Scheduling Free Consultations for Coaching

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I’m experimenting with some appointment scheduling software for my coaching services and I’ve discovered there is no shortage of contenders.

The background is that, for all the years I’ve been coaching, I’ve offered people a no-obligation, complimentary consultation, so they could make an informed judgement about whether my coaching looked right for them. And for me to decide whether I felt there was a good fit: not every coach is right for every person, and vice versa.

I’ve probably sold myself short by not putting an automated booking feature on my website, partly because when I tried this some years ago the software I was using was not geared to showing people the available times in their own time zones. I’m not at my best when I get a call from someone at 2 am my time!

But then recently I learned that my friend Ellie Walsh was having some success with such a feature on her website.

So I started exploring.

Automatic scheduling options

I’ve had a Tungle account for years, and it seems a lot more sophisticated now than I recall it being, but when I checked yesterday I saw the notice that the service is closing down on Dec 3. Scratch that from the list.

I then tried timetrade, which has a Personal option, free, with some tight limits on activity, and a Professional option at $49 a year (plus higher level, more expensive options), with a 30 day free trial. It seemed quite good but I had some challenges in getting the Personal version working for me, so I then had a look at the MeetMe function in Schedule Once.

Like timetrade, ScheduleOnce has a range of options, starting with Basic which is free, then Plus at $5 a month, then Professional at $19 a month and so on.

I was frankly more impressed with setup and ease of use of ScheduleOnce than I had been with timetrade and am currently trialling the ShceduleOnce Professional version. This is a 14 day free trial (no card required): the time limitation of 14 days I always think is a bit of a pain because just when you are getting to know an application the trial cuts out. But at the end of the 14 days I can drop back to the Plus or even Basic version once the trial ends.

ScheduleOnce

Someone has now sent me a link to Appointments+ a WordPress plugin which seems to have the key features I want. The price of $19 as a once only payment is attractive, but I’ll need to test it before offering any opinion. I’ll post about that soonish, whether or not it meets my requirements.

Update, Dec 14, 2012: on or about when my 14 day trial of ScheduleOnce expired and the system dropped my account to Basic, I experienced a problem in the display such that no available appointment times were being displayed. I’ve gone back to testing TimeTrade and will see how that goes.

Another Update, Dec 21, 2012. I still had an appointment outstanding with ScheduleOnce, but the time synchronisation was wrong by an hour. I saw the confirmation he had but did not focus on the fact that his time was an hour later than my time as per the notifications we received. So I was ready and sending him messages, but he thought there was still an hour to go before our meeting. 

I’ve now deleted all the available times on ScheduleOnce and will probably delete the account.

If you’ve found a scheduling software that works for you, please feel free to share. No puffy promos please, just your experience.

And if you want to book an appointment for a no obligation, free consultation, just click on the button below:

book an appointment with Des online

If the times there don’t work for you, please contact me and we’ll work something out.

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I show entrepreneurial business owners how social media can serve their vision and goals, then help them implement that. I'm an author, business coach, social media strategist and LinkedIn specialist. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get my weekly Social Business Bites (fresh, tasty, nutritious!).

Comments

  1. Ellie Walsh says:

    Hi Des … I so agree that it is important for people and coaches to meet to decide if they fit for each other… And, as you know, I have been using timetrade … I wasn’t even sure what version I was using … so went in a discovered I have the professional version … but at a much cheaper price as I was grandfathered in from their startup! But now you have me interested in these other options … so I am interested to hear what you decide upon! ;)