Online Scheduling a 'Must-Have' for Daily Deals

Small businesses need online scheduling software like Full Slate to handle the influx of appointments generated from coupons

Dec 09, 2010, 10:00 ET from Full Slate

SEATTLE, Dec. 9, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Daily deals are all the rage with consumers, but dealing with the response can be a real headache, especially for small businesses who see clients by appointment only.  Sites like Groupon, LivingSocial, BuyWithMe and Tippr can sell hundreds of coupons in a single day, and that can inundate a service-based business with phone calls.  The solution is online scheduling software like Full Slate.  With Full Slate, customers who are eager to take advantage of a deal can go to the business's website, see when there are openings, and make appointments to redeem their coupons.

Online scheduling makes for a better experience for both the business and the consumer.  "Most of these businesses do not have a dedicated receptionist," says Bill Lange, CEO of Full Slate.  "And even if they do, the call volume from a daily deal can be overwhelming."  Take Laser White Express, a teeth-whitening chain that's run several deals on LivingSocial.  "The first time I ran a coupon in Denver, I nearly drowned," says owner Rob Albiston.  "The phone was ringing constantly while I had clients in the chair."

Hundreds of phone calls are not only disruptive and time-consuming for the business; it can be frustrating for coupon holders, too.  "Getting a busy signal or voicemail can make a bad first impression," according to Mr. Lange. "Most consumers see online scheduling as a value-added convenience, and it helps a business stand out on customer service." The next time Laser White Express ran a deal, it included a link to self-schedule online.  It sold more coupons, and 75% of appointments were booked online.

In its most recent promotion, Laser White Express stipulated that appointments must be made online.  This time it sold over a thousand coupons, and virtually everyone has self-scheduled online.  "I've taken fewer than 10 calls," reports Mr. Albiston, "which is awesome."  His advice: Any appointment-driven business running a daily deal should set up online scheduling in advance and emphasize it in the redemption details.

Being prepared to redeem coupons is key to a successful promotion.  For a coffee shop or bakery, that may mean having more cups or cupcakes on hand and extra counter staff to greet increased foot traffic.  But for businesses that perform personal and professional services, it means having a way to efficiently schedule appointments. Full Slate's online scheduler is like a virtual receptionist; it frees the business owner up to focus on delivering outstanding service and turning coupon holders into repeat customers.

About Full Slate

Full Slate's mission is to help small businesses use the Web to fill their appointment books.  Our easy-to-use online scheduling software is specially designed for businesses offering personal and professional services – anyone who wants more appointments, new clients and repeat business.  With Full Slate, clients can go online anytime to make an appointment so you never miss a call or an opportunity.

SOURCE Full Slate