Welcome back to our Microsoft Journey series! In today’s issue we look at a popular Microsoft application, Bookings, and how you or your business can use it to better manage your appointments and customers experience.
In the previous issue we covered everything on OneDrive, so if you’re interested in finding out about how you can use it, with some helpful guides, we recommend checking it out:
Microsoft Journey #1 – OneDrive
What is Microsoft Bookings?
An online and mobile app for businesses who schedule and manage appointments for customers. It is a great way for customers to book services and view critical business information such as your address, operating hours and available staff – all from one place.
Features and Uses
You and you customers will have a better scheduling experience by streamlining the booking process. Easily customize your bookings page so customers can find all the information they need to schedule a service. With a private calendar, you can manage appointments with notifications and reminders so that you can always keep track of what is happening.
You don’t have to go through always find the right time to call a customer, in order to confirm or change an appointment, as Bookings does it for you. Customers can get confirmation emails letting them know when a service is scheduled, and don’t have to worry about double-bookings.
Always keep staff and customers up to date with automatic reminders and notifications, decreasing the risk of a missed appointment. Should something come up, customers can easily reschedule or cancel an appointment through the bookings page.
With Microsoft Bookings, you can:
- Define business information, services and scheduling policies
- Use a private calendar to set reminders and manage appointments
- Have available slots for customers to view and book
- Give customers an easy way to cancel or reschedule should they need to
- Manage employee and staff lists
- Connect Bookings to your Facebook business page
How to Use Bookings
Now that we’ve covered what Bookings is, let’s get into how to use it.
Let’s start by having a look at your Bookings homepage, with the available options you have on the navigation bar:
Home – your homepage shows your bookings made, estimated revenue and customers booked. (as shown above)
Calendar – your calendar view that shows bookings for staff members. Here you can add new bookings, assign staff members to selected bookings and give members time-off if need be.
Booking Page – here you can customize your booking page, change your page settings, and integrate Bookings with your Facebook business page with a Book Now button.
Customers – your customer view page where you have your customer list, that includes their names and contact information.
Staff – this is where you can manage your staff list and set their working hours accordingly.
Services – shows all your available services. Here you can create new services and add the necessary information such as name, location, duration and pricing.
Business Information – set your business description here with your contact information, operating hours, contact information and logo.
Customize Your Bookings Page
The bookings page is what customers will see when looking to make an appointment, so it is important to make it feel and look like what your business image represents. On top of that, adapting available settings to your business needs is always recommended.
First, go to the Bookings Page tab from your navigation bar. Here you will find the different options and settings that help you personalize your page, like your colour themes, logo and preview.
You will also find the settings to change your scheduling policies. These are settings that decide when customers can book your services, such as the minimum and maximum lead times.
Let’s define the policies a bit better:
Time increments – these are the intervals between your appointments, how much time you have from one appointment to the next. The increments can be set from 5 minutes to 4 hours, or you can make your own custom increment.
Lead time – this is the amount of time that you need before a customer can book or cancel and appointment, in advance.
Days in advance – as the name suggests, this is simply to limit how far in advance a customer can book an appointment. The maximum time can be a whole year. Notify the business via email – this is an option that sends you an email notification when a customer has booked or changed an appointment. It is recommended to always have this on.
Lastly, from the Bookings page, you can integrate Bookings to your Facebook Business Page via the Book Now button. To do this, you simply link your Booking page URL to the Facebook button, and customers will be directed to your Bookings page.
Alternatively, you can simply click on the “Connect” button as shown below:
Go to the Services tab from your navigation bar to find the following fields:
When you add a service, there are many options to fill in. Let’s have a look at each one:
Service Name – self-explanatory, it is the name of the provided service.
Description – what the service includes, and the necessary information you wish to provide.
Location – where the service will take place, either at a chosen location or meeting with a customer in person
Duration – how long the service will be
Buffer Times – the set-up time you may need before a service, to do whatever preparations you need
Maximum Attendees – the maximum amount of people that can attend the service.
Default Price – the pricing of your service.
Reminders and Confirmations – set the time when a customer will get notified of an appointment reminder or confirmation
There are also options for internal use that include:
Notes – whatever you need to note down for staff members or yourself, to remember about that service.
Employees – you can tag employees who are qualified and available for the service. Customers can even choose their favourite person if they like.
How to get Microsoft Bookings
Currently available as a default app with selected Microsoft 365 Packages:
If you have of one of the above business packages, you can get Bookings from your Office App by simply searching for it.
If you would like to get the mobile apps, here are quick links to download it now:
Check out Microsoft’s video on getting started with Bookings.
Thank you for taking the time to read our second edition of the Microsoft Journey series. Hopefully this issue helped you decide to get Bookings, with a clearer understanding of how to use and what it is for. Stay tuned for more issues on our top picks of Microsoft Applications!