The best scheduling software allows you to do much more than just keep track of your appointments. It can help you better manage your time, coordinate your schedule with colleagues, and share scheduling data seamlessly with other key applications you already use. Here are some important factors to consider when selecting the best scheduling software to meet your needs.
Scalability and user limits: Pay attention to whether the software can accommodate the required number of users.
“Scalability is a must-have feature for any potential scheduling software,” says Justin Soleimani, co-founder of Tumble, a San Diego-based home goods and furniture design and manufacturing company. “One of the best things a new business learns from scheduling software is the way it can streamline and optimize everyone’s time on the corporate calendar. When that happens, business owners can better deploy resources and start thinking about growth. Finding scheduling software that can then scale to match that growth is crucial to avoiding the costs of migrating platforms later.”
Flexibility in planning: Ideally, the software will support different types of appointments such as phone calls, virtual meetings, one-on-one meetings, group meetings and events.
Integration options: The best scheduling software makes it easy to sync data with a wide range of other software and cloud-based applications, such as other calendar apps, CRM systems, project management applications, and/or payment gateways.
Mobile accessibility: Since most people are no longer chained to their desks and rely heavily on their mobile devices as a productivity tool, scheduling data should be easily accessible from a smartphone, tablet or even a smartwatch.
“Scheduling software works best when it is cloud-based and available from multiple locations and on multiple devices, so all relevant stakeholders can stay informed,” says Nick Valentino, vice president of market operations at Bellhop, a national moving company. “Strictly local company. schedules must be sent individually to other people. This creates a lot of work and leaves room for miscommunication and planning errors.”
Customization options: Not everyone’s workflow is the same. Choose scheduling software that allows you to customize fields to meet the needs of your organization or industry.
“Scheduling software tends to be highly customizable,” says Alexis Haselberger, a professional time management and productivity coach. “For example, I have set up different types of events for consultations, coaching sessions, workshops, etc. For each type of event I can select general parameters for how long the appointment will last, how much buffer time is needed between meetings, how many meetings can be held per day planned and on what days and times these meetings can be scheduled.”
Sara Bandurian, operations supervisor at digital marketing company Online Optimism, especially appreciates that the ability to color-code calendars is significant. “This makes it easier to know at a glance whether I’m looking at my personal calendar, the company-wide calendar, or an individual employee’s calendar,” she says. Bandurian adds that if you have employees in different time zones, it’s also important to be able to set your time zone, work hours and work location.
Automated reminders and notifications: The scheduling software you choose should be able to generate automatic reminders for you, colleagues, and customers or clients. Reminders or notifications should be able to be sent via email or text message.
Resource management: In addition to managing time, you may need scheduling software that helps you manage and allocate resources such as meeting rooms, necessary equipment, and support staff.
User experience and interface: The user interface should be visually appealing and highly intuitive.
Security and privacy: Ensure that the application provides robust security features to protect sensitive scheduling data and user information. Also teach people on your team how to use data security best practices to help prevent data breaches.
Customer support and training: Research the availability of customer support, training resources, and related documentation to assist with software setup, deployment, data migration, and day-to-day use.