The official weblog of ClickBook.net. ClickBook streamlines the process of appointment scheduling for small business, schools and other organisations. For technical updates please visit the Technical Blog.

ClickBook Plugin for Wordpress

Mark Demicoli  18 April 2014 07:13:08 AM
Customers using a Wordpress-based website can now easily add the ClickBook Widget via our new plugin for Wordpress.

Adding plugins to your Wordpress-based site requires that you have Administration access and the ability to add plugins.  If you are unsure, please contact your site administrator or hosting company.



Step 1
:  Download the following file to your computer.  Take note of where you save it because you will need to select it from your computer in step 3..

clickbook-customer-scheduler.zip



Step 2:
Launch your Wordpress Dashboard and select "Add New" from the "Plugin" link:


Image:ClickBook Plugin for Wordpress


Step 3:
Select "Upload" and then browse for the ZIP file that you saved on your computer.  The saved file is called "Clickbook-customer-scheduler.zip".  The Install Now button will become active - click it!


Image:ClickBook Plugin for Wordpress



Step 4:
Once installation is complete, click Activate Plugin:

Image:ClickBook Plugin for Wordpress



Step 5:
Select the Widgets link from the Appearance menu, where you should now see the ClickBook Customer Scheduler Widget.  You can drag the widget to wherever you prefer, for example, the Main Sidebar if you have one.


Image:ClickBook Plugin for Wordpress


Step 6:
Finally, set the ClickBook Subdomain field and click Save.  If your ClickBook address is joesmassage.clickbook.net, your subdomain is simply "joesmassage".

Image:ClickBook Plugin for Wordpress

That's it!  Preview your site to check that the Book Now button appears in the appropriate place and click it to verify that your ClickBook Scheduler displays your services as expected.

    Creating services with variable duration and / or pricing.

    Mark Demicoli  8 April 2014 07:52:27 PM
    Greetings ClickBookers.

    When creating a service in ClickBook, you will notice that the duration is a fixed number in minutes and the price is also fixed - it doesn't appear that we can create a service that has a variable duration or price.

    What we mean by "variable duration / price" is that a service can be extended in time, lets say from 30 minutes to 45 minutes or 60 minutes and the price increases accordingly.

    The way we do this in ClickBook is by combining services using the Addon feature.

    Lets do an example.

    We created a service called "Basic Consultation"  which is 30 minutes in length.  This ofcourse can be any existing service.

    We want to allow clients to extend the service by 15 and 30 minutes, for a maximum of 60 minutes.


    1.  Create two services called "Additional Time" and set the durations to 15 min and 30 min respectively.
    2.  For each of the new services, there are two key options that need to be set.  The first option tells ClickBook to present this service, "Additional Time" as an addon to other services, and ONLY as an addon to other services.  The Locations & Services section defaults to your currently selected location.  You can expand the scope of the Additional Time services to cover all locations, or narrow the scope to cover only certain services. (see screen shot below):

    Image:Creating services with variable duration and / or pricing.

    From the options displayed above, you can see how logical and flexible this feature is, as you can allow service extension on certain types of services and not others, and / or by location.

    TIP:
     Associating a price with "Additional Time" addons is automatically added to the main service price.  Therefore, the actual price changes appropriately aswell.


    Lets take a look how ClickBook displays the new addons:

    Standard Public Services Page / Booking Centre

    Image:Creating services with variable duration and / or pricing.
    ClickBook Mobile / Widget

    Image:Creating services with variable duration and / or pricing.



    Services in ClickBook are extremely flexible as we have just shown.  This example can be taken further.  Your "Additional Time" services can be further restricted to specific staff members and/or services & locations.  If you want additional control, you can even restrict "additional time" services to staff only.

      Alternatives to Google Calendar: 1: Zoho Calendar

      Mark Demicoli  25 February 2014 05:15:36 AM
      For several days now, ClickBook customers have reported that their ClickBook subscription in Google Calendar is either not updating or or only partially updating, which we have confirmed and are confident it has nothing to do with ClickBook, as other applications have no problem (eg Apple iCal, Outlook and Mozilla Sunbird).  This new issue and the age-old problem of not knowing exactly how quickly Google synchronises (it can take up to 24 hours) has encouraged us to seek an alternative that we can recommend and support via 2-way subscription.


      Image:Alternatives to Google Calendar: 1: Zoho Calendar

      Zoho Calendar is probably one of the best alternatives.  Do you have any views on Zoho and / or wish to be a 'test dummy' and give it a go?

      Synchronisation appears to be a key issue for customers.  We want to know how you are using ClickBook and Google Calendar currently.  It appears that there are many ways to synchronise with specific devices.  Some synchronise with ClickBook by going via Google Calendar.

      Did you know that you can subscribe directly to ClickBook with iPhone/Pad?

      Please comment below.

        Restricting Services to particular Days: Part 2

        Mark Demicoli  17 January 2014 12:22:21 AM
        In Part 1, we explored the possibility of restricting certain services to particular days of the week using a single Available TimeBlock, and created a simple example.

        In Part 2 (you are here!), we look at how to repeat the TimeBlock so that we can extend the restriction into the future.

        There are two ways of doing this.  Which option you choose depends on how much flexibility you need to modify or over-ride the TmeBlock in the future.


        Option 1: Extend End Date of TimeBlock


        In our example, we exposed a service to Tuesday mornings only, in 3 timeslots - 9AM, 10AM and 11AM.  If we simply want to extend this well into the future so that every week is the same, all we need to do is change the end date.  


        Image:Restricting Services to particular Days: Part 2

        In the image above, you can see that I have set the End Date for a whole year ending Jan 21 2015.

        The Advanced Duration Options section shows the Effective Date(s) for Tuesdays all the way into 2015.  Notice that we have only Tuesdays exposed here in the Time Ranges field. If we like, we can adjust this TimeBlock later on by adding / changing hours on Tuesdays, or even other weekdays.


        Image:Restricting Services to particular Days: Part 2

        In the Custom Start Time section, we can see the custom times that we entered in Part 1.  The forced start times ensures that the 3 hour period is filled optimally by our 1 hour service.  If you want more flexibility for your clients rather than forcing these start times, you can remove custom start times and ClickBook will dynamically offer start times based on the Appointment Start Interval.


        Image:Restricting Services to particular Days: Part 2

        Option 2: Repeat (copy) the TimeBlock


        The second option is to repeat the TimeBlock, which is the same as copying it to multiple dates.  This option create multiple individual TimeBlocks that can be adjusted or cancelled individually.

        To repeat a TimeBlock, edit the TimeBlock by clicking it from the appointment view, then tick "Create Repeats".  This will show you repeat options, allowing you to select the repeat frequency (weekly,daily, monthly etc) and the number of repeats to create.  The list of repeats that will be created are displayed.

        TIP
        :  It is possible to create totally irregular repeats by first entering the number of Repeats, then clicking on the date of each repeat to set your own custom dates.


        Image:Restricting Services to particular Days: Part 2

          Restricting Services to particular Days: Part 1

          Mark Demicoli  10 January 2014 11:12:19 PM
          Greetings ClickBookers,

          We have just released a much requested feature. It is now possible to restrict certain services to only be available on particular days of the week, and between particular times.  In the past, we have recommended that 'alias' staff members can be used to do this, which requires another email address and basically is a bit too tricky to really recommend, so we decided to make it easier.

          It is now quite simple to do it without any special tricks.

          As always, an example is the best way to show-n-tell.

          Lets say we have a 1 hour service that we only want available on Tuesdays between 9AM and 12PM for Staff Member X.  In our case Staff Member X will be Roger Tester.

          1. From the Services tab, edit the service and Un-select all staff, then click Update. We unsellect ALL staff to keep things simple.  If we need this service to be available in normal availability, it's best to create another similar service just for that purpose, or conversely, create a new service for special availability.

          Image:Restricting Services to particular Days: Part 1

          2. Now, we expose the service availability using an Available TimeBlock.  Firstly, select a staff member from the Resource Calendars panel, for which we want to expose the service for availability.  If we want to expose it for more than 1 staff, we create one first then use the Copy tool from the appointment listing - more on that in Part 2.

          After selecting a staff member, we select the correct starting day from the main view.  The first coming Tuesday in this case is Jan 21 2014, then select TimeBlock - Available from the Custom Appointments panel:

          Image:Restricting Services to particular Days: Part 1


          Since we already selected the correct date, the TimeBlock will have defaulted the Start Date, so we don't need to touch this.

          The Start Time needs to be changed to 9AM, and the Duration changed to 3 hours (see below).

          Image:Restricting Services to particular Days: Part 1

          Toward the middle of the form, we open Locations and Services, click Add / Remove and select the special service that we are exposing for Tuesday 21st between 9AM and 12PM:

          Image:Restricting Services to particular Days: Part 1


          TIP
          : If we want to force appointments to start on-the-hour (ie 9AM, 10AM and 11AM), we enter Custom Start Times for Tuesday (see below).



          Image:Restricting Services to particular Days: Part 1


          Now we click SAVE and test to see if it worked.

          From the Services panel, select the special service. If everything is right, we should see the selected day available for booking.  Clicking on the day should bring up 9AM, 10AM and 11AM timeslots for our selected staff member:


          Image:Restricting Services to particular Days: Part 1

          In Part 2, we get a bit more fancy.  We show you how to extend our special service so that it is available EVERY TUESDAY rather than just the single day in the example, and then we look at how to easily copy or re-assign the special availability to other staff members.

            Reporting using Zoho Reports

            Mark Demicoli  2 November 2013 09:20:02 PM
            Fancy a report?  ClickBook provides a number of charts that give you a monthly view of bookings rendered, revenue generated, and bookings created by customers and in total.  To locate these charts, go to your Account tab (Main Contact only) and open the Statistics section.

            If you need to drill down or create reports by other criteria, there is a simple path from ClickBook to Zoho Reports, a very clever and well priced reporting and charting tool.  The basic account is free.

            To get started, you will first need to export your bookings to a CSV file from ClickBook.  You can do this from the Account tab.  Remember where you save your CSV file because you're going to need it in a minute!

            Then, go to https://www.zoho.com/reports/ and create an account.

            One of the first options on the Zoho Reports home screen is to Import.  Click this to import your CSV file.

            The Import window provides several options, one of which is "Database Name" which can be any title such as "ClickBook Appointments".  Hit the Browse button to locate the CSV file that you exported from ClickBook, then click Next.

            You will be given options to check the import format.  Follow the steps below to select the correct date format for the import:


            1.  Click "Choose matching date format"

            Image:Reporting using Zoho Reports


            2. Copy the following date format code and paste it into the "Enter your date format" field:

            Code: dd-MMM-yyyy hh:mm a

            Image:Reporting using Zoho Reports

            3.  Click OK.

            If this worked correctly, Zoho will indicate that the Start Date column is in fact recognised as a date, which is what we want:

            Image:Reporting using Zoho Reports

            Continue with the process until your data is imported.  Zoho will ask you whether you want it to analyze your data and generate 'standard reports'.  This doesn't seem to work great with ClickBook data, because Zoho doesn't really know what this information really represents, but, allowing it to create it's standard reports will give you an idea of what's possible, and can be deleted anyway.

            Taking Care of "Busyness"

            Mark Demicoli  26 June 2013 05:58:17 PM
            It's often difficult to guess how busy a staff member is just by looking at how many appointments they have in a day.  While bringing up the Appointment Sheet can give a good visual indication, we decided to add a feature that allows you to see how busy everyone is with just a glance.

            As Matt from Heart In Hand Massage suggested, it would be wonderful to quickly see who's working on a particular day, especially when you need to book two therapists for a single service.

            The new feature not only shows you who is working on a particular day, it shows how busy they are in percentage terms. ClickBook does this by calculating the combination of their Normal Availability and any Available TimeBlocks, then subtracting any bookings and Not-Available TimeBlocks, to give a true indication of 'busy-ness' or availability.

            If a Staff Member is not available (ie not 'in the office at all'), "N/A" is displayed.

            What do you think?

              "Book Now" button - the wrong way, and the right way.

              Mark Demicoli  19 June 2013 08:14:54 PM
              Your website and ClickBook's "Book Now" widget are the key bridges between your customers and confirmed appointments. All it takes for you to truely understand this is to consider your own behaviour when you visit your service providers' websites. In 50% of cases, customers are ready to book an appointment immediately.  Do you like digging through a website's menus just to get this simple task done?  Ofcourse not.

              A good website should take visitors straight to the highest value action as quickly as possible.  In your case, this means making an appointment. In internet parlance, we call this a "Call To Action".  This is normally a visual button of very high prominence, designed to attract you immediately without thinking.

              The ClickBook "Book Now" button is the "Call To Action" on your website!  So where should you put it? The answer is EVERYWHERE, especially at the top of your homepage. All too often we see our Book Now button buried in menus or down the bottom somewhere.

              A picture does indeed tell a thousand words, so I'll stop talking and show you a great "Call To Action" on the website of Angela Simpson Physio in Canada. Browse this website and notice that the Book Appointment button is always there waiting to be clicked.  A new visitor wanting to learn about your business before committing, is constantly (and gently) heckled by the button, because it's stands out so much.  When they're ready, there's no thought of "OK how do I book?" - the next step is as plain as day.

              What is striking about this particular site is the use of a custom Button (yes, ClickBook allows you to do this, see the Help section for details), and the great contrast between the yellow button and purple background.  Apparently, yellow and purple are known to contrast beautifully together (we didn't need scientists for that one).  The effect is so attractive, it's hard not to make an appointment!


              Image:"Book Now" button - the wrong way, and the right way.

              Hokey Pokey Clinic

              Mark Demicoli  9 June 2013 03:08:21 AM
              We've seen our fair share of humorously named businesses in health & wellness, especially massage therapists for some reason.

              Apparently, the Hokey Pokey Clinic at the "Wildwood Himitage & Tantrum Yoga Center" just might be the right place to "turn your health around".


              Image:Hokey Pokey Clinic



              Get your love out, it’s Testimonial Time

              Mark Demicoli  18 May 2013 08:46:48 AM
              At ClickBook we've often been accused of not marketing ourselves well.  The truth is that we're a small company of innovators who believe more in real progress, support and efficiency than frills, banners and hype.  But that's not to say that we can't improve in other areas.

              If you're like many of our customers, you've tried many other schedulers and finally discovered ClickBook with it's vast array of features, unique approach, flexibility and reliability.

              So what's this all about?

              I went to lunch with the head of the top advertising company in Malta and he was surprised that ClickBook doesn't have any testimonials on the site.  Good point!

              Let me cut to the chase really quickly here.  If you've been using ClickBook for a while and have found it useful for your business, don't be shy and give us some good marketing material in the comments below.  We're particularly interested in how things have changed in your business since adopting ClickBook and your experience with other schedulers.

              We've worked hard to inject 'karma' into your business - please be kind and throw some back our way :)

              Image:Get your love out, it’s Testimonial Time.