In 2016, Microsoft launched Microsoft Bookings to users in North America. The scheduling SaaS application is now being rolled out to Office 365 Business Premium subscribers worldwide, and brings some new features to the tool.
Office 365 Business Premium users ($15/mo or $12.50/mo with annual commitment) can now add their online calendars to Microsoft Bookings, and their scheduled will be synced to block busy times from the public Booking page.
Users can also add buffer times before or after a scheduled meeting, towards preparation or wrapup, as required. The buffer time will be added automatically to the Booking page.
Microsoft has also launched Android and iOS apps for the Bookings service, so users can contact customers, book meetings or check a colleague’s appointments while on the move. Interestingly, there isn’t an app for Windows Phone devices.
More color customization options have been added to the Bookings webpage as well.
Microsoft Bookings is essentially a customer-facing service for small and medium-sized businesses. The Bookings page is viewable by the public, and customers can only see details for their own appointments and meetings with your company staff. All other slots will simply be open, or marked as busy.
The user side of the application is a customizable public webpage that enables you to (now) sync your Office 365 calendar application, and can be used by your customers to find available times and book meetings with you without having to call and check.
Customers viewing the public Booking page will be able to see your services, your service rates, your staff, their availability in an intuitive interface where they can make appointments with just a few clicks. Here’s a sample of what the public webpage looks like:
In a nutshell, the Microsoft Bookings service on Office 365 allows for simple easy collaboration between a business and its clientele, without the hassles of manually syncing calendar appointments or asking colleagues if they’re free to meet on a particular day.
The potential for Microsoft Bookings to add value to a business and its offerings are tremendous, especially for smaller businesses with limited resources. In effect, you’re letting your customers see your staff’s schedules so they can choose a time that works for them, yet does not conflict with other appointments your staff members may have.
The app itself is a recent addition to Office 365 lineup of SaaS applications, and is already rolling out to Microsoft’s business and enterprise users across the world as of this week. In October, when the service was launched, the company announced integration with Facebook Pages.
Microsoft is also considering bringing the Bookings app for Office 365 E3 and E5 customers in the future, but did not say when. Presumably, there will be even more functionality when it comes to enterprise users.
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