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Managing appointments and schedules in the digital age can be daunting. Enter Microsoft bookings, a tool designed to simplify this process.
This comprehensive Microsoft bookings review looks into how it could revolutionize your appointment management.
- Does it deliver on its Promises of efficiency and ease?
- Can it seamlessly integrate with your existing systems?
- And most importantly, can it save you time and reduce no-shows?
Whether you’re a small business owner or a corporate executive, these are questions you’ve likely asked when considering a new scheduling tool.
Fear not, as this review seeks to answer these burning questions and more, setting you on the path to optimal organization.
So, let’s dive in for a detailed exploration of what Microsoft Bookings offers.
SMB Guide’s Evaluation Factors for Microsoft Bookings
In looking at how well the Microsoft Bookings product works for appointment scheduling workflows, we looked specifically at the following factors:
- Pricing & Plans
- Appointment Workflow Automation
- Customization Options
- Calendar Management Features
- Automated Reminders and Notifications
- Client Management and Communication
- User Interface and User Experience
- Integrations, Compatibility, & Supported Platforms
- Customer Support
Pricing & Plans
You must become a Microsoft 365 customer to use Microsoft Bookings. The pricing plans are detailed below.
Microsoft 365 Business Basic
The basic plan Microsoft offers.
- $6/user/month (billed annually, automatic renewal)
- Web and mobile versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook
- Chat, call, and meet up to 300 attendees
- 1 TB of cloud storage per user
- Business-class email
- Manage customer appointments
- Standard security
- Anytime phone and web support
Who it’s for: Small businesses that don’t require advanced features.
Microsoft 365 Business Standard
A slightly upgraded version of the Microsoft 365 Business plan.
- $12.50/user/month (billed annually, automatic renewal)
- Everything in Business Basic, plus:
- Desktop versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook
- Easily host webinars
- Attendee registration and reporting tools
- Tools to create personalized documents and personalized layouts
Who it’s for: Growing businesses that need more than what the basic plan has to offer.
Microsoft 365 Business Premium
The top-of-the-line Business plan Microsoft has to offer.
- $22/user/month (billed annually, automatic renewal)
- Everything in Business Standard, plus:
- Advanced security
- Access and data control
- Cyberthreat protection
Who it’s for: Businesses that need additional security and protection.
Appointment Workflow Automation
I wasn’t able to demo the software, because of errors with Microsoft Office at time of writing this review, so I compiled the information here from a YouTube demo, other reviews, and Microsoft Help Center materials.
Once you set up some information about your business, staff, the services you offer, and your schedule availability, you have everything you need to get started.
Microsoft Bookings offers a customer-facing Booking Page so that they can book appointments in a few clicks.
Customization options make it easy to adjust the scheduling options to suit your business. You can also change the colors, add your logo, etc., to ensure it matches your website’s look and feel and your business branding.
You can choose a physical location or use Microsoft Teams to host online meetings. You can set buffer times before and after the meetings to allow for meetings to run over or give yourself time for transit between meetings.
You can also allow customers to manage their bookings, so if they need to reschedule or cancel, they can do so on their own.
You can also add a selection of custom fields to collect the information you need from the customer when they complete their booking.
Calendar Management Features
With Microsoft Bookings, you can set your custom business hours, leaving room for breaks for lunch, if desired. You can also create buffer zones before and after an appointment.
The calendar automatically integrates with Microsoft Outlook to ensure you can see what’s going on at any given time.
You have the option to allow guests to change their booking if desired. However, users indicate you may not always be notified of cancellations from the guest’s point of view.
Automated Reminders and Notifications
In Microsoft Bookings, you can set up both email and SMS text notifications to be sent to the person booking an appointment.
You can set up the notifications in the Bookings web app or the Bookings app and Teams. Attendees have the option to opt in or out of getting SMS notifications on the booking page.
They can also opt out of receiving the notifications by replying “Stop” to any of the messages they receive.
Microsoft Bookings also has a follow-up reminder feature so you can engage with customers after the appointment.
You can choose to set it from 15 minutes after the appointment all the way to 2 weeks after the appointment. Staff members can easily choose who they want to send the email to: customers, staff, or all attendees.
Messages are fully customizable, and you can use them to collect feedback or to remind the customer to schedule their next appointment.
Client Management and Communication
With this tool, you can store and manage your client’s contact information. It will automatically save customer details when they book an appointment, which you can use for future reference.
It will also provide insights into individual customer booking history, making tracking their engagement with your business easier.
User Interface and User Experience
Microsoft Bookings provides a user-friendly interface and experience designed to streamline the process of managing and scheduling appointments.
The dashboard displays a calendar view of all appointments so users can quickly view their schedule. The interface is color-coded to distinguish between the types of appointments or services.
From the demo I viewed on YouTube, I was able to see that navigating through the platform is straightforward.
You can easily access client information, appointment details, and business analytics from the main menu. The booking page the clients see is also simple and easy to use, guiding them step by step through the entire booking process.
Though users generally find Microsoft Bookings easy to set up and use because it automates the appointment scheduling process and appointment reminders, some users have reported limitations in customization options and the lack of certain features, such as payment processing and group bookings within the platform.
Integrations, Compatibility, & Supported Platforms
Microsoft Bookings integrates with Outlook, which is another Microsoft product. It also integrates with Microsoft Teams.
If you use Google Calendar, you’re out of luck getting the two platforms to talk to one another. The cloud-based app can be accessed from any device with an internet connection.
A mobile app is also available for iOS and Android devices that can help you keep track of meetings on the go.
Microsoft Bookings has the same level of customer support as the rest of the Microsoft product offerings.
There’s an extensive help center with documentation and answers to FAQs. There’s also email support and phone support available.
Microsoft Bookings — Unique Features
There aren’t any unique features I could find in Microsoft Bookings that you wouldn’t see in any other calendar and appointment booking software.
It works the same way as other tools with how you set it up, track appointments, and handle reminders.
What the Experts Say About Microsoft Bookings
At the time of this review, Microsoft Bookings has the following reviews:
- 4.3/5 stars at GetApp (100+ reviews)
- 3.5/5 stars at G2 (40+ reviews)
- 4.3/5 stars at Software Advice (100+ reviews)
Elisha S. says, “I love how easy it was to setup! It is one of the main reasons we switched over to Microsoft Teams! Bookings allowed us to maximize our license and move to Microsoft from Calendly. It would be nice to receive a notification when someone cancels a meeting, or be notified in the calendar when they cancel. Right now the only way we are aware of for clients to cancel a meeting is to go into the invite and cancel on the web page.”
SMB Guide’s Verdict for Microsoft Bookings
I’m giving this one a 7/10 for a few reasons. The error in my account prevented me from accessing the tool to sign up, the fact that you cannot integrate with anything outside of the Microsoft ecosystem, and the fact that others have reported numerous issues.
It has all the features you’d expect from an appointment scheduling tool and works well when it works right. It’s also worth noting that only Business account administrators can seek help from customer support.
If you plan on having a lot of staff members without that level of access control, you may run into some issues since they’ll be limited to only self-help materials.
Microsoft Bookings Alternatives
Not entirely convinced Microsoft Bookings is the best solution for your business? Take a look at these other options:
SimplyBook.me is an online booking system suitable for all service-oriented businesses. It offers features like a customizable booking website, online payment processing, and promotional tools.
It has a free plan for small businesses with paid plans starting from $9.90 monthly. Both platforms offer Integrations with popular software and allow for customization of your booking page.
However, SimplyBook.me doesn’t lock you into a particular software ecosystem and still makes it possible to customize and automate various workflows.
Appointy is a similar tool to SimplyBook.me, geared more towards service businesses. It offers similar features but at a higher price point. Prices start at $19.99/month.
Appointy scores higher for user satisfaction on review sites compared to Microsoft Bookings.
Calendly is a versatile Scheduling tool known for its ease of use and integration capabilities. It allows users to schedule one-on-one appointments, group events, and team meetings.
This tool is particularly favored by sales professionals, those in marketing, customer success, and recruitment, who need to schedule a high volume of external meetings every month.
It offers a free basic plan with a monthly premium starting at $8 per user. On the other hand, Microsoft Bookings is part of the Microsoft 365 suite and is primarily designed for businesses that rely on appointments like salons, dental offices, law firms, financial service providers, consultants, etc.
It provides businesses with a unique web page where customers can book appointments and requires a Microsoft 365 subscription.
In terms of pricing, Calendly may be more cost-effective if you only need a standalone scheduling tool. However, if you are already using or planning to use Microsoft 365, then Microsoft bookings could offer a better value because it’s included in this suite.
Both tools prevent double booking and offer customizable scheduling pages. Your choice between the two largely depends on your specific needs, the size and nature of your business, and the software ecosystem you’re already working within.
Getting Started with Microsoft Bookings
Are you already a Microsoft 365 user who wants to keep appointments within the same system? Get started with a free trial today to make sure the system works the way you’d expect before committing to a paid plan.
Microsoft Bookings FAQs
How good is Microsoft Bookings?
Microsoft Bookings is generally well-received for its ease of use and integration with the Microsoft 365 suite.
It offers a variety of scheduling needs across departments, individuals, and types of appointments, making it a flexible tool for businesses of various sizes.
What are the benefits of Microsoft Bookings?
Microsoft Bookings offers centralized management, customer convenience, clarity for customers, Outlook integration, mobile accessibility, automatic reminders, advanced scheduling features, and 24/7 bookings.
Does Microsoft Bookings cost money?
Yes, there is no free plan. It is free for Microsoft 365 users with either the Business Standard or the Business Premium license holders.
Microsoft Booking is a simpler way to organize schedules and manage appointments.
Product Brand: Microsoft