To help service providers schedule and track appointments, StormSource Software, in Scottsdale, Ariz., offers Appointment-Plus, an online program that has a wide range of users in 100 industries from medical and personal services to trucking and the building industry.
The primary advantage of an online system, Ryan Kelly, the company’s vice president of sales and marketing, points out, is that “there is no capital expense” and users can set up and begin using the system in a day. Contractors can access customer information and appointments from their smartphone. In addition, contractors can link the service to their website to allow customers to book their own appointments online. “You can be at a competitive advantage. You can have a button that says ‘To schedule an appointment, click here.’ It opens a page that looks like part of your website,” Kelly says.
The software also sends a confirmation e-mail to the customer. Contractors can define if they want the customer to receive an e-mail reminder the day of the appointment or receive a text message a few hours before the appointment.
The service costs $39 per month for one office or showroom, with a 500-appointment limit. Each additional block of 500 appointments costs $20. There is no limit to the number of users. All accounts start as free trial accounts, with a StormSource representative helping the user set up the system.
The company tailors the software for specific industries. For the remodeling industry, the firm added My Mobile Schedule to allow contractors to access schedules from their phones. Another new feature allows contractors to upload documents or pictures to the system. “PDFs of purchase orders, drawings, or blueprints are attached to that job or customer,” Kelly says.
The staff at Sutherland Lumber & Design Gallery, in Fort Collins, Colo., use the system to set appointments with customers to visit their showroom. “You can print it and give the customer a copy and e-mail the salesperson,” says Mike Kerr, inside sales support/product manager.
The company also has a link on its website to allow customers to schedule their own appointments. Though most of Sutherland’s customers make appointments while they are in the showroom, the company wanted an online option. “If you’re not online, then you are way behind the times,” Kerr says.
—Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.