Do you remember the days before cell phones? Contractors and business owners had pagers and Daytimers. I remember my dad telling me that when he worked in the field painting for a homeowner, he’d have to ask the homeowner if he could use their phone to make a call or drive to the nearest pay phone. Life was simple. Asking to use someone’s phone was not an inconvenience. It was normal. Yet, the days of pagers, pay phones, daytimers and people waiting 24+ hours for a response are over! Now consumers want quick and fast response. If they send an email, they get impatient if they don’t hear back from a contractor within 2 hours or less. Some consumers don’t even like talking on the phone. They would prefer scheduling their appointments online at their convenience.
Well, to keep up with technology and this fast pace lifestyle, Bookfresh and Setster have made it a little easier for business owners to allow prospects and customers to schedule appointments online. Bookfresh and Setster are online scheduling and appointment booking software. A visitor can now go on to a contractor’s website, click on the “Contact Us” or “Book Now” button, select a service, view available time slots and schedule an appointment. Both of these companies have made online scheduling a breeze.
Which one do I like best? It is hard to say. I like them both. Bookfresh seems to have done a better job marketing themselves and has more testimonials from places like the New York Times and USA Today. Setster, is a younger company yet is slowly becoming a threat to compete neck to neck with Bookfresh.
Pros of Bookfresh
- Mobile friendly: browser-based website to view and accept appointments
- Attractive and Easy to Use.
- Available on your Business Facebook Page and Email Campaigns
- Has a “mini site” for your company. This could replace your company contact page completely. It is easy to use and search-engine friendly
- Integrates pretty well with Outlook and Google Calendars
- For contractors, there is no function to schedule specific areas of town. In other words, if you want to schedule appointments in the same zip code or area, there is no way to do this. Bookfresh makes scheduling easy for the consumer only.
- Bookfresh takes a consumer away from a contractor’s website. This is not good from a marketing perspective. It should be a pop up menu with the contractors brand and identity. When a consumer clicks on the Book Now button, Bookfresh takes over.
- Customer support, in my opinion is terrible. If you want phone support, you pay more per month: around $30. However, I’ve tried this route and still had a very difficult time getting in touch for several of my clients. This is really the downside to Bookfresh. They should offer free support for 1 month. They really cannot rely completely on email support when they are dealing with non techy people at times. This is the one reason I cannot highly recommend their product.
Pros of Setster
- Customer Services. Each time I’ve had an issue, they’ve respond by email well…and even picked up the phone and called me to make sure I was happy.
- Easy to view on a mobile phone and approve appointments
- Pricing is good. It use to be cheaper than Bookfresh. Just a couple weeks ago, they raised their prices to be similar to Bookfresh. Basic plan starts at around $20 a month.
- Branding of Setster is limited. A Consumer stays on a contractor’s website when booking an appointment.
- Easy to install buttons for email marketing, website and sending business emails.
- Works very well with Google Calendar.
- Invoice and Accept Payments online (Integrates with Quickbooks, Freshbooks and PayPal)
Cons of Setster
- Not as mobile friendly as Bookfresh and no App available yet.
- The calendar function is not as design-friendly as Bookfresh
- Does not accept Credit Card payments from Authorize.net. The account owner has to use PayPal. I would think it would be easy to add a Merchant Service account other than PayPal.
Bookfresh and Setster are great programs! Consumers use these features and seem to like the ease of them. If Bookfresh would have better customer service, I’d give them two thumbs up. Until then, Setster takes the cake.