10 Ways You Can Improve Your Online Booking
It goes without saying that any business or organisation that needs to fill spaces for events, courses or clubs need to have a powerful and effective online booking system. It's simple logic, right? Yet, when you've found an effective booking system, that shouldn't be the end of the road. There are still other ways in which you can improve the process and increase bookings whilst making the whole booking process run a lot smoother for your customers. As they say, a happy customer is a returning customer!
With our extensive list of clients including the likes of Fulham FC and, NFL team, the Jacksonville Jaguars, we like to think we know a thing or two about maximising bookings and creating a great booking journey for customers. In fact, there are ten whole things we think could help you to improve your customer booking journey...
1. Easy to find
You can have the best booking software in the world, but what's the point if people can't find your business in the first place? Hopefully, you've already got an SEO strategy in place for your business, but you also need to ensure that your booking system can be optimised for search. This will allow you to pick up traffic based on the search terms that people are using for your event, course or club.
2. Easy to use
Naturally, no two businesses will ever have the exact same customer booking journey. For example, a parent looking to book their child onto a soccer school will have very different needs to a young professional looking to book onto a training course. User experience is becoming more and more important, and even within specific sectors, we're already starting to notice subtle differences in the ways people book events and courses.
As such, it’s crucial for businesses to understand the needs of a customer in order to create a simple journey. Think about things from your customers perspective. Have you tried using your current system yourself? Ask people in your family to try and navigate the journey to get constructive feedback. Or perhaps you're already aware of certain sticking points from customer feedback forms? By identifying these issues, you can improve the process which will more than likely lead to an increase in bookings; a win-win situation.
3. Easy on the eye
Whilst usability is the most important aspect of any online booking system, the design and layout of the page can't be overlooked. In most cases, your booking system will more than likely sit within an existing website application. If for some reason it doesn't, it should still reflect the brand identity of your business or organisation.
From a customer's perspective, it can become confusing if the booking element of a website has a different layout or style to the rest of your website. As such, it's crucial that you invest some time and money into the booking pages of your site.
4. Anywhere, anytime, any device
Unless you've been living under a rock, you'll know that responsive website design is the best way forward in order to maximise your online presence. Responsive website design means that your website or web application will look good on any device, whether it's a mobile, tablet or desktop. It, therefore, makes sense for the front end of your online booking system to respond to different devices in a similar way so that your customers get the best possible experience. However, it's also important for the back end of the software to be responsive too. When you're busy and constantly on the move, being able to make minor edits from your mobile or tablet will make your life a lot easier.
5.Speedy booking process
Ideally, a first booking should never take longer than 2 minutes. There's nothing more frustrating for a customer than a long, tiresome booking process. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can follow to speed up the booking process such as adjusting the load time of pages, streamlining the processes involved and mapping out a customer booking journey.
Some information isn't necessary or can be left until a later time after the booking is made. It's worth investing in software which has visitor recognition as this will allow customers to make repeat bookings even quicker by loading up the details of their previous bookings. If you speed up the booking process, you'll see a significant rise in conversions as you'll reduce the amount of customers exiting half way through a booking.
6. Reducing admin time for staff
Time is money, so it makes sense to save time for your employees as well as your customers. As such, it's important to look at the ways you can decrease the amount of admin time each employee has. Intelligent booking software will allow you to streamline and automate certain processes so your staff can spend their time more efficiently.
7. Real-time reporting
In order to improve your customer satisfaction levels and maximise bookings, it's vital that you have an in-depth understanding of the way current customers are using your site. With real-time reporting, your staff will be able to monitor this data as well as staying up-to-date with their booking habits. Furthermore, this will allow you to react to customer requests quickly whilst adapting your approach to meet specific needs.
8. Upselling and cross-selling
Without the human element of face-to-face contact, your booking system becomes responsible for generating returning customers. As such, your software needs to be able to gauge a thorough understanding of your customers’ needs. If your software has this insight, it can upsell and cross-sell new events, courses, clubs or extras to customers. Your software should provide your customers with the functionality to book multiple courses in a single transaction.
9. Stay in touch
After a customer has made one booking, that needn’t be the end of the relationship. A good online booking system will give you the option to record customer interaction so that you can continue to nurture the relationship after the initial. For example, by integrating your online booking system with a CRM database, you've got an instant target audience for any future marketing campaigns you pursue.
10. Safety first
When a customer is making any payment online, safety and security are understandably at the forefront of their mind. As such, it's absolutely crucial that your booking software has the necessary security features to protect your customers’ sensitive data. Furthering on this, it’s also important to maintain security standards in the admin section of the software by limiting access based on admin permissions. This will ensure that employees can only access the areas that are relevant to their role.
By mapping out the needs of your customers and creating a booking journey to meet these needs, you can create a fast, efficient online booking process that makes it quick and easy for people to book an event, course or club. Which means you’ll start to see the phrase “fully booked” a lot more often!
If you’d like to find out more about how you can improve your online booking with thinkBooker, get in touch with one of our team.