Online scheduling tool SkedgeMe came out of beta today, joining a growing ecosystem of collaborative scheduling tools that are increasingly useful as workers move away from centralized workplaces. SkedgeMe is a little like Tungle.me, an app that we’ve covered previously, but it’s primarily designed for business, rather than individual, use. Companies using SkedgeMe can indicate the services they offer and when they’re available, then their customers can book those services online using the tool, which means businesses can accept appointments though their websites 24/7.
Getting set up on SkedgeMe is simple and takes only a few minutes. After supplying some details about your business (contact details, etc.), you add staff to your account. Each staff member can have his or her own hours of availability applied (including setting different hours on particular days of the week) and unique calendar color. Then you can optionally add calendars for particular physical business resources (meeting rooms or equipment, for example), again each with their own hours of availability and calendar color defined. Finally, you need to set up some services that people can book via SkedgeMe. These can be individual appointments (one-on-one consulting, perhaps) or group events (a class, for example), each with their own staff and resource requirements. Group events can also have their own availability and calendar color defined.
Once you’ve set up your businesses services, it’s just a case of generating an HTML widget (that says either “Book Now” or “Appointment”) to add to your site. Users can click on that link to bring up a pop-up calendar page to book a spot in your schedule.
Booked appointments are added to staff calendars on SkedgeMe, which can be synced with Google Calendar and Outlook.
As well as a scheduling system, SkedgeMe offers reporting tools, so users can gain insight into customer behavior and even generate invoices using data from the tool. It also provides basic CRM functionality; notes about particular customers can be stored in the tool, and previous customers can also be emailed from within the app to remind them about making another appointment. iPhone and Android apps are also available.
SkedgeMe offers a range of plans, depending on the number of staff and resource calendars that need to be managed though the service. The basic Silver plan costs $29.95 per month and allows for the management of two staff calendars and three resource calendars. A 30-day free trial is available on all plans.
Scheduling is a problem that a growing number of startups are working on right now: TimeTrade, Doodle and Tungle are just some of the popular tools that we’ve featured on these pages. The space is pretty hot right now: Plannr was just acquired by Google, for example, while TimeTrade has raised some $5.6 million in funding. As an increasing number of people work away from centralized office locations, scheduling tools are going to become even more important because they can help to provide some of the infrastructure that an office environment once provided.
Which scheduling tool do you use?
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