If you’re still using Outlook calendar, then appointment setting software can help you streamline your meeting management. Appointment setting software makes it easy for you to book in-person and virtual meetings with both internal teammates and external customers. While Calendly is currently the leading software in the appointment scheduling space, there are some worthy alternatives that also deserve your attention.
What is appointment setting software?
Appointment setting software — also called appointment scheduling solutions, appointment booking systems, and appointment management software — makes it easy for companies to manage appointments, meetings, and client bookings. The software syncs with your calendar to automatically show when you’re available and allows you to easily book between teams or departments. It also allows people outside your organization to cancel or move appointments without waiting for the owner of the calendar event to make the change.
What is Calendly?
Calendly is perhaps the best-known option in the appointment setting software space. It allows you to set your availability and syncs all your calendars in one place, which is beneficial for people who have their work calendar in Outlook and their personal calendar in Gmail, for instance. You can use Calendly to book meetings internally within your organization, or you can use it to schedule times with people outside your company, such as potential or current customers. Send your contact a link, and they will see a real-time calendar of your availability and can choose a time that works for them.
Calendly also integrates with many different services to allow you to automate meeting tasks that you would have to perform manually with a typical email calendar client. For example, a Zoom integration will automatically create video calls for virtual meetings, while the Stripe integration lets you take payments during the meeting. There are many different integrations available covering a wide variety of categories from CRM to analytics. If you need a particular integration, the Calendly website has an up-to-date list allowing you to browse them all to see if they will suit your needs.
Calendly has three levels of pricing: free, premium and pro . Many of its features are only available on the paid plans, and plenty of the most helpful ones — including the HubSpot and Salesforce integrations — are only available on the most expensive pro plan, so bear that in mind when considering Calendly.
The Best Calendly Alternatives
While Calendly is a great appointment setting software option, all those features do command a higher price, and if you don’t need such robust functionality, then it might not be worth it for your company. Here are the Calendly alternatives you should consider:
This memorably-named service focuses on a subset of the appointment scheduling market: sales and CS reps. If you constantly book meetings with customers and potential customers, then you will appreciate Chili Piper’s ability to book meetings instantly from your inbox, automatically create leads in your CRM software, and integrate easily with Salesforce and HubSpot. There is a free plan available, as well as two paid tiers: “Spicy”, and “Hot”. You need to get one of the paid subscriptions in order to unlock most of the CRM-specific features, but if you just want to book meetings then the free tier should be sufficient. Chili Piper’s focus on CRM will also be less helpful if you aren’t a sales or CS rep, so if you work in a different department, then another option on this list might be a better fit for you.
HubSpot Sales Hub
Did you know that HubSpot offers a meeting scheduling tool? In fact, it’s part of the HubSpot’s free limited service plan. With the free version, you can book meetings automatically, embed your calendar in your website or email, and sync meeting details to contacts in your CRM. Premium accounts get additional functionality, starting with the Starter plan. It is expensive compared to the other starter plans on this list; however, you do have to remember that HubSpot offers a lot of other tools including marketing, CMS, and operations in addition to the appointment scheduling. If you need all that functionality, then HubSpot is a great all-in-one package — and if you already have HubSpot, then you have access to that appointment setting feature. However, if HubSpot’s features are too robust for your needs, then you can choose from the other more affordable options on this list.
Acuity Scheduling is designed to help customers seamlessly book appointments with service providers such as salons, doctors, and more. It syncs your calendars, processes online payments, and automatically sends appointment reminders to clients. However, it does not have a free tier, only a 7-day free trial. After that, choose from the Emerging Plan, the Growing Plan, or the Powerhouse Plan. Each supports a different number of staff or locations: 1 person or location for the Emerging Plan, 6 for the Growing Plan, and 36 for the Powerhouse. Acuity Scheduling won’t work for every business due to its focus on service providers, but if that describes your company, then you should definitely look into this option.
If you are a small business looking for a free appointment scheduling option, then 10to8 might fit the (nonexistent) bill. The service’s entry level free tier offers up to 100 appointments a month for 2 staff members working at one location. You can have an unlimited number of clients and services and 10to8 will allow 2-way client chat even on the free tier. For more features, such as customizable branding, more staff members and appointments, and multiple bookings pages, you can get the Basic plan, the Grow plan, or the Bigger Business plan. Users say that the service can be a bit time-consuming to set up on the front end, and all support is done via email, which can sometimes make issues more difficult to resolve. 10to8 also doesn’t offer a lot of CRM functionality, though integrations are available. However, if you’re a small business that needs a free appointment scheduling software that goes behind the very basic, then you should check out 10to8.
If you are mostly looking for a tool that will help you book meetings between groups of people at your company, then you can’t go wrong with Doodle. This simple software automatically adjusts for time zones and offers numerous ways to schedule events — for instance, you can poll people on the best day or time to meet or let them pick from what times you choose to make available. Doodle offers a free Doodle poll creator as well as two premium levels, a Pro account and a Team account that can handle up to 5 users. While Doodle doesn’t offer as many features as the other software listed here, that is reflected in its affordable price tag, making it a good option for people looking for a stripped-down scheduling tool without a lot of extras.
Ready to discover which appointment setting software is right for your business? TechnologyAdvice can help. Check out our appointment setting software comparison tool to discover unbiased recommendations based on your business’ needs.