Small business is booming; sometimes it needs a payment facilitator and sometimes it becomes one. Sometimes huge business takes the plunge too.
Microsoft this past week introduced a Microsoft Office Service named Microsoft Bookings, designed to ease scheduling of appointments for business owners between themselves, employees and customers. It’s a short leap to see that businesses could ask customers making appointments to pay first or lock in a date with a deposit. MindBody comes to mind, with its focus on wellness businesses and appointment bookings and payment enabling.
Microsoft does allow for a payment option in the future, writing in its Office 365 blog, “payment processing” is one great example of feedback and something to consider as it decides how to offer the most value. Service and value are two key PF terms.
Bookings uses a web page for those wanting to pick an open time if they can’t (or don’t want to) reach a business by phone or e-mail.
The screen is for mobile as well as desktop, and can be linked to from emails. It helps cut down on costly no-shows by sending reminders and option to put on their digital calendar. Rescheduling is easy, and Bookings saves contact information every time a customer makes an appointment so owners can compile a customer contact list. There will be a mobile app soon, says Microsoft.
In Australia, a four-year-old company named Konnective is on the verge of expanding, not only its reach but its services. Konnective, a broadcast platform using a mobile app to send notifications, doubled its revenue in 2015 and looks to do so in 2016 as well.
It is used by schools, hospitals, HR departments (for filling last minute shift gaps), companies trying to reach scattered workers with no computer access or e-mail addresses and for health and safety updates, RSVPs, and event invitations. Founder Julie Bray, who got the idea from missing notices sent from school to provide food for class parties, has indicated it is time to look at international expansion, possible integrations and using sales channels instead of sales to individual customers.
Large corporation or startup, the PF model makes sense for them all.