something bigger than just mobile – wireless. The indirect result means that other clunky hardware like Square swipers will soon be defunct as the business world continues to turn light-weight.

Shedding excess baggage and hardware weight gives mobile professionals the agility they need to better serve their clients. This leaves much more time and energy to focus on the day to day business and clientele… the real revenue driver.


All-in-One

The fundamental offering of any smartphone is the combining of the most basic workflows. From being a communication device, location awareness, to a high resolution camera.

Native and 3rd-party applications further build on top of this foundation. Specifically for businesses includes tasks like note-taking, scheduling, payments, client management, and more.

The advancement in smartphone technology actually presents an exponential benefit for small businesses. That is to say, it doesn’t just make a single workflow faster – it makes all of your daily workflows faster.

This small device supports all your core workflows on a single device. Professionals are starting to save tremendous amounts of time by taking care of all client related things in the palm of their hand. The beauty is without going back to their desk to use their computer or a pen and paper.

In addition to a time saver, moving mobile is a cost saver. Instead of paying thousands for the newest PC, any business owner can pay just hundreds for a powerful smartphone. And instead of paying for 5 different workflow tools, mobile apps can now support all core workflows in a single app. For less.

The Future of Work

The future of work and business is fast. It’s cost-efficient, time-efficient and mobile.

Small business owners and freelance professionals alike are growing to accept today’s mobile world. This is not just due to the aforementioned benefits above. Their clients have come to accept this as the norm.

The average consumer and homeowner checks their phone 85 times a day. It’s convenient, it’s with them at all times, and it’s enjoyable to interact with. The increasingly accepted mode of consumer communication is SMS text, with phone calls and emailing on the secular decline .

As more professionals make the switch from PCs to now faster smartphones, that allows them to further engage clients on their device of preference – mobile. Happy clients turns into to more referrals, which means more revenue.

4 Ways Calendar Sync Can Make You More $$$

Sync your Calendars

Syncing your work calendar with your personal calendar is crucial when it comes to running an efficient business (and a functional life!).

Make sure you’ve synced your calendar in PocketSuite (or any other calendar tool you are using), to maximize the $$$’s in your pocket.

Here are some awesome benefits to syncing your calendar…

Reduce your Client Churn

Opportunity cost is a fancy term used for simply “missing out”.

If your calendars are not synced, then you can miss out big time on a client and new business. Huge opportunity cost.

Imagine this when dealing with a new client…

You ask a new client what time next week works for them to meet. Or better yet, you share your calendar with that new client. They choose a date and time that appears free, the client is happy, you’re happy.

Fast forward a couple days, and you look at your personal calendar and see you actually have a lunch scheduled that day. Or a doctor’s appointment. Or you have to pick your kids up at school. Or you have family in town.

Your next move is to being forced to tell that new client that you’re actually NOT available during the time you initially said you were. Meaning, your client has to re-think their entire schedule too.

Not only that, but questions arise in your client’s head:
— Is this business owner not organized?
— Will he or she reschedule on me again?
— Is their behavior now going to be similar to the quality of their work?

Your client could very well “churn”. Meaning, you ask to reschedule, and you never hear from the client again.

If you’re lucky, then you can reschedule with the client, but they’re not going to be happy.

And if they do churn, then that’s you “missing out” on a new client that could put $$$ in your pocket.

Eliminate the Back and Forth Plague

Let’s return to the aforementioned client example.

If that client doesn’t churn, then that’s great news! 

Unfortunately, here comes the rescheduling work…

Frustrated, your client will then ask about another date & time in the future that might work. You’ll have to check not just your work calendar but also your personal calendar to ensure there’s not conflict that day. That’s 2x the work on 2 calendars.

If there’s a conflict, then you’ll have to search some more on your 2 calendars to find a couple other dates/times that might work for that client.

At some point the client will hopefully find a time that will work for them.

However the back-and-forth time spent is killer, and it’s not necessarily a fun or convenient experience for any new customer.

Get Booked while you Sleep

Imagine a world where you felt like you had a personal assistant who never bothered you, who you didn’t have to pay for, and who you didn’t even know existed.

If you share a sync’d calendar clients – then you’ve accomplished just that. 

You’ve got your powerful, invisible, free personal assistant.

A major competitive advantage you can reap as a busy professional is not just syncing your calendars, but sharing your sync’d availability with clients.

You can do this by adding online scheduling to your website, Facebook page or Instagram page (if you’ve got one). You can also send (via SMS text or email) your availability via a URL or booking link to customers.

Sounds advanced, but it’s really not.

Interested clients never need to call you to ask when you’re free; or email you asking what times work. Your calendar can answer all those scheduling questions upfront with a simple availability view. Bonus: You can get new clients put on your calendar while you’re busy with another client…or while you sleep.

These are just some simple strategies to help share your true availability with the world – minimal effort for you, but goes a long way for immediate scheduling (and payment) efficiencies for your business.

Keep your Personal Life Sane

Whether you’ve got kids, a spouse, friends, hobbies or anything else that might take up your time other than work – you want to make sure things run smoothly in your personal life. 

I’m sure your family will appreciate knowing when they can spend time with you.

I have a feeling your friends don’t want you cancelling their plans.

If your personal life starts conflicting with your work life, then that puts you in an awkward position where you have to choose.

Do you pick another customer paycheck? Or do you pick spending more time with your family?

Don’t put yourself in that position to choose.

Make sure that your personal and professional calendars are sync’d so that you never have to make that fateful decision of getting double-booked, and disappointing someone important to you.

The happier your home life is, the better you’ll feel. Positive energy will translate to better work, thus happier clients, and more referrals 🙂