Tag Archives: review

GetTimely–good start, still not perfect, looks not much used

I recently stumbled upon this new on-line booking system – GetTimely.com. According to their blog, they started just few months ago but the founders claim to have over 10 years of experience with booking systems. Let’s see if that shows in the final product.

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The homepage looks nice and clean (maybe a bit too much text and too many columns, but way above average), prices are a bit steeper than expected. What they offer for $19/month is not hard to find for free. Still, so far so good.

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During sign-up I felt I need to fill in too much – it is a minor complaint, granted, but who wants to be stopped and returned to the form (and fill the password again) just to add their time-zone, especially since the country has only one time-zone? Ridiculous. But again, that is only a minor, fixable detail.

 

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Sadly, this trend continues throughout the system. You are always asked to fill in more than you want. You are constantly stopped because you didn’t fill-in enough information. It is my reservation, for Pete’s sake! I want to fill in what I want to fill in, right?

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Calendar

The calendar looks nice, useful and clean. Too bad it suffers from the same mistake (or unfortunate feature) as other booking systems do: it asks you every single time weather the time you are booking is a booking indeed or an “busy time”.

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Personally, to me this is almost a deal-breaker. I understand why they did it, but it never stops annoying me. The other complaints are minor: settings too complex and non-intuitively structured (again, it is hard), wizard so-so, opening hours not as flexible as one might like.

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Lastly, it seems that after few months, GetTimely has les than a hundred users, which to me would be a warning flag. But again, everybody has to start somewhere. Maybe in few months GetTimely might be decent option. Right now it is just another booking system, nice design but annoying bugs/features.

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SuperSaaS review– good online appointment system with old habits

As you probably know, the SaaS stands for software as a service. SuperSaaS.com is an appointment scheduling software (as a service) that captured my attention by many languages it supports. SuperSaas also offers WordPress plug-ins, which is a nice bonus for WordPress users like myself.

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The site doesn’t look very modern to me, and it’s quite bland, frankly. The functions seem promising, though.

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You can try a demo of the booking right away, very nice. But again, the looks?

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Hands down, this is the most complicated pricing plan I have seen. Why is it so difficult. How am I supposed to know how many upcoming appointments will I need. I really do not like this.

Registration went OK, SuperSaaS doesn’t need you to fill redundant detail, although it does ask you whether you are an individual or a company.

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Unlike Appointment-Plus, Supersaas has all the countries listed. Good.

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After you finish your registration, you are welcomed by an empty dashboard. The interface seems somehow “work-in-progress” looking, as if it was not yet ready for users. The options are usually described in detail, but you really need to read, read and read to make any sense of it and find the right link.

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You can customize almost anything. But first you need to create the calendars, timetables, users, policies… Because of the versatility and lack of templates, you will need quite some time to set it all up. But that may be a good thing, if you like things just the way you want them.

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SuperSaaS Rating

SuperSaas may look a bit old-fashioned at first but provides you with great set of features. The setting up may be tedious but the result is fine from the perspective of your customer. You can customize all the messages and synchronize your appointments with Outlook or Google Calendar (have not tried yet). The GUI is sometimes counter-intuitive and you have to read a bit, but that may be the price you pay for complete customization, I guess.


OpenCal review–decent option, limitations, just buttons

OpneCal.com has a great, simple look, and all the promises sound, well, promising. On-line booking system with PayPal and SSL for customers, with all the options at hand. Well, we’ll see about that.

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The introduction to the system is well-written and the screenshots are clear and clean. Time to try OpenCal out.

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As with Genbook, only one staff member allowed for the cheaper version. No free plan either, just a trial – you can try 10 appointments for free.opencal-review-online-booking 10

Registration

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Signing up for OpenCal was straightforward and without much hassle. The guide that opens up after you sign-up, however, is not all that helpful. It took me quite some time to figure out what all needs to be filled. Frankly, for many flexible businesses this system is just too rigid, it won’t let you set flexible hours, break in the middle of the day (you can mark times as closed, but probably only one at a time) and the setting up was not as straightforward as I hoped.

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Limitations

Apart from only one staff member for the cheaper plan, this bothers me the most – no option for embedding a calendar into your website, just a button. This is, for many, including myself, a deal-breaker.

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OpenCal rating

OpenCal.com is an understandable tool with nice set of features. The guide for beginners was somewhat helpful, but a bit confusing. Again, only buttons, no embedded. Nice design, so three stars overall, but check other systems before signing up for this one. Luckily, you can try it out for free if you have time.


Genbook review – only for America, few features

Genbook.com is very nice on the outside. Graphics are nice and price is not too bad (no free plan, unfortunately). The site looks attractive and inviting.

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There are only two price plans for this booking system. I find it very restrictive to allow only one operator with the cheaper version, but I guess that is how they make more money so it makes sense (for them). Other features seem nice, only this booking system only gives you a button, so you won’t be able to embed the booking in your own website. Some will be OK with that, some want more.

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Registration – only for US and Canada

21-6-2011 10-03-12Unfortunately, Genbook is available only for US and Canada. This is a major disadvantage for many businesses from around the world,  and certainly for me. But I guess that even if I lived in the US and could call their support regularly, this would still be somewhat less desirable option, because you can’t embed…

Anyway, let’s go on with our registration.

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Inside the system – tidy, but few options

The insides of the system is easily understood, at least when it comes to the calendar. The appointment scheduling is easy, but could be better. Payments are not done very well, but couldn’t actually try it. Suffice to say that spelling out your credit card information over the phone is not the way to go.

See the comments in the screenshots for more details.

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Genbook Rating

Genbook has nice look but lacks some features, like embedding the calendar, offers just a button. It is probably usable if you don’t mind these complications. The price is average, if you have more than one person of you staff, you will need to buy the more expensive plan. No free plan available.


Tymwise.com review – looks nice, but is using flash everywhere

20-6-2011 23-19-08Tymwise.com, an Australian reservation system, looked promising. The homepage advertised 30 day free trial and a phone number to Australia.

The prices seem average for appointment managing system, and the features looked quite good. I would encourage them to go in further details in describing what the features actually mean. Some features were a nice surprise (SMS), you don’t see that every day.

I was thrown off by the lack of current information, the website just looked as if nobody maintains it. Not a good sign, but it turns out it is just an oversight, the system itself is working. They even have an app for iPhone (did not try).

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Registration

This was probably the most tedious registration yet. Why do I need to go through so many steps? Why do you need some of the information? You are probably just supposed to overcome your suspicions and move on.

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Using flash for everything 😦

Well, this is a deal breaker for me. Tymwise.com uses flash for just about the whole system. Even though this can have some advantages in the short run, I despise all such apps that fail to employ more usable technologies. Tymwise.com is not the on-line booking system for me and my customers. I will keep looking.

Here are some screenshots, for those, who can put up with Flash everywhere.

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Tymwise rating

Because of using Flash and only giving you buttons, Tymwise is not an option for me or anyone who wants to work from anywhere. Extra star for OK set of features.

 


Appointment-Plus – review of the on-line booking system

At first, Appointment Plus seemed like a very good option. The graphics looks a bit outdated, like eBay from eight years ago, but the references and quotes from the customers are a nice touch. I really liked that there is specific page for different areas and categories (spa, photography, doctors, nail salon etc.), even though the text is often just copied.

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I was disappointed not to see the list of features anywhere on the site. Sure, there is the video tutorial, but that only answered some questions. Seems like I will have to try this system out to see if it fits.

The prices are nothing surprising. There is some list of features there, too. 15 days of free usage is all what you get, as opposed to 30-day trial that seems to be common among on-line reservation systems.

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Registration

The good thing is that you can select the category of your business and the resulting experience is a bit better than if you have to figure out everything by yourself.

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Why do I have to give you my phone number?appoint-plus4

Yes, this is what I was talking about – Setup Wizard that knows your area of business (in this case – Photography) and fills out the default options accordingly. Not all of them, but it helps.appoint-plus5

Inside – disappointing user interface

So far, Appointment Plus was one of the better on-line reservation systems. But the admin page (and most of the pages inside) were  a big disappointment. All the forms were not interactive, the buttons were small and the interface counter-intuitive.

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Yes, there are tutorials, and even a living person, to help you. But I would much prefer a system that is so easy to use that I don’t need the help every few minutes.appoint-plus7

See the calendars? Not really something to write home about, is it?appoint-plus8appoint-plus9appoint-plus10appoint-plus11

Appointment-Plus rating

Appointment Plus has good set of features but is very outdated system. The segmentation is good and support seems good (have not tried).


Review of BookFresh.com on-line scheduling system

One of the booking systems that looked fairly promising at first. BookFresh.com, formerly known as HourTown, has nice clean homepage and seems to offer handful of features.

Price – not so good

The first warning was the pricing. There really are not many good options. Or not many options at all. The free plan offers only three (3!) bookings each month, which really barely allows you to test the website. So I signed up for the 30 day free trial to test the system out. I am not planning to keep my subscription, though.

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Even the process of sign-up is quite cumbersome, the system forces you to choose way too many details that aren’t really that helpful or necessary. bookfresh3

System – quite specific but useable

Once you are in, you are greeted with a dashboard of sorts. This is a common breaking point for me. The site failed to provide me with clear set of options, a wizard or a guide would be appreciated.

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What is nice for some companies (like hair dressers, perhaps) is that BookFresh focuses on the services you offer. This, however, will not be a solution for everybody. I certainly don’t see why you are not allowed to change policies at will.

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The widgets to embed on your website (yep, need a website) are nicely designed and you can tweak them. What you can not do, however, is to let users register, pay in advance or work with their appointments later on.

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Conclusion – few options

I think that “few options” summarizes this system well. There are few pricing plans, few ways to implement this system and only few real-life applications.

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Unless you happen to like this system and being sure of not needing anything else, I recommend trying some other on-line scheduling systems for your website first.

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