Though I usually try and avoid filling a day with appointments so that I can still get other work done there are many businesses where ensuring the efficient allocation of appointment times to fill a day or letting clients book meetings at any time rather than emailing or calling would be quite helpful.
Getting started with calendly
Selection criteria that led me to calendly
There is a good range of calendar booking apps and appointment setting systems but the one I settled on as a test for myself was calendly (calendly.com) based on the following criteria:
- sync: connects to google calendar and office 365
- cost: free or reasonably priced: under $15/mo
- usable: simple to learn and easy to setup
- style: tidy, plain white and sensible
- features: event types, zapier connection
Calendly fits all the above pretty well and does some other things that I hadn’t expected too like group meetings or events.
In fact it so impressed me that I decided to write this blog post!
Signing up for calendly
Once you enter an email address on the calendly homepage it asks to connect to a Google Account or to create an account.
Connecting to a Google Account or make a login
If you choose the Google authentication then it will show the usual permission request page so that you can approve the connection between Calendly and your Google Calendar.
For example something like the following:
If you have connected a Google account to other online services before you will probably have encountered something similar.
Select an appointment page url and timezone
Next you get to choose a url for your appointment setting page.
A simple choice here would be to use something like your business name or firstnamelastname.
This is where I set my local timezone too. Not a feature to underestimate: getting timezones right!
That’s basically all you have to do.
There is a getting started video to explain how it works too.
Lots of easy to follow videos and screenshots in the calendly help: help.calendly.com
Even without any other changes there will be a publicly accessible appointment booking page with 15, 30 and 60min event types between 9am and 5pm.
It’s worth doing some customisation to the options though so that it is more useful.
Once I setup the account this is the dashboard.
The following are a few changes I made but there is plenty more to discover with the Calendly app.
I’ve added a headshot to my profile so that someone setting an appointment can see that it’s for my calendar.
Edit the event types
The standard event types are fine but it would be a good idea to customise them to suit your usual requirements.
For example i turned off some days and changed the start and end of the day times.
Or just make a new event type
There are a LOT of options that are possible to configure for an event but most of them can be left as defaults.
A few neat features I noticed were the options to ask custom questions and add links to websites and force a buffer before and after an event which is essential when travelling between meetings.
This is really well thought out, a lot of different use cases are possible with the range of options available.
Connecting to the cloud
Zapier can be connected as well for other automation.
This is all about linking the API of calendly to other systems like active campaign or mailchimp. This is a bit of a geeky thing but just for example that means that if someone creates an appointment you could add them to a mailchimp list or notify your admin team that an appointment has been booked.
How a client can choose an appointment
So here is the really crucial part.
Everything else we have looked at above is backend stuff, setting up the availability, event types and things that are pretty much once offs to do.
The following is an example of a sequence of booking an appointment works.
Choose the event type
For example, which length meeting do you need?
Each event has it’s own url so you could send people to a specific event for booking if you wanted to from an email link for example.
Select a day
This is horizontal scroller, so it will work well on a mobile device too.
Choose a time slot
The intervals and gaps are settings you can set back when you edit the event as the administrator.
Confirm the time slot
Enter your name and email
By default it just captures name and email but when you are setting up the event details you can add more fields than just the name and email.
Appointment is booked
Thats it. The person who filled in the appointment booking now has a spot in the calendar.
It’s pretty rare that I signup to a new service, have zero annoyances about the interface and require no training, video or help guide to learn how to use it in the space of about 10 minutes. There must have been a lot of iterations and thought put into every aspect of calendly. Though I am sure there will be people who it is not suited to their requirements for some reason it seems very flexible and yet easy to use to me.
Well done to the team behind calendly.
OK, so there is one thing that bugs me a bit; the name. It feels awkward, cal-end-ly. But apart from that its brilliant!
Check it out and see what you think: calendly.com
As I finished writing this I settled on 4 appointment types:
- 15min phone call
- 30min in office meeting
- 60min in office meeting
- 60min onsite meeting
Which are loosely representative of the kinds of appointments that I would normally get booked for. Anything longer would typically be me guessing at the time of discussing the appointment that it might go for multiple hours for example.
If you would like to book an appointment with me to discuss helping your business with websites, wordpress, seo, web hosting, email hosting, office365 etc here is the link to my calendly page: https://calendly.com/jezweb
Will be interesting to see if I get much use of it, have only just configured this and ill add it to my email signature and see what happens. I’m pretty sure I would like to have this option to book appointments so maybe other people will do too.