I recently spoke to a hairdresser. Yes, she was cutting my hair while we were speaking, how did you know? Anyway, I asked her what kind of booking system do they use, because I couldn’t find any on their webpage.
“Oh, we don’t use any online booking system. We have a old DOS application and set appointments over the phone.”
“Why is that?”
“Well, many people don’t have any idea how long their hair will take. We do a lot of dyeing and you really need to talk to them to see how long it will take. That is why we decided that it is better to keep the booking over the phone, even though it is annoying, no kidding…”
I thought for a moment, and then asked: “Well, couldn’t you set the appointments for the dyeing automatically longer than those for cutting?”
”I guess, but we feel more comfortable discussing it first over the phone.”
Well, I know that I for one missed the on-line booking option on their website. But they have a point, sometimes you need to speak to the customer before making an appointment. Still, I am quite sure that a booking system will help you, anyway, even if you’re not a restaurant. You can just set the booking policy to only accept booking after confirmation, or only accept booking for the next day, not for today. That would also solve the problem of having people coming from the street without booking.
It is important to choose the on-line booking system in harmony with your needs, daily workflow and company policies. But at the end of the day, I think that most of the businesses can greatly benefit from some kind of on-line reservation system.