When it comes to booking a driving lesson, both phone and online methods have their strengths and weaknesses. Here’s a look at the two methods from both the student’s and the driving school owner’s standpoint:
Phone Bookings from the Student’s Viewpoint:
Advantages of Phone Bookings for Students:
- Human Touch: A direct chat with a representative offers a personal connection, which is especially beneficial for those with questions or concerns.
- Instant Feedback: Any doubts about the lesson can be immediately addressed.
- Simple for Tech Novices: People less familiar with online tools might find this method less daunting.
- Immediate Clarifications: If you have any doubts or questions about the driving lessons, you can get instant clarifications from the person on the other end of the line.
Disadvantages of Booking Over the Phone for Students:
- Set Hours: You can only call during business hours, which might not always be convenient. Otherwise, you can start the game of phone tag.
- Might be Time-Intensive: Phone bookings can be lengthier due to waits and verbal information exchange.
- Human Error: There’s a higher chance of misunderstandings or miscommunication due to the reliance on verbal communication. This could lead to mistakes in booking details.
Online Booking from the Student’s Perspective:
Advantages of Phone Bookings for Students:
- Always Open: You can book anytime, anywhere, bypassing regular business hours.
- Quick & Easy: Online bookings usually offer a more streamlined process with immediate time slot selections.
- Reduced Errors: Since you input your information directly into the system, there’s less chance of human error compared to relaying information over the phone.
- Visible Options: You can see all available slots in real time.
- Automation: Online systems can send you automated reminders and notifications, helping you stay organised and ensuring you don’t miss your lesson.
Disadvantages of Booking Online for Students:
- Impersonal: Lacks the human touch some people prefer.
- Might be Technically Challenging: Not everyone finds online systems intuitive.
For students, the choice between phone and online booking hinges on their tech-comfort level, desire for personal touch, and schedule preferences. While online options are speedy and accessible, phone bookings are required if the business has not provided enough answers on their website prior to making a booking.
Now lets compare both options for the Driving School owners perspective.
Phone Bookings from the School Owners Viewpoint:
Disadvantages of Booking Over the Phone for School Owners:
- Labor Intensive: Handling phone bookings requires dedicated staff to be available to answer calls, process bookings, and address customer inquiries. This can lead to increased labour costs, especially during peak hours.
- Limited Availability: Phone bookings are constrained by business hours, meaning potential customers can only book when the school is open. This can lead to missed booking opportunities from individuals who prefer booking outside of these hours.
- Potential for Errors: Human errors in recording information during phone bookings can lead to scheduling conflicts, incorrect lesson details, or other administrative issues. This can negatively impact customer satisfaction and require additional time to rectify.
- Scalability Challenges: As the driving school grows and receives more inquiries, managing phone bookings can become increasingly challenging. Hiring and training more staff to handle the increased volume can be resource-intensive.
Advantages of Phone Bookings for School Owners:
- Personal Connection with Customers: Speaking directly to customers can help build a rapport and trust, leading to potential long-term client relationships.
- Instant Issue Resolution: Immediate feedback and conversations can help address and resolve any concerns or unique requirements a student might have, promoting a more tailored service.
- Potential for Upselling: Direct conversations can offer opportunities to upsell additional lessons or packages, based on the student’s needs.
- Immediate Feedback: Owners can get direct insights and feedback from clients about their services or any area that needs improvement.
- Versatility: Owners can manage bookings even without internet access.
Disadvantages of Using an Online Booking System for School Owners:
- Technical Setup and Maintenance: Implementing and maintaining an online booking system requires technical expertise. There are costs associated with developing or purchasing the system, as well as ongoing maintenance and updates.
Pro Tip: Use a platform like bookitLive which handle the bespoke setup for you.
- Initial Learning Curve: School staff and instructors may need time to become familiar with the new online booking system. This transition period might lead to temporary disruptions in the booking process.
- Digital Divide: Some potential customers, particularly those who are not comfortable with technology or lack internet access, might be excluded from using the online booking system. This could result in lost business opportunities.
- Cybersecurity Concerns: Online booking systems handle sensitive customer information, making data security a critical concern. Ensuring the system is secure from potential breaches is essential but requires investments in cybersecurity measures.
- Customisation Challenges: Off-the-shelf online booking systems may not perfectly align with the driving school’s specific needs and policies. Customising the system to fit the school’s requirements could involve additional development efforts.
Advantages of Online Bookings for School Owners:
- 24/7 Bookings: Schools can receive bookings outside of regular business hours, leading to potential increases in revenue.
- Efficiency: Automated systems reduce manual administrative tasks, allowing staff to focus on other crucial aspects of the business.
- Reduced Staffing Costs: With automation handling bookings, there’s less need for additional staff to manage appointments.
- Database Building: Owners can effortlessly collect and store client information, making future marketing or communication efforts more streamlined.
- Real-time Updates: As lessons get booked, schedules are updated in real-time, reducing chances of double bookings or overbookings.
- Integration Capabilities: Online systems can integrate with other digital tools like email marketing systems, payment gateways, or analytics tools, offering a comprehensive business solution.
- Transparency for Customers: Clients can see available slots, instructor profiles, and sometimes even reviews, fostering trust and transparency.
- Automated Reminders: Systems can send automated reminders to both students and instructors, reducing no-shows and ensuring smooth lesson schedules.
There is a growing trend for students to book online over traditional methods (Pre pandemic reports showed nearly half of bookings come from online booking system), in the pandemic era and beyond all online activities increased so our estimate is this is closer to 70%, so without a booking system in place users may just move on to the next driving school.
Also considering, most driving students are young people getting their license for the first time. Young people prefer not to use the phone and rather do it online.
To address the reasons why phone calls are preferred by some students. Start by answering students questions via your website. It should contain a comprehensive FAQ section (to answer as many question as possible).
If you have the staff or your business is complex and the booking requires some verbal clarification. We recommend starting with online booking and call for follow up questions/answers.
The main issue of taking phone call bookings is staffing of the phones, which is a problem in itself, in the current Australian climate, it’s difficult to find staff and an expensive option. Reducing administrative overheads means your prices can be competitive and your business can also easily scale.
So to answer the question which is best, the short answer is clearly online bookings.