BookFresh: A Virtual Receptionist

bookfresh-logoWhen you’re working on your own, setting up appointments can take you away from more important tasks. Even if the appointment itself is something crucial — a meeting with a client to go over a new project’s specs, say — the back and forth of trying to find a time that works for both of you can delay your ability to get down to business. BookFresh provides an alternative that can let your clients choose a time to talk to you that works for both of you.

BookFresh’s online service isn’t so different from a virtual receptionist. As you set up your account, you have the opportunity to choose what kinds of appointments you’ll accept: as a web worker with clients all over, I primarily offer only phone appointments. If you’re willing to have clients come to your business, or you’re willing to go to visit them, however, you can choose those options. You can also schedule a client without having him go through setting up an appointment himself, as well as limit the hours you are available on your calendar.

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As you explore BookFresh, you’ll find many features beyond simply setting appointments. The site can issue a variety of appointment reminders, including via text message to make sure you get them. You can also sync the service with your existing calendar. If you charge directly for the time you spend meeting with a client, you can also have BookFresh offer a pre-payment option to your clients; the site uses PayPal to request and accept payments. You can even embed your appointment schedule in your own web site.

If you work in a team,  the scheduler can handle multiple staff members on both the Business plan ($19.95 per month) and the Business Pro plan ($29.95). The crucial difference between the two plans is the availability of phone support. A free plan is available if you’re interested in testing out BookFresh, but it is severely limited.

In addition to the scheduling services, BookFresh offers a few additional features meant to help you find more leads. The site allows you to integrate client testimonials into your schedule, as well as create a business mini-site in order to better attract clients. It also provides advertising services to drum up local business for your company through Google, Vast and other sites. I wouldn’t necessarily consider such an advertising strategy to be useful for many web workers, considering not all of us look primarily for local business, but the feature doesn’t seem to have any additional costs associated with it.

What tools do you use for setting up client meetings?

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