I’m always intrigued by any new “Uber of X” applications and today I encountered (via Mark Suster and TechCrunch) MyTime, an appointment scheduling app. Since it just launched on Android two days ago and since I am long overdue for two beauty appointments, I wanted to try it out. I love a lot of what it’s already doing and if it adds just a few more things it can become indispensible to me. Here’s what I like:
- Book everything. Potentially, I can concentrate all my bookings into one handy app with one password and one user ID. I will love this when it happens but right now the app isn’t quite there yet and doesn’t have all my providers.
- Good flow. The app is focused on getting you an appointment, the flow is smart and will probably be even better once I have my prefered vendors saved.
Ratings. It’s very smart of MyTime to realize that users are lost without reviews. Even though for some of these services there is a low risk involved with setting up the appointment, users need reviews to make a booking decision and many times users are more than willing to try out new businesses for some types of appointments.
- Instant appointment confirmation. I cannot stress how much I like this. So many of my current providers take a while either confirming or worse, let me choose a range of times (say, Monday morning) and only let me know later when my actual appointment is.
- Smart results display include the rating, the next available appointment, if the business offers instant appointment confirmation and a price range. Anything that saves me that additional click to see more is a benefit. MyTime does this well. As of today, though, not all information is available for every salon. Also, I think the photo is unnecessary and takes up height. It offers nothing beyond eye candy.
- Booking options within a business: there’s an ability to book the different types of appointments that the business offers and to book by a specific employee. This option doesn’t exist for my salon yet but it’s a must and I’m glad MyTime offers it. As for appointment types, my dentist, for example, only offers exams, cleaning and whitening through the app, though I suppose these were chosen because they are good introductory services.
- Calendar and notifications: yes!
A few features I’d still like to see:
- Combination treatments. As I was trying to book an appointment with my regular hair salon it won’t let me book a cut and a color. We need to be able to book two services at once.
- Smart cancellations. I haven’t been able to try this out because I couldn’t book an appointment, but for both the user’s and business’s sake, cancellations will have to be easy to do as the barrier to setting up an appointment is now very low. With an appointment this easy to set up it might feel like not enough of a commitment to users. Speaking of which, will users be eventually rated by businesses? Will a customer who cancels appointments often be downgraded by the app? Can users be blacklisted from all hair salons in the city? Ack!
- Integration with calendar. Right now, the app doesn’t ask for permission to access the calendar so I am assuming it doesn’t update it with appointments. I need my schedule all in one app.
The only critical thing that MyTime still needs to do to become indispensable and irreplaceable to me is to include all the different business I go to. Right now it has some, not all, and even those on a partial basis, i.e. not all appointment types or not all employees. Once it has every place, for every service and for every employee, I will use it and only it to book. Right now, I wasn’t able to book the two appointments I wanted to because one of the businesses isn’t included in the app yet and the other doesn’t let me book by employee.
Also, a note about discreetness and security. Appointments of this nature are sensitive information and need to be treated as such. It may not be that critical for auto care but definitely a must for medical appointments. I don’t need anyone to see that I’ve been to a oncologist, or, on the other end of the spectrum, a plastic surgeon (though I realize these appointment types aren’t available yet.) Treat my data with a lot of respect, be smart about social sharing, and be sensitive with competitive offers and advertising.
Finally, MyTime has to work from the business’s perspective. Every time I’ve talked with my stylist about online appointment booking he told me how difficult it was for him to set up the different systems. Salons don’t want to be in the software business and they want a system that is easy for them to set up and maintain while making their customers happy. My stylist has been burned and frustrated several times and just wants something that works. His number one priority is running the business smoothly and keeping current customers happy. Bringing in new customers is secondary.