An Overview of Acuity, Our Favorite Calendar Scheduling Tool
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How many times have you had to schedule a meeting with someone for your business? If you have meetings with anyone, regardless of if they are with potential clients, vendors, or even business friends to set up coffee dates, sometimes they can get a bit challenging when you both have different schedules to work with.
Forget about inbox zero, because you'll quickly go to inbox overwhelm if you're trying to coordinate a lot of meetings with a lot of people without a solid system in place.
So let's chat about two different scenarios here.
With one option, you can have the email back and forth - you know that conversation. You agree to meet via email, and so this happens next:
You, email one: "what time works best for you?"
Client, email one: I can meet in the mornings!
You, email two: Great! How about Tuesday at 9, or Thursday at 11?
Client, email two: Actually, can you meet on Wednesday at 10?
Client, email three: Or how about Thursday at 3?
You, email three: I can't meet this Wednesday, but I can meet the following Wednesday! How about 11?
Client, email four: Could we meet at 9 instead?
You, email four: No, I have another meeting at that time. What other days are you available?
And so on and so forth.
Now, these conversations taking place above are all happening in both of your inboxes, and they're definitely a chat that can bring frustration to the table. Once the meeting is scheduled, then you need to do schedule the appointment in your calendar, and perhaps make a note to write a reminder email the day before your meeting. If you need additional information from them, you have to send them yet another email where you need to request it.
And heaven forbid if you get the dreaded "I need to reschedule our meeting. What can we do?" email. Which in time, may make you a bit more frustrated with the entire process. And if you are frustrated with all of the back and forth to simply set up a time to chat, how do you think your client might feel?
But, ALL of this can go away with one change, by using a Calendar Scheduling tool. Enter, Acuity.
Scheduling meetings can turn into not only a productivity wonderland, but also make it a lot easier on your client, thus improving the experience with potentially working with you from the beginning. Whenever you are communicating with a potential client, you want your clients to feel that they are in great hands from the beginning, show that you are organized, and see that you have systems in place to keep things running smoothly. You always want to be thinking, "how can I take care of them in the best way I know how from the very beginning?" when implementing systems into your business in order to make it an incredible experience for them from the first time you chat. And having this in place can enhance a lot of that feeling from the get-go.
Let's look at the second meeting scheduling scenario:
You agree to meet via email, and so this is the conversation that happens next. You already have a canned response set up, so all you have to do is copy and paste what you have to say into an email to them:
You: Hi, (potential client!), I am excited to meet with you about (subject). Please compare your calendar to mine at this link here (← tip: input your calendar link into the text so that they don't see the link itself, so it makes your email appear cleaner) and choose a time that works the best for your schedule. Once you select a time, you'll receive a link to your inbox so that in case you need to reschedule, you can do it right from there. You'll also receive a reminder email 24 hours before our appointment.
Potential Client: Opens email, clicks link, chooses a time, answers questions you have, and boom. Done.
You then receive an email to your inbox from Acuity that an appointment has been scheduled, it automatically gets added to your Google Calendar or iCal (and gives the client the opportunity to add it to theirs right away too) and automatically sends you both a reminder of your meeting, which you can choose - perhaps 24 hours ahead of time or even 10 minutes prior via a text message directly to their/your phone. If they need to reschedule, they do it all within their own inbox, and there is no more of the dreaded back and forth.
You can even take it one step further, and create a bit.ly link from your site so that you can commit it to memory and it's easier for your clients too. It's a lot easier to remember "bit.ly/scheduleameetingwithkristin" ( ← not a real link ) than to have to type in your entire website and the page each time. This also comes in handy if you're chatting with people over messaging - set up a Text Replacement within your Keyboard set, and then your entire address gets input within moments. You don't even have to type in the entire link, or the entire sentence if you set it up that way!
You can also make automation happen even more by setting up a Zap using Zapier so that every time a meeting is scheduled in Acuity, you get a new task created in Asana or a new card created in your Trello board, so that you are even covered on that end, and you can add notes in about the meeting or make checklists on what you need to do before you meet.
And suddenly, all of the productivity angels are singing.
All of this can be done with Acuity, which is hands down my favorite calendar scheduling tool.
I have used other scheduling tools in the past, but since I made the switch to Acuity, I have been really happy with it. My main reason for loving Acuity is actually due to the ease of use on the client side of things. If you have a schedule that varies from day to day and some days there are a lot of times available, whereas others they've only got one spot, you want to think about things from a client perspective. How many clicks are they going to need to do to see what they need to see, and how can you avoid them having to go back and forth so that they can do things quickly without needing to click a lot? With Acuity, it's all laid out there for them in one view. And the less clicks that my client has to make to see what is open, the better.
Your client can choose their time zone right in the app, they can fill in information you need right from the beginning, AND they can even pay you for services if you want to charge a consultation fee for meeting with them. All in all, it makes things a LOT easier for both of you.
From the back-end perspective, what I really love is that you can go in to individual days to block off times or make different options available within your calendar. So for example, if you want to have certain times available for a 30 minute meeting, 60 minute meeting, or an in-person meeting, you can do that.
You can also set parameters that only allow meetings to be scheduled a certain time in advance - meaning that if you want to make sure no new meetings are scheduled within 24 hours, you can do that. Also, you can do the same thing moving forward, where people can't schedule a meeting more than a month in advance, so that you can make sure that you don't have to reschedule if something comes up.
I also love that you can add in your own colors for branding, change the fonts, and the best part? It can all be embedded into your website so that it blends into your business branding.
This is basically what we consider a win, win, win.
SO! Before I go any further, I did want to walk you through what it looks like from the client point of view. So, we created a brief 2 minute video to show you what your client will see when they are on your scheduling page.
So now, you may be thinking, ok. I really want to have this, but how much is it going to cost?
There is a Free option for Acuity*, but you are really limited with options, and you can't brand it to your site. However, if you "upgrade" to the Emerging Entrepreneur plan, it costs $15 per month. Now, some of you may say that it's too much to pay for a calendar scheduler, but here are my thoughts on this. Think about the time you spend going back and forth via email, and the experience from your client's perspective. Think about all of the emails you have with clients, and heaven forbid you have two people tell you they want to meet at the same time. This puts you back to square one. However, if you have one link where everything is housed and booked on a "first scheduled, first available" basis, it'll make it easier for everyone involved.
However, there is also one more thing that I want to add into this too - Acuity has paired up with Squarespace, so if you have a Squarespace website, you can sign up for the Emerging Entrepreneur Plan and use all of the features included for free! Yes, free!
Simply visit this link here to learn how to set up Acuity within your Squarespace website, and then go to this link here to show Acuity that you embedded it into your website, and voila. Everything is set up, you have a scheduling app on your website, and everything is done.
It'll take a little bit of time to set it up on the back-end of things and learn how Acuity can work the best for you as we have only touched on all of the incredible things it can do for you within your business, but I can guarantee that once you have this set up, you'll thank yourself for it, and your clients will love it even more.
If you're on the fence about it and want to give it a try, Acuity offers a 14 day free trial to see what you think. So there's literally nothing to lose ... give it a try and let us know what you think!
Do you use Acuity, or another scheduling tool with your clients?
If so, what do you love the most about it? Share with us in the comments below!
* You may have noticed that there is an asterisk next to Acuity above. This link is an affiliate link, which means that at no additional cost to you, I receive a small compensation if you choose to sign up for an account through the link provided. So if you sign up, thank you! You're helping us to help you even more! ;)