According to a new blog by Schedulicity, the relational economy is “made up of local, service-based businesses,” and is completely dependent on relationships. The company estimates that around 50 percent of the current U.S. economy relies solely on how the consumer and service provider communicate and complete their service transactions.
Most such relationships are created on a local level; hair stylists, plumbers, mechanics and lawn care companies are good examples. For these service providers, creating and upholding relationships is at the heart of their business, but since the business is often small or solely owned and operated, finding time to provide services and cultivate relationships can be a huge challenge.
A study done by an independent research firm for Schedulicity identified that the top barrier preventing service-based businesses from communicating properly with customers is poor time management. Further assessment showed that cost was also prohibitive for businesses to provide a better online platform for communications, appointment setting and information distribution.
Schedulicity offers help to these small to midsize businesses (SMBs) via its namesake platform. The platform is available online, where consumers can find service-based businesses based on their location. When a business signs up with Schedulicity, their information and location is stored on the platform. Once a customer accesses a business’ information page, he or she can find information on location, hours and specials. The customer can then set up their own appointment online and receive confirmation.
The Schedulicity platform is easy to use for both the business and the customer. It even offers Reliability +, where customers must hold their appointment with a credit card number to help eliminate no-show appointments. Businesses that use WordPress for their own websites can even add a Schedulicity widget to provide a link to scheduling on their own website.
In an email interview, Schedulicity Executive Chairman and Founder, Jerry Nettuno, told me that the platform can be set up for use quickly.
“Depending on the size of the business, the number of services or classes they provide, and the number of staff within the business, it can take anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes for the business to get their information in the system and let their clients know that online scheduling is now available.”
Nettuno says that all a business needs to set up a Schedulicity account is an Internet connection and a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone. When I asked about the current usage of the platform, Nettuno said that the company has about 28,000 service providers using the system.
Once a business gets their account set up, Nettuno said they can even get help notifying customers about the easy-to-use platform:
“We have a number of different methods to help them get the word out to their clients. If they have a client list to upload, we can help them with that and they can then immediately send out a custom email to all clients letting them know they can now schedule with them. They can also add widgets to their website, Facebook page, or blog. They can also use our ‘Spread the word’ section to notify all their contacts on Gmail, Facebook, or Twitter. There’s no need to educate the consumers on how to use Schedulicity as it’s extremely intuitive for anyone; even those making appointments for the very first time.”