This week Microsoft announced a new addition to Office 365 called Bookings that enables customers to book appointments with businesses online. I cannot remember how many times I would love to book anything from a chiropractor appointment, haircut for me or even my pet (no, we don’t go to the same place). I either spend to much time on hold with a very busy receptionist, leave a voicemail that may or may not be returned, or just get too busy to remember to try calling back. Now each of these businesses can have a unique web page to allow customers to schedule appointments so that business can focus on the work they do and not miss out because they are busy.
As part of Microsoft’s Cloud First / Mobile First strategy the sites are tailored to both large and mobile devices.
Bookings allows the business to customize the availability of services and the date and time services are available. Customer can then book appropriately using their contact information. If a customer wishes to cancel or reschedule it is done simply through the confirmation email or appointment in their calendar. The business can also control advanced notice for cancellations.
From Office 365 there is a central booking calendar for the business that allows you to see all upcoming appointments and provides flexibility to reschedule, cancel or re-assign bookings. Bookings also allows the business to add appointments if customers are calling on the phone, so this tool can not only add but replace existing processes. All the bookings are also added to the staff’s calendars and works with Outlook in Office 365 and even Google calendar.
Bookings is currently available in a First Release program to Office 365 Business Premium subscribers and will continue roll out to Business Premium subscribers over the upcoming months.