Never ask “what time works for you?” again. Ever.
If you’re a coach or service provider like me, chances are high that you have to schedule calls with clients or prospects on a daily basis. Then you’re probably also familiar with:
- the endless going back and forth of scheduling appointments, rescheduling and then rescheduling again
- manually juggling different calendars, trying to prevent overbooking and setting yourself reminders to send reminder texts to clients
- the fear of missing out on potential bookings cause, well, your email inbox is a mess
You hear me talk a lot about how systems help you scale your time and efforts by automating processes in your business.
Scheduling client calls is definitely one process that we all can (and should!) automate in our businesses.
Here’s how you can automate your appointment scheduling using the free tool Calendly.* (Some of the features mentioned below are only available on the paid plan.)
* There are other tools available to schedule appointments such as Acuity or ScheduleOnce. The setup process & features are similar, however for demonstration purposes I will focus on one tool, Calendly. If you have any questions regarding setting up a different tool, feel free to leave a comment below.
SET UP CALENDLY TO AUTOMATE APPOINTMENT SCHEDULING
You can either sign up with your email and password or directly with your Google Account. If you chose the latter, your Google Calendar will automatically be synced with Calendly (you can change this later).
Choose your calendar URL that describes you or your business. Make it short and simple so it’s easy to remember. I recommend using either your business name or personal name such as /hersecretweapon, /bettinaherz or /bettinaherzcoaching.
If you signed up with your Google Account, the Google Calendar linked to that email will be automatically synced. You can edit the calendar 1) that will be checked for conflicts 2) where events will be added. You can choose from any calendar that is shared with your Google Account.
Populate the calendar with your availability. You can set your regular weekly hours or you can set them for each day of the month individually.
Update your Account Settings such as:
- Welcome Message
- Date Format
- Time Format
You can also remove the Calendly branding here (which is turned on by default) if you have a paid account.
Make sure to set the right time zone. By default, the time zone will be set to the one on your device. Whenever you’re traveling, make sure to update Calendly with your new time zone. I have set myself a recurring task to update my time zone in Calendly whenever I plan my travels. As sometimes my clients book calls two weeks out, I need to make sure the app reflects the correct time zones any time they can book an appointment as otherwise I might have to reschedule or cancel calls in case they booked inconvenient time slots (not a good client experience!).
I highly recommend to upload a profile picture that will be displayed on your scheduling page as this looks way more personal and enforces brand consistency. Use either your logo or a picture of yourself.
In the settings, you are also able to change your scheduling link that you have set up in the beginning or your login details.
CREATE AN EVENT
By default, Calendly created three different events already which you can either edit or delete. Set up your first event by clicking the button “New Event”.
You can choose between a group event and a one-on-one event:
One-on-One Event: Allows invitees to schedule individual slots with you.
Group Event: Allows multiple invitees to schedule the same slot. Useful for tours, webinars, classes, workshops, etc.
Setting up your one-on-one event
Once you choose your event type, you will be able to edit the event settings.
WHAT EVENT IS THIS?
Make sure to choose a name for your event that clearly states what the call is about as the name will appear on the actual scheduling page, the calendar invite and the email reminders. Common events are: Strategy Session, Discovery Call, 90min Coaching Session.
Use the Location field to determine how and where you and the person booking the appointment will connect at the scheduled time.
The location entered here will appear on the confirmation page after events are scheduled and in the calendar event added to both you and your invitee’s calendars.
If you’re on a paid plan, you can connect third party apps such as Zoom here which will automatically generate a new meeting ID for each call and add the ID to the calendar event.
Other options are:
- Adding your Personal Zoom ID
- Adding something like “I call you on Skype” or “I call you on mobile”
- Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, etc.
Use this optional field to provide a short description of your event.
Event URL is the link you can share with your invitees. By default, it will add the event name here.
This is used to color code scheduled events on your personal dashboard. Choose either a color that is aligned to your branding or, if you have multiple event types, you can use different colors to differentiate appointments by event types (one-on-one vs. group) or meeting partner (team meetings, clients, leads…).
WHEN CAN PEOPLE BOOK THIS EVENT?
This is where you can define how long your event will be. It can be as short as 1 minute or as long as 12 hours. Use one of the options available or set a custom duration.
This is where you can set a date range for your availability. You can choose between a rolling number of days into the future, a specific range of dates, or indefinitely into the future. This is useful if you’re traveling a lot or if you plan your calendar in batches. I usually update my calendar every 2-3 months with travel plans and personal or business appointments. Therefore, I make sure that the date range in Calendly does not exceed 60 days so that I avoid double bookings or collision with my travel plans/other events.
EVENT TIME ZONE
Use this setting to control how your available hours are displayed from your scheduling page. “Local” means that your invitees will see your availability in their local time zone. “Locked” means that your invitees will see the time zone you are in/you have set in your account settings. If your invitees are in different time zones, I recommend to set the time zone to local as this will avoid any confusion.
HOURS (Calendar View)
This is where you can set your available hours for this event type. Calendly will offer time slots within these availability windows. Your default availability is 9:00am-5:00pm Monday through Friday, but this can be adjusted either one day at a time, or for several days at once. You can also copy availability from other event types that you’ve defined previously.
Availability Increments: Set the frequency of available time slots for your invitees.
Event Max Per Day: Use this optional setting to limit the number of events that can be scheduled in a day.
Minimum Scheduling Notice: Use this setting to prevent last minute events. I usually set this to at least 24 hours to make sure I have enough time to prepare for a call.
Event Buffers: Use this to set aside preparation, rest or travel time before or after events. I recommend to set buffers of at least 15-30 minutes as in the case that an event runs over time, all your following calls will not be affected.
By default, Calendly will ask for your invitees name and email address but you have the option to ask more questions prior to the call. If you chose to “I call you on your mobile/Skype” as a location, this is the chance to ask for your invitees phone number or Skype ID. If you use Calendly for scheduling Discovery or Coaching Calls, this is also a great way to ask for any information you need to know before the call. This way you avoid having to send other questionnaires or forms.
Make sure to mark all important questions as required.
NOTIFICATION & CANCELLATION POLICY
After scheduling the appointment, your invitee will receive an invitation to join the same event as the one published on the calendar that you connected to your Calendly Account (Google/Office 365/Outlook.com Calendar).
I recommend to activate Email reminders as this will make sure that your invitee receives a reminder email before a scheduled event at a time you have specified (24 hours before / 12 hours before / 1 hour before). This is a good way to avoid “no-shows”. You can also send multiple reminder emails.
Cancellation Policy: Allow your client is to reschedule or cancel their own appointment without ever needing to contact you directly. You can also specify your cancellation policy.
For example, if you use Calendly to schedule coaching calls, you could define that calls can’t be rescheduled if they are cancelled less than 24 hours before the scheduled appointment.
Choose to display Calendly’s default confirmation page or redirect them to a custom link. You could redirect your website, blog, freebie, or a sales page for example.
Connect a payment method (like Stripe or PayPal) to collect payments. This is a handy feature if you sell one-off sessions as your clients can directly pay their sessions without you having to send them to a separate payment link.
ADD LINK OR EMBED ON YOUR WEBSITE
Once you’ve created your event you can choose between linking to the scheduling page or embedding it on your website. If you choose to embed it on your website, the scheduler will then active within your website without redirecting to Calendly.
Pro Tip: Set up a Zapier automation so you can add new bookings with specific tags to your email list.
Still need help setting up your appointment because you got 49753 other things on your plate and you just have no mental space to deal with all the tech? Lucky you, because I absolutely love technology and I’m more than happy to help you out.
Schedule a call here (with Calendly, of course ;)) and I’ll set up your appointment scheduling within a hot second, plus you receive a personalized video walkthrough to keep for reference that makes updating the tool super easy for you or your team.