Building an Appointment System for Video Consultations

This week we are going to see how we can build an appointment system, that will allow people to book time for consultancy via a video conference.

Possible applications could be for life coaching, technical IT consultancy, or just giving advice on a subject you are an expert in.

We will set up the Appointment system, enable payments to be taken, and facilitate the video chat session for the booked client. And all this with #nocode.

The appointment system we are going to look at is called Setmore.

There are a lot of booking systems around, and these blog posts are not about reviewing and picking the "best" system, they are about how you can use (free and simple) technology to build a potential business system. However, I like the simplicity of Setmore's interface, the support (even on free tier) has been quick, and the mobile view is clean.

As usual, we will need to sign up with Setmore. Select a business name, set the hours that you are available, don't worry about adding any "staff" for now, and set up the services and prices that you want to offer. Here I have set up a £30 consultation, and also a free chat option.

Note that we don't need to have a website to use Setmore, as we will have a one created for us. In my case ...

But if you already have a website, you can add in the booking widget to many of the site builders out there like Wiz, Weebly or Wordpress. But let's be simple for now and use the one we are given.

Next, we need to sort out a video chat system for our customers and us. For this, we are going to use

Again, another sign-up. And you will need to verify your email address, but after that, it is very easy.

Gruveo is one of a new breed of video/voice technologies that offer "Browser-to-Browser" communication, rather that going via another party. No registration is needed, and this means that for many people, there is no app to download either. You just go to the web page, and it is all there working.

So what you get after registering is a web address with your chosen name. I chose "builtwithnocode" so I now have this video chat room assigned to that username.

It is like a mobile phone number, that "rings" when someone goes to that URL. And only two people can be on the "call" at one time, so there is no chance of someone eavesdropping by joining early.

So set yourself up a Gruveo username.

No back to Setmore, and we are going to tweak it a little to make it a little more friendly for our customers, as we are just offering a basic service for the moment.

So head back to Setmore, and use the lefthand navigation to go to the Booking Page settings.

Select "Booking Policies."

Firstly, we are going to remove a lot of the requirements for data entry when booking a call. I am just using Email Address here; we don't need someone's phone for now, nor their address.

Then we are going to skip the "staff" step, which is after your booker has selected the service they want, and is for bookings where you might want to book a particular person - so maybe your favourite hairdresser. But for our service, there is only us for the time being, so let's make it easier by setting "Skip The Staff".

We are also going to turn "Customer Login" off. This feature allows you to ask people to create accounts to be able to book your services. Possible we might add this in the future so that regular bookers might get different services and prices. But again, let's keep this simple and turn it off.

Now we are going to go to the settings tab, and then "Notifications" and finally "Customization".

Here we are going to add a link to our web page that got from Gruveo.

So now when someone books us, they get the link in the email.

The last thing we are going to need is some way to take payment. Setmore offers several payment integrations on their paid plan. And for around $25/£20 a month, this might be good when you have some bookings rolling in. The paid plan also lets you do text message reminders and other cool stuff.

But we can do it manually, for the time being, using

Either by requesting the money directly via their email, or we can set up a page and include it in the confirmation like this.

So we are good to go with our brand new business. We can send out our booking page to potential customers. They sign up, we get notified of the booking. We send them out a request for payment. Then at the appointment time they click on the link and we are connected in video chat. Nice.

Next week we will look at setting up tshirt shop.