10 Reasons Why
Acuity is the Best Online Scheduling Tool
for Coaches and Consultants
(From Someone Who's NOT an Affiliate)
There are a lot of online scheduling tools on the market, but they aren’t all created equal. Picking the right one will save you time, money, and headaches while offering your clients great customer service.
I’ve been happily using Acuity Scheduling since the beginning of my business, and after countless referrals, I’ve compiled a list of 10 features that I think make Acuity the best online scheduling tools for coaches and consultants.
I’m NOT AN AFFILIATE. Before we dig in, it’s important to me that you know I am NOT financially incentivized to share my experience with Acuity.
For me, Acuity Scheduling offers a simple yet robust solution for streamlining the scheduling, payments, and more in my business. It’s among my very favorite tools for coaches and consultants and I’m glad to share my experience with it.
As with anything I recommend, it’s always best for you to get clear on your goals, explore the software’s most current offering, and evaluate what’s right for you and your business.
When I was evaluating the best tools for my coaching business, the online scheduling tool got most of my attention. Here's a breakdown of how I made my choice:
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10 Reasons I love Acuity for Coaches and Consultants
MANAGING YOUR AVAILABILITY
It’s critical that you and your scheduling tool are on the same page and Acuity offers that with it’s easy to set up and maintain availability features. It also provides tons of settings that give you the chance to customize how you want client appointment scheduled.
If you're a coach or consultant who has a fairly structured work week, give Acuity that schedule and it will auto-populate your availability to let clients know you’re available during those times.
Even if you maintain regular hours, life happens. For this reason, with just a click you can adjust your hours and close entirely for a specific day.
Set custom scheduling limits within Acuity to tell the system how you like your appointments scheduled and organized. Here are a few examples of things you can easily customize:
TWO-WAY CALENDAR SYNCING
The idea of trying to manage both my Google Calendar and my Acuity calendar seemed like a recipe for disaster, so two-way calendar syncing was a must-have feature.
Two-way calendar syncing means that Acuity will speak to your calendar (Google, Outlook or iCloud for example) and your calendar will speak to Acuity.
As a practical example, let's say you go to get your haircut. At the end of your haircut (you look amazing, by the way!) you go to schedule your next appointment. When you pull out your Google calendar on your phone, all of your appointments that were made in Acuity will automatically show up. That even includes the appointments that were just made while you were chatting away with the stylist and getting your envy-worthy ‘do.
Then, when you make your next hair appointment and add it to your Google calendar, Google will send it back over to Acuity and mark that time off in Acuity so no clients can schedule during that time. Easy peasy.
TIME BUFFERS BETWEEN APPOINTMENTS
My sessions are for a specific amount of time but when a client is on the brink of a breakthrough, we’re definitely going a few more minutes. Between that and liking some time before each appointment to prep, review notes, and get acquainted with the agenda, back to back appointments stress me out.
Acuity allows you the ability to set buffer times before and/or after each appointment type. It gives you a bit of wiggle room between clients and helps maintains my sanity and energy through the day.
Say goodbye to messy client spreadsheets.
When a client makes an appointment through Acuity, they'll be added to your client list in the system. Within your client list, you’ll be able to view their name, contact information, intake form answers, past and future appointments. You can also see how many sessions are left in the purchased package, schedule their next appointment, and add client notes for your eyes only.
While you don't need to keep a massive client spreadsheet, Acuity will also integrate with Google contacts. If you want something really robust, it will also integrate with a number of the industry’s best customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
One of the best ways to achieve the goals you set for your business is to have a way of tracking your progress. Acuity’s report function gives you that info in real time.
On the reporting tab, you can select a particular date range to see how many appointments were made, which appointment types are most popular, how much income you’ve generated and how it’s distributed over different offerings. You can also view how many appointments were scheduled versus how many were canceled or no-shows.
CLIENT INTAKE FORMS
Historically, using client intake forms (or questionnaires) might have looked like this: Client makes an appointment. You email them a questionnaire. They email it back (or don’t). You save it to your desktop. Minutes before the appointment, you scramble to find it or realize they never completed it.
Acuity streamlines this messy process.
Make unlimited intake forms and assign them to specific appointment types. This allows your first-time “Discovery Session” client to answer a particular set of questions and your weekly clients an entirely different set.
The forms are completely customizable. Using their simple drag and drop system, you can ask yes or no questions, multiple choice, drop downs, long form, and even give them a space to upload their own files.
The intake form completed by clients are stored in your client list. If you've two-way synced your calendar, Acuity even sends it with the appointment reminder so you don’t need to log-in to Acuity to view the form.
Having tools in your business that make you more efficient is great, but having those tools also communicate with each other without you having to be involved, now that is awesome. That's the role of integrations.
Essentially, Acuity will speak with other software that you're using and share data so that the information is consistent across different platforms. This makes it really time efficient and minimizes the potential for human error.
A couple of examples of integrations work:
Those are just a couple of the integration examples. They've got a variety of them including Facebook, WordPress, CRM Systems, and email providers. (Go here for the most recent list of integrations direct from Acuity).
CLIENT SCHEDULING and EXPERIENCE
If your clients are engaging with a software you’re using, it becomes an extension of you and your service. When choosing an online scheduler, I wanted it to be readily available, easy to navigate, and consistent with my brand.
First things first, how do your clients (or potential clients) find it? Acuity offers a few options to help you get the schedule in front of people:
Customize the schedule by changing the font, color and messaging and add your logo for a branded feel.
The scheduler will reflect your client’s time zone while keeping your schedule in your time so there’s no confusion.
SELLING and TRACKING PACKAGES
Sometimes your clients will just want to schedule and purchase one appointment, but often they'll want to buy a package of sessions. Within Acuity, you can set up custom packages- all one appointment type or a mix of appointment types. Clients can pay upfront or you can create payment plan options.
When your client purchases a package, they'll get a promo code. Every time they make an appointment, they can use their email address or the promo code. Acuity will keep track of how many appointments have been used and how many remain in the package.
This may be one of the lesser used features within Acuity for coaches and consultant, but it offers a lot of options. The promo code function (Acuity calls them coupons) allows you to provide a discount on services. The discount can be fixed amount or percentage or the service, can be applied to any appointment type, and assigned an expiration date.
A couple examples on how promo codes can be used in your coaching or consulting business:
Clients can make a payment while scheduling their appointment. You can set it up with Stripe, Square, or PayPal among other billing systems and integrate it with your accounting software (i.e., Quickbooks, Freshbooks, etc.).
Packages can be sold with a one-time fee or recurring charges.
CLIENT EMAIL REMINDERS
Between the time a client schedules the appointment and the actual appointment, you’ll want to engage the client to minimize cancellations and no-shows.
Within Acuity, you can set up automated emails to help with that. It can send confirmation emails immediately upon the appointment being scheduled and reminder emails leading up to the appointment. You can customize the timing, frequency, and messaging of all the emails.
Those emails will notify clients, when and where the appointment is, call-in information, and any custom information you want the client to know before the appointment. It can also include buttons for clients to cancel or reschedule their appointments which can be a great time saver.
Those are just some of the reasons why I love Acuity and why I think it's the best online scheduling tool for coaches and consultants. But, like everything in building your business, you want to figure out what’s best for you and your business. Be clear about what’s important for you in an online schedule tool and check out the most recent features and packages over at Acuity.
Do you love Acuity Scheduling? What feature could you not live without?