Microsoft Bookings Tackles Small-Business Appointment Scheduling
Bookings, Microsoft's latest Office 365 service helps small businesses to accept and manage online appointment bookings.Microsoft wants to put an end to the missed calls, endless email chains, after-hours voice mails and other hassles that come with trying to book appointments. The software maker this week unveiled a new service for Office 365 that allows salons and other appointment-based small businesses to extend online, self-service scheduling to their clients that works all day, every day. The offering, dubbed Bookings, is currently being rolled out to Office 365 Business Premium subscribers that are enrolled in the First Release program. Over the next few months, Microsoft plans to make it available to all Business Premium subscribers. "Bookings provides your business a unique web page that your customers can use to schedule appointments, even when you're not around to pick up the phone or respond to an email," stated Microsoft's Office 365 team in a July 20 announcement. "The web page is simple to use: the customer first selects the service they want and, based on availability you provide, chooses a day and time when you or one of your staff is available, enters their contact information and books the appointment." Once an appointment is made, Bookings sends a confirmation email that contains a link to add it to the recipient's own calendar. For subsequent reminders, business owners can configure Bookings to send email reminders at a predetermined time before the appointment.
Bookings also makes it possible for a small business' customers to reschedule or cancel appointments without having to pick up the phone or send an email.