vcita-slideupEver dream of a software service that does everything on your checklist? All the pieces of the puzzle to help make your small business run more smoothly and give you more time for the things that matter most? So do we! 🙂

In the meantime, it is satisfying to find a service that combines a few solutions.

We recently identified the need for EPW to have a combination appointment scheduling software payment service, so clients can schedule complimentary calls as part of their flat-fee package, or clients can pay for each call as they schedule them.

It was a challenge to know exactly what keywords to use for researching options. Starting simple by searching for just one service (“scheduling service”), the result was dozens of options in the price range of $10-30 per month.

We evaluated services such as Acuity, Full Slate, and Square Appointments.

Square Appointments was initially promising because of the handy integration with Square Cash for Business, but at $30 a month and sluggish customer service (which required a nudge on Twitter to get a response from a lingering email question to the sales department), this one fell down the list. The other services were reasonable options, but there wasn’t anything that really made one stand out from the next or that represented a real improvement over our current scheduling service.

At this point, we started searching for a solution that also facilitated phone calls, including some sort of bridge line or dial-in number to keep Elizabeth’s home phone numbers private … and none of the scheduling services offered this. Helpful customer service representatives suggested using GoToMeeting or, but this meant adding yet another service when we are trying to streamline our services.

After looking at dozens of different options (using the business software aggregator Capterra) I ran across vCita‘s “client engagement platform” that combines multiple features into one platform.

In addition to scheduling, vCita offers contact forms, bridge lines, payment integration options, and document sharing, all at a reasonable rate of approximately $25/month. If you have looked at our website recently, you may have noticed the friendly and (we hope) non-intrusive “slide-up” that now provides a communication option for our visitors. This was an added benefit we had not even considered!

We are in the process of testing vCita via a free 30-day trial. While we haven’t yet fully committed to vCita, their customer service is impressive, and we are fan of a solution that combines multiple services to help us to easily engage with clients!