Book Now Button

Many visitors to the Isle of Man are looking to enjoy the peace and tranquillity this fair Isle offers.  Some come for the breath-taking scenery, coastal walks and outdoor adventures available.  Others come for sporting challenges or to see the thrills and high speed excitement of road racing around the Mountain Course and Southern 100.  And then there’s business travellers and people visiting friends and family.

These visitors come from far and wide, and like most people they will have researched and probably booked all or some of their travel arrangements online.  What we are now seeing is, an extension of this online behaviour with visitors looking to firm up their plans and make arrangements online at their destination before they travel.  And this is where significant numbers of people are taking advantage of online booking from MiQuando.

Thank you image to our 10,000 customers

In recent months, we have seen a wide range of Isle of Man businesses receiving online bookings (over 10,000), from visitors far and wide across the globe.  Whether it is the business visitor setting appointments with Advocates and Accountants, someone needing to hire a wheelchair for a week, groups celebrating and hiring a hot tub for the weekend, sportsmen and women needing a bit of physiotherapy or a soothing massage, the bridesmaids booking in for those special treatments in the beauty salon and virtually all of them reserving tables in local restaurants.

In short, customers just love the convenience and flexibility of booking online 24/7/365.

The visitor economy plays a huge part in, and is a significant contributor to the economies of not just small Islands like the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, but also Great Britain as a whole.  As such it is vital that every business from the smallest up, needs to be in a position to take advantage of this visitor behaviour.

And that is where Online Booking powered by MiQuando comes in to play.  A simple, reliable, low cost online booking service that works for virtually any business, opening the doors to customers worldwide, all day, every day without adding a penny to the wage bill.

If you want to learn more about miquando.com and how online booking can help grow your business, arrange a visit or book a call back today at miquando.com

 

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Because we offer so much for local businesses it’s not always easy to answer the question “so, what does MiQuando do?’

Extract from facebook post about miquandoThis post on Facebook is a great example of just one zero cost way that MiQuando can help, by working together with local business owners.

L’expérience is a popular local French restaurant that uses miquando.com and a widget on their website for online booking and reservations.  They owners wanted to offer a customers a deal on a Chateaubriand meal for two.  They posted this on Facebook, using a link that lets customers book online (Try it!).

The restaurant owners also let us know posted about on our local Facebook page, again including the ‘call to action‘ link for people to book online.  As you can see in the post we have shared here, one of our Facebook followers, saw our post and immediately reserved their table online using the link we included.

This is just one simple, but highly effective example of how MiQuando works in partnership with any and every local business to help promote business and gain them customers.

If you would like to discover how MiQuando can benefit your business book a call back or a demonstration, or give us a call on 01624 640393.

 

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For any business using online booking, making sure your online calendar is up to date is essential in order to be able to deliver a real top class service to the customer, even before you’ve met them.  Let’s face it, if your booking system lets them book an appointment at their preferred time, only to later be told “hey, thanks for your booking, but we’re a bit busy then can we do it later”, that’s not great service.

Keeping your online calendar updated (even if you still use the old paper diary), means that when people make a booking online, you can honour the request, meaning you deliver exactly what the customer wants, each and every time.  You can respond to booking requests instantly (or even automatically), delivering blindingly fast confirmations and dazzling customer service before you have even met them.

3 Availability Options

 

 

As ever, we are continually working to make things quicker and easier, so we now offer you 3 places from where you can quickly update your online calendar…

 

 

 

Here’s what the new ‘Availability’ feature looks like.  Use it to quickly add when you’re fully booked, update any non-standard opening or closing times, or make changes to your online booking calendar, for example adding in a late night opening event.

Set Availability

The first thing to point out is the two links at the top of the page…

The “Times” link, takes you to your opening hours page, from where all your active calendar updates can be viewed and amended, and the “Home” link which will take you straight to your dashboard / home page, from where you can access all the other great features of your miquando account.

When the page loads, the default settings of “We are…” and “Fully Booked” are highlighted as shown.  This is simply to make it as quick and easy as possible for you to update your online calendar when you are busy or on the go.

The “from date” field will show today’s date and the current time will show in the “from time” field

The “To date” will again default to today’s date, with the “To Time” initially set to your closing time for the day.

To choose new values, simply click or tap in any of these date / time fields.

When you’re happy, click the update now button.

For example, you’ve just taken a phone booking for a party of 6, which means that’s you pretty much full tonight  Use this new “Set Availability” feature, using the defaults “We are…” and “Fully Booked”, simply change the from time to say 6:00pm and click the big blue “Update Now” button.

That’s a grand total of 4 clicks or touches, less than 10 seconds and your online calendar is all up to date!

No double bookings, no awkward “sorry, we need to change that” conversations, just a smooth running business and happy customers.  Neat or what?

 

Want more info?  Watch a short video on how to use the new availability feature or download the Quick Guide PDF

 

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In a previous post we talked about 5 things you can do to help your online visitors become paying customers, and in that we briefly mentioned ‘Calls to action’.  This post expands on that topic.

What is a ‘call to action’?  Basically a Call to action (CTA) is something you add to your website or Facebook page or include in an email or social media post that prompts your visitors and customers to take some action.  It is literally something that shouts out for people to take an “action.”

That something might be a line of text, an image or even better a ‘widget’ that allows your online visitor to do something that benefits them.  The most obvious place where you probably already have your basic CTAs is on your contact page where you say “Call us”, “Email us”, “Like us” etc. or maybe even have a contact us form.  So you’ve given your customers a few basic choices.

Here’s some simple examples:

1. Call 0845 564 0000 now to talk to one of our friendly team members and learn how miquando.com can help your business grow 2. It is essential to actively manage your online reputation.  If you would like a copy of our PDF on how to deal with negative online feedback, simply click the Download button below.
3. Email us at mail@miquando.com with the subject “Call me please”, and one of friendly team members will give you a call back.  Download Button

Now if your business is an online retailer, your most important CTA will likely be along the lines of

Add to Basket Button

Unfortunately, that doesn’t really work if your business is service driven, rather than product driven.  In a service focussed business e.g. restaurant, beauty salon, physiotherapist, opticians, solicitor, or virtually every other service orientated business you can think of, the most effective Call to Action is going to be…

Book Now Button

Book Now Button with days of the week showingThe Book Now button is a brilliant Call to Action for any service orientated business, simply because it is the end game for almost all customers.  It gets even better when you can give customers and indication of days they can “Book Now”, as this improves both the customer experience and your conversion rate (after all, that’s what your CTAs should do) e.g.

Now think about how good it would be, if the first thing a prospective customer, visiting your website sees, is something that makes it so easy for them to achieve their objective, it’s almost too much for them to resist. Adding a real time calendar/booking widget on to your home page or landing pages, makes it incredibly easy to convert visitors to customers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Snapshot of A Cut Above website

 

Try our Online Booking Widget right NOW?

 

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Picture of an angry customer

When someone gives you a tough time about something when you’re putting everything you’ve got into it, it’s natural to have an emotional response.

1 star review

The immediate temptation is to blast back, especially if the review is unsubstantiated.  Please don’t.  Give yourself some time to ‘cool down’ a bit and make sure you are not over reacting.

The best response (if you still feel you need to respond at all), is probably best done in private via the phone or email (which you should have with an online booking).  Your response might go something like this….

Hi, it’s ….. from …..

I saw your review on MiQuando, thanks for sharing your feedback.

Sorry, you didn’t get the service you hoped for, can you help me understand what went wrong so we can try our best to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Acknowledge their issues, don’t try make them see things from your point of view.

Invite them back, so you can show them a better experience – maybe for free!

Sometimes, you just can’t resolve a complaint like that and you may have to public in your response.  It’s essential you come across as the professional here.  Don’t be defensive, just acknowledge their issue and state what you’re doing about it.

There’s little to be gained from picking their complaint apart, so it’s best just to show you’re listening and responding to your customers.  Maybe go public with something like this…

“Hi, sorry to hear your experience wasn’t up to expectations. We appreciate and try to learn from all the feedback we receive. As previously discussed, please feel free to take up our offer to come back and let us demonstrate we’re on top of everything.”

Having the occasional (well handled) negative review, can actually be an advantage.  When customer’s see them, it makes them more whole thing more realistic and actually more valuable.  Let’s face it, when confronted with a list of only 5 Star reviews, who doesn’t get a bit cynical and wonder if they are manipulated or fake.  After all, we can’t please all the people all the time.

A negative review that is well responded to only serves to add credibility to a business, showing it cares about customer satisfaction.  If we are realistic, very few customers expect perfection, most will happily accept honesty and putting something right when things do go wrong.

In today’s online world, transparency is the best way to foster and build happy customer relationships.

5 Star Customer Review

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5 Years ago, the answer would probably have been “yes, you should”, but the world has moved on, and there’s a good chance your customers have moved with it. Personally, I just don’t bother – the one that’s delivered each year to my home goes straight into the recycling.

OK, so I am what you might call “tech savvy” and am pretty much always connected to the internet no matter where I am, and always at home and work (where a phone book would be!), so I don’t have a use for the phone book or yellow pages.   It’s worth noting that I’m also over 50 and supposedly part of the age group that still uses it.

Today, most marketers will be promoting ‘online’ as a mainstay of any promotional or marketing campaign especially as an affordable way to reach your audience, but quite rightly there is always the more traditional media to consider (radio, TV, direct mail, newspapers/magazines, flyers, and of course, the printed phone book or yellow pages) too.

It struck me that with so many of these printed directories lying around gathering dust, it should be a fairly easy exercise to ‘measure’ its enduring popularity, or lack thereof.  The first attempt is hardly scientific, but takes a matter of seconds and reinforces my suspicion that the fewer people are advertising in them.  How?  Simple, line them up in date order and they are visibly slimmer as the years go by.

As I said, not very scientific!  So I thought I’d better actually look a bit closer, after all what else is there do on a Monday evening when storm ‘Henry’ is passing close by.  Anyway, first thing is to confirm that the paper and print sizes haven’t changed a jot, so it can only be the content.  The only things that really take up space are the paid for adverts, so if there are fewer pages each year, this can only be as a result of fewer and smaller adverts.  There are also a lot more ‘filler’ ads from the publishers taking up space too.

Take a look at what I found…

chart - shrinking phone booksGraph shows increase in publisher own ads in phone book

 

 

 

 

 

The number of pages in the business section of the Isle of Man phone directory as shrunk  by over 30% in 5 years.   If that trend carries on, it will be down to around jut 100 pages by the year 2020.

When we also factor in the fact that there are an increasing number ‘filler’ ads placed by publishers themselves then picture is even less rosy.

So, now we have done a little more research and looking at things with some hard data and facts to substantiate what we first thought, it is fair to say that the phone book or yellow pages type business section is falling out of favour with advertisers fairly rapidly.

So whilst each business must look at their own demographic and measure the response from previous phone book ads (if you can), here’s a little bit more information to help you evaluate or negotiate when you next get ‘the knock’ from ‘the phone book people’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Photo of Manx money

You’ve invested, time, skills and probably a fair few quid building an online presence for your business, but is it working for you?  If your website, facebook page, or app doesn’t convert visitors to paying customers it’s not really doing its job and needs a second look.

Here’s a 5 things to look out for…

  1. Does it look good?
  2. How does it “speak” to a potential customer?
  3. Do your “Calls to action” engage people?
  4. Are you making the most of your reputation?
  5. Are your online directory listings up to date?

 

1.      Does it look good?

Make sure your photos and images look good, by using high quality images to help make a great first impression. There’s plenty of decent ‘stock’ photos available for just a few pounds, but even better is a photo of your own business in action.

Think about what a potential customer might like to see and take that shot. For example, how many times have you looked at an empty restaurant and thought “hmm, I’ll keep looking.” So, take a photo of your restaurant when it’s full of life, or maybe get some shots of some freshly made, colourful dishes that make people hungry at the very sight of them.

 

2.      How does it sound?

So your great looking photos have caught the eye. Now they’ll start reading.   Does it sound like something they want? Are you talking your customer’s language?

Take the food scenario again – you need to talk the language of the customer you want through your door. If your target is couple’s maybe focus on romance and intimacy. If it’s larger groups, make it buzz, or if it’s all about the food, tell them about the food.   Oh, and try and make sure it matches your photos too.

 

3.      Calls to action!

Right, you’ve caught their eye, tickled them with your text, they’re hooked! Now all you need to do is land them.   Do your calls to action reel them in? Convert a prospect to a customer? Or is it just a sad old “contact us” page or form?

This is your chance to grab some new business, make a few quid, so don’t screw things up now! People today, expect to be able to connect (chat in real time) or seal the deal there and then. Back in the restaurant world for example, they want to make a booking – instantly and then tick a job off their “to do” list. Ideally you want your calls to action to be effective 24/7 too – because your customers will too.

 

4.      Your online reputation

Building and leveraging your online reputation is pretty straightforward. Not only does your reputation help visitors make the choice to become customers, asking for and getting feedback from your customers is a great way to engage them and build loyalty.

Let’s be honest, nobody puts any stock in the “quotes from customers” you put on your site 2 years ago. However, the moment they see recent feedback and comments from real customers on an independent reviews site, they will believe what they see. Add links to or embed ratings and reviews in your site, and to convert more visitors to customers

 

5.      Review your online directory listings

Up to date and accurate listings in online directories will help drive visitors to your website, social media pages. Directory listings with out-dated information and broken links can cost you both visitors and money.

Clear your cache or use incognito or InPrivate mode, to make sure you get a default set of search results and look for your business. Check the results to make sure your directory entry details are up to date, or make changes where necessary. You can also include your website and social media links to help drive traffic across all of your online channels.

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You might be washing someone’s hair, up a ladder cleaning windows, in a meeting, massaging a painful back, teaching a dance class, repairing storm damage, giving a driving lesson, dealing with that awkward customer or doing whatever makes your business money – and then the {expletive} phone rings.

Ringing phone image shows missed calls

Guess what – you just can’t answer it, ‘cos there’s work to be done!  Aaagh!

It doesn’t have to be like that though.  There’s a simple, really low cost way to capture those lost calls, customers and £’s.  Use an online booking service.  Why?  Because you need never miss a call again.

Just make sure your voicemail message tells people they can make an appointment online from your website (abc.co.uk) or Facebook page (abc Isle of Man).  You’ll be amazed how many people will do what you suggest – after all, they called you (and not the competition) for a reason.

When speaking to small/micro businesses and sole traders about adopting online booking, many of them are sceptical at first, (too expensive, too complicated, don’t need it, won’t work for what I do, I don’t do technology), but soon start to understand their apprehensions are misplaced.

We all know it works for the airlines, hotels, restaurants etc. (because we use it regularly!), but if you take a moment to think about it, an online booking service can work effectively for pretty much every business, regardless of size, sector or budget.  Here’s just a few examples we see every day…

Doing what? Who is using it?
Sort out your appointment Hairdressers, Beauticians, Nailbars, Massages, Spa treatments
Book a call back time Laywers/Solicitors, Financial Advisors, Accountants, Estate Agents
Arrange a visit to quote Carpet cleaners, painters & decorators, flooring specialists, builders
Book an initial consultation Physios, Chiropractors, Chiropodists, Opticians, Other Clinics, Fitness Instructors
Book training & tuition Private tutors, Music Teachers , Driving Instructors, Training Courses, Gym Classes

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg really.

Image showing various online booking users

What all these businesses are really doing is giving the customer/prospect a reason to stick with them; an easy alternative. One they can use whenever it suits them and allows them to get in touch with you there and then, later in the day or even at evenings and weekends, at home or on the move – whatever is convenient.

Whenever someone uses our online booking service, they get an immediate response by email and/or SMS, which can be:

  • Acknowledging their enquiry with a promise to get back to them (you have all their details and you’ll be reminded that someone is waiting for you to respond too)

or even better

  • An immediate confirmation of their request, confirming your availability for the date and time suggested

The beauty of an online booking service is that you can actually seal the deal there and then no matter how busy you are (and you didn’t even have to do anything – how neat is that?).  Even if you need a little time to get back to your prospect or customer, they’re sticking with you (and not going to your nearest competitor).

If you’d like to know more about how online booking can help you and your business, give us a call on 0845 564 0000 or Click Here to schedule a convenient time and we can call you.

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As part of our commitment to making life easier for customers and businesses alike, we’ve made it quicker and easier for you to change and cancel your bookings.

New “Edit My Booking” tab

Pic of Edit Booking Tab

Our ‘booking widgets’ now have a new tab.

To Change or Cancel a booking, simply click on the ‘Edit My Booking’ tab, or use the new link included in your booking emails, which will take you to a form, pre-populated with your booking info.

 

Change or Cancel a booking

EditBooking1-75

 

 

If you use a link from a booking email we’ve sent you then your information will already be shown, otherwise you can type in your Booking Reference and Email Address.

Click on the Find Booking button and we’ll find and retrieve your booking in a jiffy

 

#bookmeitseasy

 

EditBooking2Found it!

Once we’ve got your booking, you will see all the details here, and you then have the option to Change or Cancel your booking.

Change it leads you through your booking, allowing you to change the date, time, no of people, notes etc

Cancel it asks you to confirm your choice, and will then cancel your booking (providing you are within the cancellation rules set, otherwise you will be prompted to contact the business concerned)

#bookingamazing

 

That’s how quick and easy it is to change or cancel your bookings without the need to sign in to your MiQuando account.

 

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The Menu Icon for Google Chrome

It isn’t just apps you can put on your smartphone or tablet. Whatever your device, it’s a quick and easy process to add your favourite mobile friendly web sites to your home screen. So just like apps, they’re always to hand when you need them; no downloads taking up space, and they’re always bang up to date.

How to add MiQuando mobile web app to your home screen.

Google Chrome IconUsing Chrome for Android

Navigate to m.miquando.com. Tap the The Menu Icon for Google Chrome menu button and then tap the “Add to homescreen” option. Give your shortcut a name, like “MiQuando”, and Chrome will then add this to your home screen.

The MiQuando icon will show on your home screen just like any app, so you can drag it around and move it to wherever you want. Chrome for Android loads the website as a “web app” when you tap the icon, so you won’t even get a browser interface, just a nice clean web app.

Most other Android and native browsers offer this feature, so you should be able to add the MiQuando web to your home screen in the same (or similar) way.

 

Apple Safari IconSafari on iPhone, iPad, & iPod Touch

Open your Safari browser from any recent Apple iOS device, and go to m.miquando.com. Tap the The Apple Share Menu Icon Share button on the browser’s toolbar (you’ll find it on the bar at the bottom for iPhone or iPod Touch, on the top for iPad), then tap the Add to Home Screen icon in the Share menu. Give your shortcut a name e.g. MiQuando and it will be added to your screen.

Just like a normal app, you can drag the icon around and place it anywhere you want, including in app folders. Tapping your MiQuando icon will load the MiQuando mobile website using the Safari browser app.

 

Internet Explorer 10 IconInternet Explorer on Windows Phone 8 / 8.1

Using IE on your Windows phone, you use the “Pin to Start” option to add items to your home screen as tiles. Open the Internet Explorer browser and go to m.miquando.com. Tap the The Windows Phone more Icon More button and then tap Pin to Start in the menu as shown here.

Windows Phone 8 and 8.1 support live tile updates from websites that have configured the feature.

 

 

If you have another type of smartphone or tablet, it probably has this feature, too. Just open its browser and look in its menu for an option named something like “Add to home screen” or “Pin to home screen.”

To remove a website shortcut from your device’s home screen, just long-press the shortcut and remove it like you would any other app icon.

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