Letting clients log in to schedule for themselves is a huge benefit for your sports facility.
When customers can buy online, it eliminates confusion, cuts admin costs, improves customer service, and can even improve sales.
These days, most sports facility owners have already invested in a web-based system that can enable client scheduling.
However, too many owners limit their customer’s ability to schedule. They opt instead to just have staff use the software.
In these situations, owners usually have one of the following excuses.
1. “My customers don’t want to schedule themselves. They won’t use an online system.”
When I first created eSoft Planner, sports facility owners would often tell me that their customers weren’t comfortable enough with computers to schedule online.
Of course, the percentage of your customers who are used to buying online, whether it’s for a pair of shoes, a Christmas gift or even a baseball lesson, has grown a lot in recent years.
In fact, people reported shopping more online than they did in stores for the first time this year.
Online shopping is already the norm for younger clients. And, they’ll make up a majority of your paying customers before you know it. They’re used to being able to log in at their own convenience and view what they’ve ordered, when, how much it cost.
Just like I noted about automated lesson reminders, this is something that clients have come to expect. If they aren’t asking for it now, they will be soon.
I completely understand that people can get annoyed when they have to learn new procedures. To make it easier for your customers, you can let them opt into self-scheduling at their convenience. Or, you can do what this volleyball facility did and require full participation at once so that your whole staff is prepared to help.
2. “I don’t have the time to teach my staff and clients a new scheduling system right now.”
The feeling that there’s never enough time to do what we need to as business owners is pervasive and real.
If things are going well right now and money is rolling in, it might seem crazy to change a system that’s already working.
It’s a great idea to plan a software change during your slower months if demand for your facility changes seasonally. However, people tend to use busyness as an excuse all year long.
It takes a lot of daily focus on priorities to get things done when we’re already busy. Though, it’s certainly possible. (For more on time management and goal setting for sports facility owners, check out this post on sports facility owner leadership.)
A key to success in this area is working with a software provider who will help you send an email out introducing your clients to the new system. eSoft Planner also lets you add custom messages throughout the software on the client side where you can add helpful notes for them.
3. “I have to limit clients’ access to scheduling because of our scheduling rules.”
Some sports facilities, such as those with high-demand private lessons or limited membership space, have more complicated rules for when and how clients can schedule.
However, the best software can limit scheduling by product type, event date, and client group.
You can also completely prohibit online user registration and register clients manually so they can only use the system once you’ve added them.
Even with all of this customization, some sports facilities still struggle to replicate their scheduling process with software. Every situation is unique, but I will say this: If sports facilities like yours all over the country are successfully reaping the benefits of client self-scheduling, it might be time to make some changes.
If you’re reconsidering your own scheduling system, I’d love to help. You can contact me directly or click here to request for a custom demo of eSoft Planner.