Zoho Bookings: an Overview

Running a service-based business can be a daunting task, with a myriad of elements to coordinate.

For businesses of this type that require an appointment based structure, it makes coordinating these elements that much more vital. Time is an important resource, and business managers want to be sure they are effectively using this resource in order to benefit their business.  

Zoho Bookings helps with Schedule organization.
Zoho Bookings helps with Schedule organization.

In order to become more productive, many business owners are turning to reliable and intuitive appointment scheduling software to organize their processes. The software can help employees and customers plan appointments, optimize the business schedule, and effectively utilize time. Zoho Bookings was constructed to help businesses achieve this and more.

This article will give an overview of Zoho Bookings as well as it’s features, integration capabilities, and subscription options.        

Zoho Bookings

Zoho Bookings was designed to help service businesses manage employees and appointments through the use of online appointment scheduling software. Managing any type of session can be a demanding task; as is the coordination of employees, assets, and available time. This tool gives businesses a space to publish their service offerings online and allows customers to choose a service, find an available time, and book the appointment from the comfort of their own home. Zoho Bookings strives to help businesses, employees, and customers, use the most precious resource available to us all: time.

Features

The suite of features offered by Zoho Bookings helps both businesses and customers achieve a hassle-free appointment scheduling experience. These features include:

– Calendar Synchronization

– Team Schedule Management  

– Custom Booking Page

– Personalized Appointment Reminders

– Reports

– Integration

Let’s go into more detail:

Calendar Synchronization

As business professionals, work life can get hectic. With all the meetings and daily work activities that they go through on a daily basis, professionals rely on their calendar to ensure that structure is in place. Zoho Bookings helps keep this structure and build upon it through the synchronization of professional calendars.

Zoho Bookings syncs it’s calendar with Zoho Calendar, Google, Office 365, and other calendar applications to ensure all appointments are made around a specific schedule. The user can define what hours of the day are dedicated to work and what hours are needed for breaks so to ensure that they are only getting booked for their service when their schedule deems the time slot available. The software helps avoid last minute bookings, as it gives you the ability to set a scheduling window for clients to book appointments.

Speaking of last minute, Zoho Bookings offers the user the ability to specify a certain time before their appointment that they can cancel or reschedule. There is also an option to require customers to put down a partial payment or full deposit. The motive here is to discourage any last minute cancellations and to express the value of your time.

Team Schedule Management

WIth any business that has multiple departments, employees, and service offerings, managing everyone’s schedules can be quite complex. This software helps organize employee’s service offerings, synchronize their schedules, and manage their availability all in one space. Through the synchronization capabilities of the software, the manager can view all team members’ schedules from the main dashboard, edit upcoming appointments, or add new ones.   

The manager is also able to assign each department their own workspace in Bookings, including their own booking page, and a custom log-in/calendar view for each team member in the department. The manager can even showcase each team member’s individual specialties, highlighting their skillset, and making it easier for customers to book a service provider that fits their needs. Specialty skills typically do not come cheap, Bookings can add a premium to a team member’s services so that businesses are getting the deserved price.

With all departments and team members in one space, Zoho Bookings helps keep the internal workings of the business operating smoothly.  

Custom Booking Page

After the Zoho Bookings registration process is completed, businesses are able to fully customize their booking page. Managers can create three types of booking pages: service, department, or team member. Each comes with their own URL that can be sent to customers in order to streamline the appointment booking process.  

Businesses can extend the reach of their brand by incorporating the company logo, colour, and other company imagery into the booking page. Customers will experience a consistent brand message at every turn of the company website. The customizable feature provides an opportunity to increase SEO efforts as well, as businesses can map their custom domain and integrate the booking page with the site. It’s a great way to keep the URL consistent throughout the whole sight and boost SEO.

If you lack the creativity to design your own page, Zoho Bookings comes with pre-designed themes for a swift creation process

Notifications

It’s frustrating for both customers and service providers when one side forgets about the appointment. Zoho Bookings reduces the amount this happens with it’s appointment confirmation emails and texts. The software can be programmed to automatically send team members and customers notifications via email or text regarding an appointment booking, cancellation, rescheduling, or completion. Each message can be personalized for the customer, and designed to incorporate the company’s imagery to increase brand awareness.

Zoho Bookings can send several reminders at different intervals to ensure that the appointment is never forgotten. An SMS the night before the appointment could yield the best results, as this gives them ample time to prepare and research shows that people open SMSes more than emails.

Appointment reminders are vital for any business looking to reduce the amount of appointment no-shows.

Zoho Bookings helps with appointment reminders.
Zoho Bookings helps with appointment reminders.

Reports

Zoho Bookings can generate comprehensive reports using the data collected within the software to give businesses a more comprehensive look at their processes. The reports can give a more detailed look at appointments, services, staff members, and overall business revenue. It can be used to sort through the database of customers to look for booking patterns, to analyze the most profitable services, and to see which staff members are the most popular among clients.

Analyzing appointments by status gives organizations a chance to discover if any improvements need to be made within the company. Businesses can filter through no-shows, cancelled, and rescheduled appointments, and look to see what can be done throughout the process that would reduce incidents of this kind.

With Zoho Bookings reports, businesses will have the analytical data they need to help solve problems and plan for the future.

Integration

While Zoho Bookings integration capabilities are plenty, two of the most notable applications within the suite of Zoho One products that prove to complement the software the best are: Zoho CRM and Zoho Meeting. Bookings and CRM can be linked to update existing client information and add new ones for email contacts and lead generation. Meeting and Bookings can be linked to provide services through live meetings or help clients schedule a booking through the meeting link.

Much like any product under the Zoho One umbrella, Zoho Bookings can be synced with almost any third party application.

Other Features

  • Use Zoho Bookings APIs to build a custom scheduling interface or to bring Bookings into a different application.
  • Extend Zoho Bookings through the use of workflows
  • Create a portal for VIP customers to log in, book appointments, and view appointment history
  • Offers appointments for group meetings (great for fitness studios or any other business that offers services in a group setting)
  • Mobile applications for both IOS and Android

Cost and Pricing

Zoho Bookings offers three different subscription plans built to cater to service providers of any size:

Free Plan

The free plan offered by Zoho Bookings is great for the sole proprietor with no other employees. The free plan contains all of the basic features, such as: customizable booking pages, automated reminder emails, and one-on-one service bookings. The drawback is that it is limited to only one staff member and one department.

Basic Plan – $20/month

What the free plan lacks, the basic plan makes up for with a bundle of more features. This plan includes 4 staff members and gives the business the ability to add more staff for an extra $5/month. This is where businesses will be able to sync Bookings with Zoho CRM, as well as receive detailed appointment reports. Businesses are still limited to just one department through this plan.

Premium Plan – $60/month

The premium plan is where businesses and clients get the full suite of Zoho Bookings offerings. 10 staff are included as well as 3 departments, with the ability to add another for $6/staff/month and $10/month respectively. Online payment is accessible, reports on revenue, customizable text notifications and a stack of other features. This is an ideal plan for larger businesses with multiple departments looking to manage staff, appointments, and business processes effectively and to the best of their ability. For more information regarding Zoho Bookings, to get a free Zoho Bookings demo, or to see the other business solutions Zoho One has to offer, check out their site today.   

Ultimately, if you’re interested in any Zoho application, finding a Zoho Authorized Partner will help with implementation. Check out our article, Zoho Authorized Partners & What you need to Know.

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