Can anyone remember a time before Covid-19? As the coronavirus outbreak drags on, it’s up to us small business owners to get through the storm and make the best of, well, a pretty sucky situation.
These are challenging times, sure. But like anything else, with the right tools, and the right strategy, you can keep your business going even when a vicious, invisible, and zombie-like virus threatens to shut you down.
Sounds too good to be true? What if we told you that you already have these very tools right at the palms of your hands?
Thanks to our recent integration with Zoom, you can now move your entire business to the safety of the online universe, and add online video appointments to your list of services. How about that.
But Wait! What is Zoom?
We’re so glad you asked!
Zoom is a cloud video conferencing services company that opened shop in San Jose, California in 2011. It provides an easy, intuitive remote conferencing service that combines video conferencing, online meetings, chat, webinars, and mobile collaboration.
While Zoom was doing great even before the coronavirus outbreak, the new reality of social distancing and remote work has skyrocketed their popularity to the point that their stock has jumped more than a 100% (!) since February.
The reason? Everybody’s online right now. Family and friends, professors, teachers, students, doctors, coaches, consultants, lawyers – we all want to stay connected and Zoom is the app that keeps us all together.
How to Get Started With Online Video Appointments
Our integration with Zoom means you can now offer and sell online video appointments as easily as you were used to selling in-office, face-to-face appointments in the Pre-Coronian era.
All you need to do to get started is connect your Zoom account to your vcita account.
Here’s a video that shows how you can easily do just that:
Don’t have a Zoom account yet? Here’s why you should join:
Zoom offers a full-featured Basic Plan for free with unlimited meetings. Want more good news? You can use Zoom for as long as you like – there’s no trial period.
The only thing you may want to take into account is that Zoom’s free plan has a 40- minute time limit on group meetings that include three or more participants.
Depending on the kind of service you provide, that could be more than enough. However, if you need longer group meetings, you can consider Zoom’s moderately-priced paid plans too.
Now that you have your Zoom account connected to vcita, make sure to switch all your services’ location to “Online” and choose Zoom as your default online video app.
From here on, you’ve got all your bases covered:
- vcita will automatically generate a unique meeting URL for each of your online appointments and/or events
- The new Zoom meeting URL will appear in the booking details, booking email & SMS notifications under your clients’ Client Portal account, so both you and your clients are always on the same page about the meeting location.
Note on security: Your Zoom meeting URL will not be public. It will only display to customers whom you invited or who booked to join the appointment or your event.
Why vcita and Zoom Work So Great Together
Zoom provides you the perfect platform to meet with clients online, while enjoying high-definition, high-quality video calls. But vcita and Zoom together, make setting up, marketing AND getting paid for online appointments easier than ever.
First things first: Let Everybody know You’re Offering Online Appointments
One of the first things you’ll want to do when switching to online work, is let your clients (and in fact everybody!) know that they can now book video appointments with you.
You can easily share the news by using vcita’s new Covid-19 email marketing communication kit. Here’s an example:
And hey, guess what. Our Covid-19 email marketing communication kit and dozens of other fantastic email templates are now available for free to all vcita users, regardless of what paid plan you may be using. You can learn more about our email marketing feature here.
Next up: Make Sure You Get Paid
Next, you’ll want to make sure that you get paid for each online video appointment that you have. In times like this, nothing feels better than money in the bank and that’s why you should consider changing your payment strategy and start asking clients to pay upfront.
vcita makes asking for upfront payments easy. When clients book an appointment with you, they’ll be asked to secure and complete their booking by paying for the appointment online.
Since the payment experience is so smoothly integrated into vcita’s online booking process, your clients are likely to appreciate the fact they can now easily and securely pay you while booking your service.
We know, we know. For some businesses and for some clients, upfront payments isn’t an option – We get that. Don’t worry: you still have plenty of options.
You can use the good ole’ “Book now, pay later” option by sending a payment link; invoice clients via email or sms, or direct clients to pay you via your self-service client portal or website widget. For some extra peace of mind, be sure to switch on vcita’s friendly automated payment reminders feature.
Finally: Lead with Confidence & Secure the Next Appointment
Naturally, clients may need a little extra hand-holding these days, and it’s your responsibility to keep your business relationships alive and strong.
Be proactive. Don’t sit back and wait for clients to reach out to you – contact them first. Give people a call, send them an email, ask them how they’re doing and remind them that you’re there for them even when you’re not present in person.
Bonus tip: Use vcita’s automated or manual follow-up booking reminders feature to turn touching base with your clients into a part of your routine. You can follow up immediately after an appointment ends, or send a follow-up message at a later date. Either way, keep clients close!
Wrapping up and Yippee Ki Yay, Virus
With things going a little crazy at the moment, everybody’s looking for some extra protections and stability in their lives. For small business owners like yourself, a crisis can also be a springboard to step up as the responsible adult that the rest of us can look up to.
If you were rocking your business offline, there’s no reason why you can’t rock it online.
And with tools like vcita you may find the transition not so abrupt, and not so strange.
For more tips and advice on how to take your services online, watch our great online workshop, that features a lively Q & A session that features all your hot questions and our (not so bad) answers:
And above all, remember:
What do we say to the Coronavirus? Not today.
Keep cool and safe.