What’s The Best Appointment and Scheduling Automated Online Service?

calendarIt’s the time of year when people begin to evaluate their systems and services to determine if they want to make any changes, improvements, or upgrades. Last year around this time, I did my own exhaustive search for a scheduling and calendar service.

Since I made that change, rarely a week goes by that someone doesn’t mention how “slick” or “awesome” they think my system is. So I thought I’d share what I’m using and the process by which I determined what is right for me. Maybe it’ll save you hours of research.

The reason I made a switch was because the service I’d used for several years, Time Trade, changed their interface at some point in the previous year. That change made it difficult for my clients and colleagues to actually complete their chosen appointment because it looked to the person that they had selected a time, but on the last page, there was a “confirm” button that often appeared “below the fold” of the website (meaning appointment-makers would have to scroll down the page to see it). That led to people calling me when I didn’t know there was an appointment – because the automation only happened if they completed the process by clicking the confirmation button. That happened enough times I couldn’t risk it any more.

Then when people DID make their appointment, it only sent one confirmation but had no option for reminders. I also did not like that.

So I did the same thing you may have done, asked my smart friends on social media what they use. I gathered all the suggestions and spent many hours checking into every one of them. Then I narrowed it down and spent a couple days looking closely at each, asking questions to people in the know, even calling the sales offices of several.

The Requirements

Here were my requirements:

  • Had to sync automatically with my Google calendar
  • Had to have the ability to send multiple reminders
  • Had to be able to have multiple meeting types (for example I have 4-hour Virtual VIP Days, 1-hour client sessions, 30-minute meetings with potential clients, affiliates and JV partners, etc.)
  • Had to be EASY to use on my end in setting it up and on my clients’ end to set up an appointment
  • Cost has to be $100 or less per year

The Contenders (And Losers)

Every single one of the services I checked came from the recommendation of people I trust (that was the first hurdle). Based on the above criteria, following are the options I looked into, in alphabetical order, with the price I would pay for my business’ needs (the service may have other rates higher and lower, but I was only comparing pricing on what I would need, not the company’s pricing strategy overall!) and the reasons why I didn’t select them. Here’s the breakdown for you:

Acuity Scheduling: ($10/month = $120/year) This was a close second because it met most of my criteria, but in the end, there was just too much “stuff” to contend with and it didn’t meet the “easy” factor.

Appointment.com: ($8.25/ month = $99/ year) I couldn’t even find the information on their website that I needed to determine if this was going to be a good fit. Obviously that couldn’t be the winner.

Genbook: ($20/month = $240/year) FAR too confusing with nowhere near enough information offered to help me make a decision. Plus the price was more than double my budget.

Hitappoint: ($89/year) Not easy and there was no information on if it would sync with my Google calendar.

Schedule Once: ($49/month = $588/year) Even though it ticked most of the boxes I needed (except the easy one again), at $49/month for the package that met my purposes, there’s no way I was going there.

Schedulicity: ($20/month = $240/year) double the budget and still couldn’t tell if it’d sync with my Google calendar made this one easy to pass by.

Setmore: ($25/month = $300/year) this ticked every box except the price. I loved how easy it was to use and it did everything I wanted (and more), but I found another option for a third of the cost. Mind you, I have no problem paying for business services I need and like, but if I can get a similar service that meets my needs and I also like that can save me money, I’d be foolhardy not to.

TimeTrade: ($49/year) This is the system I had been using and wasn’t happy with, but because so many people recommended it and I already knew the interface, I checked to see if there was an upgrade available or if there was another option that met my needs. There wasn’t.

The Winner: Calendly – Weird Name. Great service.

In the end I chose Calendly which has a weird name, but the service is excellent. I can login with my Google credentials and it easily syncs everything up nicely. I have about 8 different types of meetings with various lengths of time and follow-up/reminder messages and can keep on going. They also automatically create a custom URL for my meetings, which is a nice feature you might be interested in, but I make all mine into redirects that I can more easily remember, because I’ve been using many for years. And the price at $8/month can’t be beat with all the bells and whistles. I love it.

Are you searching for a new appointment scheduler online? Give Calendly a try. Go ahead and set an appointment with me if you want to see how it looks (and if you actually want to talk to me!) Go to http://FeliciaSlattery.com/meeting to choose your time now and check out how cool Calendly is to use!

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9 Comments

  1. Brian R. King December 28, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    Felicia, you influential Sprite 😉 I just signed up for my free trial of Calendly.

  2. Kat Sturtz December 28, 2015 at 10:55 pm

    Been satisfied with TimeTrade until changes to their system earlier this year you mentioned (and fact its customer service and knowledge base is severely lacking). Planned to migrate completely to ScheduleOnce…but now I must check out Calendly. Thanks for the heads-up.

  3. Michel Fortin December 29, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    Signed up for Calendly! I use Instant-Scheduling for years, but desperately needed a new solution. This is perfect!

  4. Felicia Slattery December 29, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    Nice! Glad the post could help you make a choice, Michel!

  5. Felicia Slattery December 29, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    Kat, I tend to be very loyal and take a long time to switch platforms. I loved TimeTrade, formerly Time Driver, for years, until they made it too difficult for my people to actually make an appointment! It was time to switch. Let me know what you ultimately decide!

  6. Felicia Slattery December 29, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    Ha! I do what I can. 🙂 I asked them for an affiliate link, but they don’t do that sort of thing just yet. Hopefully it’ll be soon! Let me know how you like it.

  7. Kat Sturtz January 3, 2016 at 11:33 pm

    I signed up for Calendly today. Was super simple setting up. Looking forward to giving it a good run. Already I suspect it may beat out ScheduleOnce as my replacement for TimeTrade (when my current pro subscription comes due).

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