You’ve started building the website for your new business. At some point, you’ll probably try to implement some way to allow customers to book a meeting with your company. As you don’t want to spend a lot of time on the technical ways to do it, you’ve found a good solution: why not trying to use a simple contact form? There are many form builders available. They look nice and are easy to configure. So, why should I use something else.
Despite that could sound like a good idea, there are many cons of allowing your customers to book an appointment using a simple contact form. To prevent you from falling into the common traps of appointment scheduling using contact forms, we’ve decided to help you with this article.
If there is one point we should emphasize, it’s the following: forms are not aware of your disponibility. Compared to dedicated booking systems, you won’t be able to set up your available times on booking forms. If you purpose customers to book on Monday from 8 to 10, nothing prevents thousands of users booking simultaneously. Depending on what kind of business you operate, this can be a big problem.
Moreover, forms aren’t flexible. If your business is closed for whatever reason (let’s say because you are on holiday): you’ll have to update your website. Depending on your technical skills, this can be rather complex: you’ll have to contact your IT person to make a slight change on your booking form, and, then, to revert the changes when your holidays are over.
If you use an online booking system, this can be achieved with a simple click in your administration panel. The changes will propagate to your website and you won’t have to do anything else.
Depending on your security measures, open public forms can also expose your company to spamming. Many bad people online take advantage of public forms to spam your mailbox with unwanted promotional content. It will mix with legit requests from your customers. In the end, it will be a loss of time for your business.
Last point: forms aren’t easily extensible. Despite they look easier to configure than dedicated appointment scheduling tools, this quickly becomes false as soon as you would like to add some advanced features.
Let’s say you would like to notify customers a few minutes before a booking: you’ll have to implement that. Do you want your customer to pick a product or a service before booking? Let’s again tweak your form. Do you want to accept a payment to validate a booking? Here, things start to become difficult.
To conclude, we cannot recommend more using the right tool when implementing appointment scheduling for your business. Using forms can be tempting, and, let’s be honest, can fit a few situations. However, as soon as you’ll need to add a bit of flexibility, customization, or specific features to your booking flow, let’s consider using a dedicated solution, such as our software, Datelist to add an online booking widget to your website.