Best Scheduling Tools and How To Pick the Right One for You [ORIGINAL]

We ran a series of interviews with 20 of our hairstylists.

During these interviews, we asked questions about blog posts that stuck in these stylists' memories, posts that they would like to see and overall anxieties and frustrations about being a hairstylist.

The following is blog post #2 in a series on How to Solve the Problem of Late Customers.

If you haven’t read blog post #1, click here.

Synopsis:

The information presented is based upon the latest research in psychology and business.

There are three main points to consider when choosing a appointment tracking tool:

  1. Too many choices could leave you anxious and unhappy
  2. Nobody else but you knows which tool gets the job done for you
  3. You not only need the right tool but a method to determine which tool is right for you

To read about the best tools as well as a method for exactly how to determine which tool is best for you, read the full article!

Let’s imagine…

... for a moment that you are a hair stylist, and you’re just getting the hang of your business. A few customers have been late from time to time, but you’ve laid out clear expectations with them and now they’re slowly starting to show up earlier and earlier. But it’s still taking a toll on your productivity and making you work longer hours than you might have expected. You have some free time, so you decide to do a quick Google search on “how to get my customers to show up on time”

This is what you find:

how to get my customers to show up on time

You get hit with 471 million results. Well, after reading about 7 ways to do this and 30 ways to do that, you get frustrated and overwhelmed, in which case you decide “okay, I just need an app or something to help make scheduling easy!”

So what do you do? Google that, of course! And here’s what you find:

best app for scheduling

You get hit with a bunch of ads, scroll up and down here and there and pretty soon your free time is over.

What’s the issue here? Well, according to American psychologist Barry Schwartz, the feeling of anxiety and being overwhelmed is caused by The Paradox of Choice. In his book, he describes that having options is great but having too many options wastes our time and takes too much decision making and will power.

There are SO many tools out there for scheduling and appointment setting, it’s a bit ridiculous. And spending time researching through all of them you could fall into the paradox of choice. Many sources give you their recommendations, but how do they know what YOU need? You need to have a method for deciding which tool is right for you.

Solution:

Here is how you decide which product is right for you, according to Schwartz’s research - remember that Schwartz is the author of The Paradox of Choice described above:

1. List out the criteria you will use to determine if the tool is successful

    • Because I’m not you, I wanted to get inside the minds of others like you who might be looking for a tool to get the same job of having customers hold their appointments done effectively. Based upon the rankings of reviews on this platform, I’ve listed out a fairly accurate depiction of the relative importance of each goal in the table below.

    2. Evaluate how important each goal is on a scale of 1-5 relative to the other goals

      • The rankings of 1-5 are based upon 5 being the most important and 1 being the least. The numbers I’ve used are not made up. They come from the research done in step 1, so you CAN use this as an accurate way to decide which tool is best for you. However, you must see for yourself if the importance rating I came up with matches your own. If not, then you can adjust it to fit your wants and needs. For example, you might rate “specific to hair stylists” and “mobile app capabilities” as 3 and 3 instead of 5 and 4.

      (a-h)

      Goal

      Importance (1-5)

      a

      It has a free trial period

      5

      b

      Specific to hair stylists

      5

      c

      Easy to learn

      5

      d

      Sends out automatic reminders to my customers

      4

      e

      Mobile app capabilities

      4

      f

      Customers don’t need to make a login

      3

      g

      Can process payments

      3

      h

      Can sync up with my current calendars

      3

      Total: 32

       

      3. List out the options for tools that you have

        4. Evaluate how many features are likely to be met by each tool

          • I went to each tool’s product feature page to determine this.

          5. Pick the winning option by adding up the overall score each option gets based upon how many features it includes

            • I’ve put together a table for you, ranked by their score. I’ve included my own two-cents to help guide you, as well as external links to the Product Feature Pages and Video Tutorials for each product just in case.
              Tool

              Features (see table 1 above)

              Calculate 

              Score 

              Comments

              Video Tutorial

              Style Seat

              a + b + c + d + e + g + h

              5 + 5 + 5 + 4 + 4 + 3 + 3

              29

              A lot of great features except customers need to download the app as well. BUT, this is SPECIFIC for hair/beauty professionals!

              Click Here

              Square Appointment

              a + c + d + e + f + g + h

              5 + 5 + 4 + 4 + 3 + 3 + 3

              27

              Amazing security and a big name already - Square - backs up its payment functions.

              Click Here

              Doodle

              a + c + d + e + f + h

              5 + 5 + 4 + 4 + 3 + 3

              24

              More used for its scheduling purposes. Can be a mobile app.

              Click Here

              Calendly

              a + c + d + f + h

              5 + 5 + 4 + 3 + 3

              20

              Simple. Very easy to use from yours and clients perspective.

              Click Here

              Acuity

              a + c + d + f + h

              5 + 5 + 4 + 3 + 3

              20

              Simple. Beautiful.

              Click Here

               

              6. Observe whether or not the tool you chose gets the job done for you - customers show up on time. If not, modify your decision by picking the next tool in your chart.

              There are a number of tools and many more individual goals assigned to each tool. But, if we don’t take a step back, we’ll find ourselves within The Paradox of Choice - overwhelmed and anxious.

              I hope that not only does this article give you the tool or tools you need to help customers show up on time, but that it provides you with a way to make good decisions about products in the future.

              And, at the end of the day, here’s a quote that might put you at ease when it comes to actually deciding and moving forward with your decision:

              “A Good decision now is better than a Perfect decision later”

              - General George S. Patton

              Just remember:

              1. Too many options can leave us more anxious than when we started
              2. You can use the 6-step method above to help you decide which tool is best for you
              3. You can start with the first tool on this list and see if it gets the job done

              Now it's your turn.

              Have another tool you prefer? Did you try out any of the tools from this list? How did it go?

              Let us know in the comment section below.

              Know someone who might benefit from reading this? Share it with them on the right!

              One last thing!

              What would you like to see next? Vote on our poll or let us know in the comments below!

              [powr-poll id=464f2635_1495576664]

              Talk soon.

              -Nicholas


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