If you’re just getting started with your service offering or you simply need more time in your day to run your business, scheduling software is a huge helping hand.
For small and medium-sized business owners, class scheduling software is an integral part of running their operations. Its use is applicable to a huge array of industries and services from B2B appointment scheduling to B2C booking services such as gyms, salons, workshops, tutoring, events, and more.
If you’re just getting started with your service offering or you simply need more time in your day to run your business, scheduling software is a huge helping hand. But what should you look for in scheduling software, what are the benefits of using it, and which is the best class scheduling software? We cover this and more in our full guide below.
What is class scheduling software?
Class scheduling software is a type of software that enables you to schedule and book classes online. While forms of this software vary, generally it’s used for booking online or in-person classes, events, or appointments as well as ticket selling.
Generally, class scheduling software creates a calendar for your business. This allows you to create events, classes or lessons, and for your customers to book an appointment or time slot that suits their schedule and yours.
Why use class scheduling software?
For small businesses and organizations, class scheduling software is a must-have. Some of the main perks include:
Reduce admin time
By having all your classes, attendees, and payments stored in one place, there is a large reduction in the admin work necessary to manage your classes, events, and bookings. You can create a booking website in no time, accept online appointments and send email notifications to your clients without lifting a finger. Your class scheduling software automates all of this.
Even better, you are free of the social media drudgery, too. Most of these tools have automated sharing features that allow you to promote your event across social channels without having to copy/paste and click around.
So, your scheduling software becomes a one-stop solution for calendar management and marketing. Your availability will also update in real-time, ensuring that your customers are always booking based on your current schedule.
No calendar clashes and more time to focus on your workshop or upcoming class!
Make bookings easier
Software integrations and add-ons can make managing your classes even simpler. These can include online payment management, integrations with your accounting software, and social media plugins.
Integrations with Google and social media platforms such as Facebook help your customers book easily without having to hunt for your website and booking page.
Look out for software that allows clients to access your calendar and book on all devices — smartphones, tablets and desktop computers.
Drive repeat bookings
Class scheduling software can give you the biggest competitive advantage of all — the power of follow-up.
Some of these platforms enable you to send automated emails to each customer who has attended your event. Invest a bit of time to personalize these follow-ups and you’ll drive repeat bookings. Not to mention that you’ll also open up a lot of upsell opportunities.
Make your workflow easier
Scheduling software often has super user-friendly features and interfaces, making it easy to learn and use. These apps generally focus around a calendar with daily, weekly, monthly views, allowing you to see your appointments at a glance. There is also a back-end CRM that gives you an overview of your customers.
Keep your customer data safe
Scheduling software usually automates the data collection for each of your clients and keeps it secured safely for you. This saves time searching for booking data, email addresses, and phone numbers!
And it also saves money. Typically, CRM systems (customer relationship management systems) cost thousands of dollars a year which may be too big a price tag for small businesses and self-employed business owners. A class-scheduling platform with a CRM module gives you the advantages of using a CRM with none of the extra expenses.
Who should use class scheduling software?
While the term “class scheduling software” may sound limiting, these are often multi-purpose apps that will work well for lots of different industries. Class booking software is commonly used for:
Online education for schools and universities
Creative classes and workshops
Business gurus and entrepreneurs
Let’s explore the needs and use cases for each of these industries.
In this case, we’re talking about schools and universities. Online classes for other sectors will come up shortly!
With the COVID-19 pandemic, operations quickly shifted from in-person to remote teaching for staff and students across the globe. At the time, lesson timetables for older children remained largely the same with virtual learning using teleconferencing programs such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Younger children, however, were more likely to have a combination of videos to watch, catch-up sessions with their classmates, and remote learning.
Class scheduling software was (and still is) the perfect solution to this problem. Teachers faced demanding logistics when it came to remote lesson planning, sharing resources, and timetabling each of their classes. This type of software allows teachers to add their timetables, invite learners to each class, run online lessons, send automated reminders, and share resources with their students.
Online and in-person tutors and tutoring centers
Similarly to the education sector, tutors and tutoring centers often face demanding logistics. These range from no-shows and organizing repeat lessons to managing all aspects of payments.
Class scheduling software is the perfect solution to address all of these issues for online and in-person tutors and tutoring centers. One of the main advantages of it is the scheduling, where it’s easier for parents or children to reschedule their learning sessions, create block bookings and integrate with both the tutor’s calendar and the student/parent’s calendar.
Wellness organizations for meditation and therapy
Whether it’s a 5-day trip to Bali or a lakeside wellness weekend, meditation and therapy retreats are another prime candidate for booking software.
Not only does scheduling software help you manage bookings, but some options allow you to track customer data and progress through various appointments or treatments. If your software has social media and email integrations, there are options to automatically publish and share these with your followers.
Creative classes: art classes, dance workshops, and cooking
Creative classes are the ideal candidates for class scheduling software. Whether taking place online or in person, the software will allow clients to book in advance and get all the details of your classes without your intervention.
If your workshops run over the space of a few days or weeks, this can easily be scheduled into the software from the get-go, making clients aware of the length and commitment level before booking.
Online webinars, workshops, and events
For businesses that run any type of online event that requires booking and ticketing, class scheduling software is a lifesaver.
These can be very admin-heavy with lots of promotion needed to fill the booking. Class scheduling software takes away a lot of administrative resources by offering simple ways to book and handling online payments securely. Automated email marketing and reminders are a great way of keeping attendees informed and attendance maximized.
Coaches & gurus
Coaches spend a large portion of their working days coaching. However, they’re also busy running free webinars, generating leads, and working on their content. Coaching is also far more effective when customers are truly bought in and ready to commit, so by using scheduling software, clients can book their sessions on a time and date that suits them (and you!)
What should you look for in scheduling software?
Flexible scheduling features
The number one priority for booking and events management software is its scheduling features. This comes in the form of a calendar where you want to be able to manage your availability and days off. While you don’t have to use the features that allow your customers to book themselves in, having a calendar with all upcoming classes will be critical to managing your time effectively.
Besides this, some class scheduling software allows you to share and publish upcoming (open) events or bookings in multiple places, just by adding them once to your calendar. For ongoing workshops or weekly sessions, you can duplicate and bulk schedule events to save on admin time.
One of the most useful features of class scheduling software is third-party integrations. For smaller businesses, marketing is very often done using social media. So, by using scheduling software that integrates with Facebook, for example, it becomes even simpler for your customers to book an experience with you. Integrations with email marketing platforms such as Mailchimp are also a big time-saver, allowing you to automate booking confirmations and reminder emails.
Arguably the most important part of integrations is the payment management systems. Processing one-off or regular payments, issuing refunds, creating invoices, and integrating with your accounting software will save an extraordinary amount of time! Make sure to look out for software with third-party integrations that have these features to make your life easier.
It’s important to choose a class scheduling platform for your business that scales as you do. That means if you hire a new staff member or circumstances change and you need to add more events quickly, that your software doesn’t prevent you from doing this. That’s why we recommend choosing a provider that allows unlimited monthly events, staff, and bookings.
Similarly, if you need some time off or a break, you don’t want to be paying for a service that only suits your business when it’s running at full capacity. This may mean wasting money on a solution that’s too big for your needs.
When your entire business runs on a piece of software, it’s crucial that you have the support you need if anything happens. We can’t stress enough the importance of choosing booking software that has fast and exceptional customer service to help you if you find yourself in a pinch.
As we mentioned above, one of the most admin-heavy tasks is chasing payments or assigning bank transfers to customers. And many business owners find themselves using several different systems to do it.
So, a booking system that allows customers to book and pay online is key. Whether this is a built-in feature or an integration with third-party payment software, it’s important that it’s able to take and schedule a range of payment types. Consider options for your clients such as deposits, paying in instalments, and the choice of payment methods including Mastercard, AMEX, and VISA.
An integrated scheduling system that aligns payments with your calendar will also help in the event of refunds, recurring payments, or cancellations.
In essence, all kinds of businesses can benefit from and thrive with class scheduling software. Add tremendous value to your business while saving extraordinary amounts of admin time. Their integrations, payment options, and automations also help businesses to promote and engage with their customers. The use of class scheduling software generally leads to:
Fewer no-shows and higher levels of attendance
Less administrative resources
Simpler and more frequent promotion of your event, class, webinar, or workshop.
Here at Occasion we provide scalability, volume of features, ease of use, and great customer service. When looking for the best time-saving software for your business, consider Occasion.