How many back-and-forth emails or voicemails does it take you to set up an appointment? In my experience, I can comfortably say an average of three or four. Wouldn’t it be nice to send one email and have a confirmed meeting time automatically added to your calendar?
We’re always interested in streamlining our processes – looking at different areas with a “lean” mindset. The amount of time spent scheduling meetings came to the surface as a process that could be improved. After digging into several options, reading a lot of reviews, and testing a variety of scenarios, we landed on Calendly. Calendly is an automated meeting scheduling tool that saves valuable time while maximizing available calendar space.
Easy to Integrate
Calendly connects with Outlook, O365, Google, or iCloud calendars so you don’t run the risk of double booking. If you prefer not to hold phone meetings while you’re working away from the office, you can customize your Calendly settings to automatically block any time classified as “working elsewhere,” or “out of the office.” It also integrates with popular services like GoToMeeting and Salesforce.
Take Your Time Initially to Save Your Time Eventually
To get the most out of Calendly, you’ll want to take your time with the initial setup. You choose whether you want to limit the number of meetings that can be scheduled in a day, build in buffers before and after appointments to allow for time to collect your thoughts and prepare for what’s next, define daily or weekly recurring availability, or open appointments specific to only one day.
Once you’ve set up your account, scheduling a meeting is as simple as pasting a personalized link in an email message. There is also a Calendly for Chrome plug-in or an add-on for Outlook that makes it easy to schedule ad-hoc meetings when you’re willing to make an exception to your standard availability for a special appointment.
Free or Boosted for a Fee
As is the case with many apps, there is a basic, free version of Calendly. It is functional enough to be helpful, but upgrades like custom messaging, text or email reminders, and different event types (meeting lengths) really enhance the scheduling experience. For a small monthly fee ($8 per user as of the writing of this blog), we found the extras to be well worth it.
Calendly offers a 30-day free trial of their premium service. Give it a shot. I was a skeptic, but was pleasantly surprised when I got the hang of it!