If you’re a wedding client of mine, at some point I’ve sent you to marriedbyjosh.com/cal to make an appointment with me. Setting appointments can be painful and drawn out. They say, Monday night, you say Tuesday afternoon, they say 3pm, you say 3:30, they’re not available at 3:30, how about next Thursday, you’re out of town then. There are a number of tools to fix this job, I’ve tested many of them and I keep on coming back to this one simple solution.

I’ve tried the main artificially intelligent scheduling tools and they never really understood my scheduling desires. I’d email them instructions, they would confirm the receipt, but not take the new parameters into account.

I tried a few other ‘not-so-intelligent’ tools and the user interface and customer journey were always out of whack with what I was after.

In a scheduling tool I was looking for:

  • a tool that I could feed my calendar into
  • along with special parameters for regular weeks
  • plus irregular paramaters for irregular weeks, for example, I’m having a week off
  • and with all that information it would present options to my clients so they could look at my opportunities and compare them with their calendars
  • and this last one is important: my clients aren’t necessarily ‘business types’ so they’re not working in Microsoft Exchange or Outlook, they’re just normal people so maybe they don’t even have a calendar themselves

Calendly answered all of these requests.

You log into Calendly with your Google Calendar which luckily for me also has my family calendar and my travel calendar, so already so much time is eliminated from being able to be booked out. In Calendly then I setup what a regular week looks like for me: Wed-Sun for Skype, Thurs-Sun for meetings in my office in Brisbane. I set up some buffer parameters like I don’t meetings jam packed next to each other, I want 15 minute spaces and meetings to go for an hour, which is more than enough for most.

Then I add blackout days, days I don’t want any meetings on because of travel, holidays, or my own scheduling needs to write articles like this one.

Finally, directly into my Google Calendar I’ll schedule blocks of time for a day off or a date with Britt. This is a last call for my availability. Sometimes I’ll even block off whole days hoping the other days get booked first so I book out a Thursday before a Friday for example.

The customer journey

The important thing for me was how this whole process interfaced with my clients. I talk on the phone to many, or others are in Facebook chat or on email and I wanted to be able to push all of them to a one-stop-shop for making an appointment with me.

Regardless of communication medium I could give the simple and powerful call to action of “go to marriedbyjosh.com/cal and choose a time that works for the both of you”

This plays into my customer journey philosophy of the customer always holding the decision making power in their hands,  I’m affirming the fact that they are big kids able to make their own decisions and one of those decisions is choosing an appointment time for a website. Which sounds silly but so many customer journeys imply that the customer is a stupid infant.

Bonus idea

Once set up Calendly gives you a calendly.com/username link like calendly.com/marriedbyjosh or a direct to the event type link like calendly.com/marriedbyjosh/skype/ – but I have two other ideas:

  1. Use a redirect plugin in your WordPress or website to redirect blahblah.com/appointment to your calendly link
  2. Or if branding is important to you, then embed the page with an iframe – your web developer might be able to help you with this

Cost

There is a free version for you to try out and I’m a subscriber to the $8 per month version so I get some pro features. The $12 tier is only if you need Salesforce integration.

Try it out today calendly.com