Online Scheduler with Payment Processing

Easy Online Scheduling with Payment Processing

clients pay onlineScheduleMAX.com has created an easy to use and flexible payment processing solution. You can require a credit card on file for booking, accept payment in advance and/or keep your regular client’s credit cards on file securely.

 

Credit Card Holds and Payments for Appointments

Accepting credit cards can be a pain to setup and merchant accounts are often loaded with hidden fees.

Our customers asked us to help by integrating payment processing in a way that is:

  1. Easy to Qualify (goodbye to those 10 page bank applications )
  2. Easy to Setup
  3. Simple to Use
  4. Affordable (NO monthly fees, pay per transaction)

We are excited to partner with Stripe Payments for payment processing!

Accepting Payments with Stripe Payment Processing

  1. Log into your ScheduleMAX account or Start a Free Trial
  2. Click Payments
  3. Click Connect to Stripe
  4. Fill out very brief form on Stripe
  5. Return to ScheduleMAX and start taking payments.

The best part of our payment processing feature is that you have tons of flexibility. You can choose to require a credit card at time of booking or keep that optional.

Payment Processing

Require a Credit Card to Book Appointments

You can charge clients for their appointment fee at time of booking, after their appointment or they can pay via another method. Our system can securely store your client’s credit card so they don’t have to keep entering it when they book with you!

Just Press the Pay Button After Your Client's Appointment

Just Press the Pay Button After Your Client’s Appointment

It’s so easy to start a free trial.  It takes just minutes to set up your account.
We send email and text notifications to you and your clients, offer multi-service booking, create a free website for you or add our Book Now button to your, and offer booking via Facebook and more!

Click here to get started!

about the author:  Mark Eckdahl is a co-Founder of ScheduleMAX.com, an online scheduling solution that is elegant and easy to use.  ScheduleMAX allows your clients to book online 24/7, reduces no shows through automatic Email or SMS notifications and saves everyone time!

Top 5 Reasons to Add Auto Appointment Reminders to Your Biz

Automatic Appointment Reminder Will Revolutionize Your Business

Calling to confirm appointments is a very time intensive and costly exercise.  It often results in rounds of phone tag that become frustrating for you, your staff and your patients/clients.

Online scheduling software automates this process.  You can decide to let your clients schedule themselves or keep that in house.

Either way the automatic appointment reminders will revolutionize your business.

5 Reasons You Need Automatic Appointment Reminders

Five Reasons to Add Automatic Appointment Reminders to Your Business:

  1. It gives you more time with the patients/clients currently in the office
  2. It saves you time (once you add the appointment to your calendar, the reminder email is automatically scheduled)
  3. It provides a written reminder to your patients/clients
  4. It saves your patients/clients time (it is much quicker to read an email than have a conversation with your service provider)
  5. It goes out automatically and removes human error (our system will not forget to send out a reminder, it is automated)

See this post on using ScheduleMAX.com for Appointment Reminders only.

Appointment Reminder Email

Sample Auto Email to Clients

It’s so easy to start a free trial.  It literally takes just minutes to set up your account.  Imagine having more time in your life!

Click here to get started!

about the author:  Natalie Eckdahl is the co-Founder of ScheduleMAX.com, an online scheduling solution that is elegant and easy to use.  ScheduleMAX allows your clients to book online 24/7, reduces no shows through automatic Email or SMS notifications and saves everyone time!

 

 

The Perfectionism, Procrastination, Paralysis Cycle

Hello, my name is Natalie, and I am a recovering Perfectionist.   I used to get stuck in this terrible cycle of letting my need for things to turn out just right, cause me to procrastinate and then I would get nothing done.  I call it the Perfectionism, Procrastination, Paralysis Cycle.

Perfectionism/ Procrastination/ Paralysis

Perfectionism leads to Procrastination which leads to Paralysis

And by saying, I am a recovering Perfectionist, I mean that I occasionally  slip back into my old ways. And by occasionally, I really mean recently… like the last few months of blog posting.

I have a list of blog posts planned and some already written, just waiting to be published.  But, they aren’t yet “Perfect”, so they have sat in the drafts folder for months.  I have Procrastinated and never quite found the right amount of time to make them “Perfect” and thus, they have sat in the state of Paralysis in regards to blogging for almost 3 months.

The Consequences of Perfectionism

Thankfully, I got snapped out of my Paralysis today by a customer who emailed us asking if we were still in business.  He noted that we had not published a blog post since March.  Yikes.  Talk about a slap on the wrist, or better yet a slap in the face, to wake me up out of my Perfectionist stupor.

Perfectionism is a nasty disease.  It keeps us from moving forward and even trying new things.  Have you ever decided not to try a new activity, take a new career path or sign up for a class because you might not end up being perfect at it?  I often suggest to our customers that they start a blog to help build their brand, but most often the customer says they aren’t good enough writers,  they’re not sure if they can figure out the mechanics of blogging or if anyone would even read it.  I hear whispers of Perfectionism in their excuses.

The fear of not being Perfect keeps us stuck.  I wonder how many customers have just dismissed us in the last few months without bothering to email to see if we still had a pulse.  If they had checked our social channels they could easily have found us active and alert, but not everyone does this.  There are consequences to Perfectionism and for me and our company it is some unknown number of new customers since my last blog post.

Three Steps to Move Past Perfectionism

The best way to move out of the Paralysis phase is to take the following three steps:

1) Action - Do one thing immediately that moves your forward and out of the paralysis phase.  For me it is writing this post and making a goal to publish it tonight even if it is not “perfect”.

2) Accountability - Tell someone about your plan to finish whatever you are procrastinating about.  Tonight I contacted one of my team members and told them about the customer email wondering about our blog inactivity, and that I was going to post tonight to get myself moving forward.  I also committed to post once a week, even though the perfectionist in me wants a more agressive posting schedule.  I am keeping my goals realistic so that I don’t start procrastinating again.

3) Allow for Imperfections - Your finished product will likely never be “Perfect”in your eyes.  You have to let that be OK and just finish and move forward.  Number one and two will help you complete this step.

Are you a recovering or soon to be recovering Perfectionist?  What do you do to keep your projects moving forward and avoid procrastination and paralysis?

about the author:  Natalie Eckdahl is the co-Founder of ScheduleMAX.com, an online scheduling solution that is elegant and easy to use.  ScheduleMAX allows your clients to book online 24/7, reduces no shows through automatic Email or SMS notifications and saves everyone time!

Text Appointment Reminders to Clients

It takes just minutes for clients to add the ability to receive a text of their appointment reminders.  Our system automatically sends out an email confirmation of the appointment and an email reminder the day before the appointment.

In order to receive a Text of their appointment reminder, clients need to log into their account and opt in.

Service providers can also receive a text notification when they have a new appointment or cancellation by following these instructions.

How to get SMS or Text Appointment Reminders:

It’s easy for clients to get text reminders.  They just log into their account from our home page or http://www.ScheduleMAX.com/account.

Then they click on Notifications, click the Text box and enter their phone number.

Any NEW appointments they book will now send a text reminder of the appointment.

Enabling Texting of Appointment Reminders

How Client’s Add Texting to your ScheduleMAX.com Account.

Remember, our texting system just sends out texts, it does not have the ability to receive replies.  Clients can change appointments by logging into their ScheduleMAX account or by contacting their Service Provider directly.

Texting is currently only available in the US and Canada.  If you would like to request texting in a different country please email info at schedulemax.com

about the author:  Natalie Eckdahl is the co-Founder of ScheduleMAX.com, an online scheduling solution that is elegant and easy to use.  ScheduleMAX allows your clients to book online 24/7, reduces no shows through automatic Email or SMS notifications and saves everyone time!

Using ScheduleMAX.com for Email Appointment Reminders Only

We’ve made it easy to use ScheduleMAX.com just for sending out Email Appointment Reminders.  While many businesses allow their clients to schedule their own appointments online,  you can disable online booking and just use our system for its automatic email and text appointment reminders.  You do NOT have to let your clients book online.

We have a number of service providers that prefer to talk to their patients or clients when booking an appointment or have a receptionist that books all their appointments.  They do not want their patients or clients to book their own appointments online.

However, these service providers DO want the ability to send out automatic appointment email confirmations and reminders.  We find this especially works for Doctors, Dentists, Chiropractors, Acupuncturists and others in the medical field or anyone that needs to speak to their patients or clients before they book an appointment.

Appointment Reminder Testimonial

Dr.’s Andy and Jennifer Harmon of Peak Sports Chiropractic are using ScheduleMAX.com for our automatic appointment reminders with great success. Their receptionist enters all new appointments into their ScheduleMAX.com calendar.

Automatic Appointment Reminders

 

 

 

Just wanted to let you know that our patients are loving this system!

I think everyone (including us) loves that when they leave the office, by the time they get back to their email, the have confirmation of the appointment we just made…then they get confirmation the day before their appointment.

Awesome! This is resolving our no shows, and when people do need to change their appointment, they are contacting us ahead of time. Love it!

We offer a 30 day free trial and our prices start at $15/month for a solo practitioner. For 2-10 schedules or resources the price is $25-40/month. #setupinminutes

about the author:  Natalie Eckdahl is the co-Founder of ScheduleMAX.com, an online scheduling solution that is elegant and easy to use.  ScheduleMAX allows your clients to book online 24/7, reduces no shows through automatic Email or SMS notifications and saves everyone time! Contact our team – info at schedulemax.com.

Block Off Time in Your ScheduleMAX.com Calendar

It’s easy to block off time in your ScheduleMAX.com calendar!

One of the first things we suggest you do when you start using ScheduleMAX.com is to add all the appointments you currently have on your books to your ScheduleMAX calendar.  This should include personal appointments and business events.  If there is white space in your calendar, then this is time available for clients to book into.

Sometimes you just want to block off time so that clients cannot book into those slots.  Here’s the easiest way to do that.

Block Off Time

1) Click on an open time slot in your calendar and click CREATE EVENT

How to Block out Time

How to Create a Custom Event

 2) Create a Name for Your Event and Determine the Duration to Block Off

Blocking Time in ScheduleMAX

Create a Custom Event to Block Off Time

You have the option to create a one time event or a recurring event.  In the above scenario, I am blocking off my time from 1PM-6PM on Saturdays from February 2nd thru February 9th.  I initially clicked on the 10AM time slot in my calendar, but then manually changed the time to 1:00 PM.

You can also change the color of the events in your calendar.  For my calendar, I like to put all personal events in BLUE and all business development events in GREEN (the color of money).

3) Voila! 1PM to 6PM is Blocked Off

Example of How to Block Off Time

Remember, you cannot break anything in our software.  Play around with the calendar and get comfortable.  You can create events and delete them.

We are here to help and pride ourselves on providing a superior level of customer support.  Email info at schedulemax.com for the quickest response.

Happy Scheduling!

about the author:  Natalie Eckdahl is the co-Founder of ScheduleMAX.com, an online scheduling solution that is elegant and easy to use.  ScheduleMAX allows your clients to book online 24/7, reduces no shows through automatic Email or SMS notifications and saves everyone time!

Five Years From Now – Who Will You Be?

Happy New Year from our ScheduleMAX.com team!

I love how a new year gives us a chance to reflect on where we have been and where we are going.

I heard the best quote this week and it just stuck with me and continued to come to mind as I thought about the trajectory of the next few years in terms of my personal and professional life.

Quote by John Wooden

Coach John Wooden provided leadership inspiration on and off the court.

Who Will You Be in FIVE Years?

It’s easy to get busy just going through the motions of life and work and not take the time to reflect on what you are transforming into.  Based on former UCLA head basketball coach John Wooden’s advice, we should think through our networking opportunities and our intellectual development if we want to become something different in the future.

Make a Plan with Specific Goals

How can you go about applying this concept to your life?  It starts with a plan that has specific goals in mind. One idea for intellectual and personal growth is to plan to read at least one business or inspirational book a month.  If you’re not a fan of reading or can’t find the time, why not listen to audio books in your car?

I listened to The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell with my then 9-year-old while we drove to and from school and activities.  She still references concepts from the book two years later (like becoming an expert in something by putting in your 10,000 hours). Here are a few of my favorites to get you started:

Great Business Books:

  1. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  2. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
  3. The E-Myth Revisited:  Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber
  4. Ready, Fire, Aim by Michael Masterson
  5. Delivering Happiness:  A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose (story of Zappos.com) by Tony Hsieh

Tips on How to Meet New People

You might read the quote above and think you need to find all new friends and business contacts, but that is not what Coach Wooden is referencing.  He is talking about expanding who is in your life (and possibly letting go of 1-2 people who only supply negativity).  Here are some ideas on how to meet new people

  1. Join a business networking group that includes people from a variety of industries like BNI
  2. Attend continuing education events related to your industry
  3. Join a book club
  4. Attend a Meetup related to your business or a hobby
  5. Join a church or synagogue
  6. Try a new activity
  7. Volunteer for a cause that is important to you
Years ago I was part of a triathlon club.  We had meetings once a month, did ocean swims once a week and had group bike rides on Saturdays.  It was amazing that there were people from every walk of life, income level and age group (early twenties to late sixties).  I realized that many of these people would never have crossed my path had it not been for our common interest in triathlons.  What a great way to expand the type of people in my life!  A few became lifelong friends and one contact led to a job interview.

How to Connect with New People

Some people struggle with getting past a casual introduction or small talk at an event, but if you realize that most other attendees are hoping to connect and expand their sphere of influence it becomes less intimidating.

First, when you meet someone you want to connect with, listen to what they say is going on in their life or business.  If you can help them, let them know, then follow-up within 24 hours.  For example, you could recommend the new book you are reading (hint, hint), your web developer, hair stylist or baby sitter or whatever that person is looking for.

You could also email a new connection and ask if they are free to meet for coffee to discuss how you can help grow each others businesses.  In the business networking group BNI referenced above, attendees are encouraged to have 1/1 meetings with others in the group including guests.

If you struggle with remembering details after you meet a variety of people at once, ask for each person’s business card and discretely jot down details you learn about them after you talk.  It’s helpful to carry a fine tip Sharpie in your pocket or bag for this purpose.

Visualize 2018

Make the most of the opportunity to expand your mind and the people in your life and visualize where you want to be in 2018.  The next five years are going to go faster than any of us can imagine.  For a bit of perspective, Twitter launched just 6 years ago and Pinterest and Instagram launched 2 years ago.  What new technologies and inventions are going to also impact our lives and work?

Take a moment to reflect on how old you will be and if you have kids how old they will be in 2018.  Where do you want to be in your business and personal life in five years?  How can you meet new people and what books will help you expand your mind and inspire you to meet your goals?

Dream it.  Believe it.  Do it.

about the author:  Natalie Eckdahl is the co-Founder of ScheduleMAX.com, an online scheduling solution that is elegant and easy to use.  ScheduleMAX allows your clients to book online 24/7, reduces no shows through automatic Email or SMS notifications and saves everyone time!

Get More Referrals – 6 tips

Everyone wants to know how to get more referrals. Right?

Appointment based businesses get the bulk of their growth from word of mouth referrals.  Have you noticed that some people are better at referring than others?  How can you get more people to refer business to you?

Secret to More Referalls

Check out our six easy steps to improve your referral rate (don’t miss #6, which almost no one does).

1.  Create a tracking system

I was at my hair stylist a few weeks ago and a friend I haven’t seen in ages was just paying her bill.  We hugged and caught up and then I sat down in my stylist’s chair.  My stylist said, “I didn’t realize that you and Stacy knew each other.”   I gently reminded her that I had referred Stacy to her about 5 years ago.

At first I was surprised and a little hurt.  Then I thought, it’s been 5 years.  While I do not expect my stylist to remember everyone I referred going back 5 years, if she had a good system, it would be easy for her.

Your referral tracking system could be as low tech as keeping a note card of each client with their contact information, appointment history and who referred them to you and whom they in turn have referred.  If you are more techy, an excel spreadsheet or online scheduling program can help you track your referrals.

2.  Acknowledge your clients for referring

It is very important to thank your clients for sending you business.  It seems simple, but if you don’t have a good tracking system, then you might forget who referred who, especially if they visit you weeks or months apart.

I am a connector.  I like to connect old friends with new friends and people I know with service providers I use.  I like to share information I have and help other people grow their businesses.  I do this because I enjoy it.

At the same time, I appreciate when a professional acknowledges and thanks me for referring someone to his or her business.  Last year I sent my friend Grace to my esthetician for a Brazilian wax.   My esthetician never mentioned anything about the referral.  I would have just loved to hear, “Oh thank you so much for sending your friend Grace to me. “

3.  Reward for referrals

Have you considered rewarding your clients for their referrals?  It requires that you create a system for tracking referrals (see step #1).  I have talked to massage therapists that will give a free massage for every 5 referrals or will add on extra time or an upgrade such as aromatherapy or hot stones for every referral.

I suggest creating a reward system that “thanks” your client immediately on their next visit.  For example, you could give them an upgrade on their service as mentioned above, such as a $10 discount or a % off of product they are buying.

The instant gratification is great for the client, and it is also easier for you to track.  You don’t have to try to remember, OK, Jamie has referred me four clients, after she refers one more, I need to give her a free massage.

Finally, you need to tell your client you are rewarding them for the referral.  This is why we have step #2 (acknowledge).  A few months back, I noticed my bill was lower than I expected and asked my massage therapist about it.  She said it was because I sent her three new clients.  Her gesture would have been so much more powerful if she had thanked me and shared in advance why she gave me a discount.  What if I hadn’t noticed?

You might say, “Natalie, thank you so much for referring Linda to me.  I really appreciate your help in growing my business.  I am going to take $10 off your bill today as a special thank you.”

4.  Be consistent

So now you have a system to track your referrals, you are verbally thanking your clients and giving them some time of reward, now you need to be consistent.

Whatever reward you have decided on, you need to make sure you do it for every referral you get.  This is especially important for those clients who send you multiple referalls. Make sure you acknowledge and reward them for every person they send to you.

If you haven’t seen the referring client in a while, give them a call to thank them.

Ring, ring…”Hi Jamie.  It’s Natalie from SpaPerfect.  Thank you so much for referring Linda to me.  She came in last week for a facial and I really enjoyed meeting her.  I wanted to let you know that next time you come in, I will be giving you $10 off your service.  I really appreciate you helping me grow my business!” (An added benefit to a call like this is that Jamie is likely to book an appointment with you on the spot!)

5.  Understand the 80/20 rule

The 80/20 rule is very valuable to remember in many aspects of your business.  As you start to track your referrals, you will see that 20% of your clients are doing 80% of the referring.  That is because only certain people are connectors and get that joy from helping you and helping others.

Once you know this, you can start to track your best referrers.  I bet you already know a few off the top of your head.  They have sent you 3 or more new clients.

I would create a special list of these people and consider them my VIP clients (you also want to track who your biggest spenders are as well and keep them on a list).

6.  Bend over backwards for your “VIP’s”

Your VIP clients (top referrers and top spenders) are the clients that you want to bend over backwards for.  If I am your top referrer and I ask if you can come in early or stay late, you want to say YES.  If I ask if you can squeeze me in before an important event, you want to do everything in your power to make it happen.

You also might create special one off rewards for them that make sense based on what you think is important to them.  For example, I love coffee.  You might give me a gift card for coffee down the street from your shop or if you sell product, give me a free product that would help me.  This is in addition to your regular referral gift.

Make sure you are telling your VIP client why you are treating them special.  They will appreciate that you have noticed how they are helping your business grow.

My friend Jodie is one of those VIP clients you would want to jump through hoops for.  Jodie has a wide and diverse network of friends.  If she is a fan of you, she is going to tell so many people it will make your head spin.

Last year she wanted to take a parenting course, but the day being offered did not fit into her schedule.  She asked the instructor if a new class on Thursday mornings could be created if she found enough other people. The instructor agreed and guess what happened?  Jodie filled the class using her network.

How would you have rewarded Jodie?  She is one of those VIP clients you covet and want to make sure she feels appreciated.

We would love to hear your system for tracking referrals and how you reward for them. Please share in the comments section below.

Get started with online scheduling today.  Our client history and notes section helps you track referrals. #freetrial

about the author:  Natalie Eckdahl is the co-Founder of ScheduleMAX.com, an online scheduling solution that is elegant and easy to use.  ScheduleMAX allows your clients to book online 24/7, reduces no shows through automatic Email or SMS notifications and saves everyone time!

How to Add Texting to Your Account

We’ve made it so easy to add Texting of notifications to your business account. When you enable texting, you will receive a text when you have a new appointment or cancellation. (Please note that your carriers standard texting rates apply.)


Once you set up your business account on ScheduleMAX, you simply log into your account, click on the left SETTINGS menu, click on NOTIFICATIONS, then check the TEXT BOX and input your cell number.

Our texting system is very efficient and sends texts every minute.  So you will get updated immediately when you have a change to your schedule.

Texting is a premium feature and is $5 more per month for a business account with 1-5 staff members and $10 more per month if you have 6-10 staff members. Check in with us if you have a larger business.

All of our features are free to use and test during your 30 Day Free Trial regardless of the size of your business!

 

 

about the author:  Natalie Eckdahl is the co-Founder of ScheduleMAX.com, an online scheduling solution that is elegant and easy to use.  ScheduleMAX allows your clients to book online 24/7, reduces no shows through automatic Email or SMS notifications and saves everyone time!

 

6 Tips for Mastering Your LinkedIn Profile

Notice anything different on your LinkedIn profile page? It’s not your imagination–and it needs your attention. Here’s what you need to know.

linkedin bay to breakersThe recent LinkedIn profile updates may seem subtle at first glance, but to stay current on this professional social networking site, there are some things you should know and do. First, be prepared to get a professional head shot, given that your smiling face is much more prominent as a result of the updated look that LinkedIn rolled out in late summer.

Wayne Breitbarth, LinkedIn consultant and author of The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success, reminds us that this isn’t Facebook–LinkedIn is all about professionalism and credibility. It’s important to stay current on your profile and give your contacts what they’re looking for. Breitbarth stepped in to help with that task by providing this review of the LinkedIn profile changes and simple tips to help you stand out. Breitbarth’s pointers might take only minutes to execute but will deliver a powerful impressionHere’s how:

1. Put more emphasis on your profile photo.

LinkedIn is putting the focus on your face with a larger profile image. This means you had better have a photo, and it had better be good, now more than ever. Stick with a simple head shot, dressed as you would when meeting a client. People want to do business with people they like, and your photo is the first impression; make it professional and likable!

2. Take advantage of what’s no longer featured.

Gone are the number of recommendations and the full synopsis of your work and educational experience. And your websites are no longer prominently displayed on your profile page. This means that LinkedIn users need to take greater advantage of the other profile features to make this information more visible.

3. Work on your headline–it’s more important than ever!

Because the amount of information in your top box has been reduced, the remaining information is more important than ever, including your headline. The 120-character headline is one of the best spots on your profile to explain your brand. You’ll want to include your most important keywords as well. Your current job title will be shown in the top box only if you have just one. However, if you have multiple current jobs, only the company names will be displayed, not your titles. In this case, consider the keywords by which you want to be found. If the job title is relevant, include it in the headline.

4. Also note: The summary section is much more prominent.

Because of the reduced size of the top box, your summary is now above the fold; thus more important, especially the first few sentences. Those sentences had better pack a punch relating to your current business objectives and your credibility.

5. Treat “contact information” like a business card.

This information used to be in various spots on the old version of your profile page. Now it is summarized nicely in the top box and opens after a person clicks the Contact Info tab right next to the picture of the index card. Be sure to include all the ways you feel comfortable with people contacting you. Available options are websites, Twitter, email, phone, IM, and your address.

6. Consider that website addresses are harder to find.

The websites included on your profile (you can list up to three) were previously front and center, but now they are a bit hidden in the Contact Info section. Thus, you may want to mention your website(s) in your summary and in the description(s) of your job experience. This will not be a clickable link, but at least a person can find it without having to open the Contact Info tab.

So, smile for the camera, update your new profile page, and leverage your LinkedIn experience and relationships to build your business. Let me know how you do!

About the Author:  Marla is a small-business advisor who helps entrepreneurs around the globe grow their businesses well into the millions. She speaks widely on combining strategic and creative thinking for optimum success and happiness. @MarlaTabaka

Special thanks to our guest blogger Marla Tabaka.  Don’t miss our interview with her. This article originally appeared in INC. Magazine.