Finding a time that works for both my schedule and my clients can be a challenge. As business owners, executive directors and – often times – volunteers, we have a lot on our plates. Add in the personal stuff and calendars quickly look full.
In an effort to streamline and make things easier in the long-run right from the get-go I’ve implemented an appointment scheduling tool. It’s called Calendly.
Not to be confused with the social media scheduler Calendy which I stumbled on accidentally recently.
Why Use a Scheduler?
Instead of emailing times/days that work back and forth and back and forth and…well, you get it, playing phone tag or interrupting effective productivity time with texts I can set my schedule of availability and let clients pick a day and time that works best for them. While I love the personal interaction with each person and company that I work with, using a scheduling tool like Calendly allows my calendar to fill itself.
How Does Calendly Work?
After you set up a free account, you log in. The first thing you see is the Dashboard which shows you upcoming appointments which can be filtered.
You will want to navigate to the Event Type section to edit the pre-made filler or create your own. Each Event Type can have completely different settings, availability and follow-up to tailor the process.
Edit the Event Type and you’ll see settings for availability. This is the section I especially love since I’m trying to block out my time to be more effective. So, I offer some meetings during business hours, but the longer consulting meetings are currently available in the evenings and limited to 2 days each week. You can also choose to apply these hours to additional days.
Each Event Type also has a section where you can add additional questions you would like answered when someone schedules a time with you. For example, I require a phone number for my 30 minute phone appointments and an optional area for them to add notes about what they’d like to cover. It ensures I have the best phone number to reach them on AND I’m not blind-sided by a topic if it’s an out-of-the-blue request to meet.
What Do Users See?
So all of this is well and good, but only effective if it works. One of the things you’ll need to make sure you set up is a syncing calendar. I have mine set-up to sync with only one of my Google Calendars. This way, Calendly knows when I’m available or when I have something blocking out a time that would normally be available. It also auto-adds a requested meeting to the same calendar so I don’t have to!
Currently, I have to send out the link for the correct meeting type in an email to clients. (I’m hoping to write some canned emails for this soon to speed that up too!) Once there, clients can see available days and then pick from available times. After confirming their preferred date and time, they’re required to fill out your customizable form to complete setting an appointment.
That’s that. They receive a confirmation email (also customizable). You receive an email with their form information and a calendar event with the same. Easy-peasy lemon-squeezy.