Acuity Scheduling, Webhooks, and Keeping Your ENTIRE Business On Schedule

By Chris Sevilleja

You run your own business. It takes a lot of time and a lot of planning. A lot of planning out your time, too. Then those pesky clients come along and want to make appointments, and if you want to make any money you have to let them. That adds a whole new wrinkle to your time management train, and soon the whole thing could come flying off the tracks.

You know, of course, that there are plenty of scheduling apps and services out there. But who has the time to test them all out, let alone get one up and running, and take the time to transfer data from your scheduling app to your other organizational tools? Getting your time under control can easily become a full-time job, and you already have one of those—that’s the whole point!

Lucky for you—and all the rest of us—Acuity Scheduling pairs full-function scheduling prowess with unstoppable integration capabilities, giving you an automated, responsive, and comprehensive way to manage your time and your business. All this is possible thanks to Webhooks.

How Webhooks Keep Your Schedule Current, Visible, and Up-to-Date

I won’t go into detail here about how Acuity’s basic scheduling features work. You can see them at work for yourself in minutes (literally, like 2-3 minutes. Even you have that much time to spare, especially since it can save you days of your life down the line…and it just might save your business, too). Simply put, both you and your clients get real-time access to your current calendar, so they can book appointments with ease and you don’t have to worry about double-bookings.

If this was all Acuity accomplished, it would be a decent addition to your business. But its scheduling interface and calendar-tracking are just the tip of the iceberg. It can also automatically update virtually any other web app you use in your business’s front- or back-end using a nifty little tool known as webhooks.

Whether you’re a skilled developer or a total novice, there are plenty of ways to put webhooks to use. You can use some of Acuity’s ready-made solutions to connect to other apps, use third-party webhook makers like Zapier to connect Acuity to additional apps and services, and craft custom solutions with your own code (or pay a developer to build these relatively simple code snippets for you).

However you decide to go, your webhooks will work essentially like a push notifications. When an app on your smartphone receives new data in response to a message, a certain amount of time passing, an event occurring, etc., it sends a push notification that lets you know exactly what’s happening. Webhooks work the same way, but their “push notifications” communicate with servers instead of smartphones and users.

Here’s a look at the basic JSON request/response for creating a new webhook subscription, which when implemented will trigger a notification from Acuity to the target URL when an appointment is made or changed:

The “event” or “action” variable can take the following values:

  • scheduled: when an appointment is made for the first time
  • rescheduled: when an appointment is moved to a different day and/or time
  • canceled: when an existing appointment is cancelled without being rescheduled
  • changed: when an appointment is changed in any way (including scheduled, rescheduled, and cancelled, and/or if an associated email address, name, phone number, or other details are altered)

The “id” variable is unique to each appointment and automatically updated and assigned by Acuity, for easy tracking of appointments and their associated details. The “calendarID” and “appointmentTypeID” variables allow you to organize different multiple calendars, differentiate between client appointments and meetings with investors or partners, or have any other differentiating criteria you want to apply to your scheduling and time management.

When the assigned URL receives the webhook notification, it can perform pretty much any action you can code. Create a custom webpage to show your customer their personalized appointment details, send yourself an email notice about the new appointment, make an automated phone call, update spreadsheets with any or all of your appointment-related data, interface with your accounting software, generate an invoice…

The possibilities are truly as limitless as the power of the web. If you can make it happen in PHP, JavaScript, Ruby, or any other POST-ready language, you can trigger it with an Acuity webhook. The second someone makes an appointment using the Acuity scheduler, everything is set in motion and your business remains on track.

Think You Have Acuity Stumped? Think Again

There isn’t a special case you can dream up that can’t be solved with Acuity, webhooks, coding know-how, and a little elbow grease. For example, say you teach courses or offer phone seminars to groups of clients, with a minimum number of sign-ups for the session to take place and a maximum number of clients allowed in any one session, and you allow clients to schedule these sessions at their convenience. Tracking the scheduling for this kind of offer would normally be a nightmare, but with Acuity’s webhooks it can all be automated.

You set up your Acuity calendar with the times you have available for these group lessons, and you wait for the first client to schedule a time. Your webhooks start a client count for the session, and send out emails to your current client list letting them know a new session has opened. As more clients sign up, the count increases and more emails go out. When you reach the minimum client count, you can trigger a confirmation email, send invoices and update your accounts payable, order any inventory you may need, even rent a conference room or other space assuming your venue has a web-based reservation form.

Set it up once, and your system is in place for all such sessions from here to eternity.

It’s webhooks forever and ever and ever…

Send text reminders at set intervals. Post on social media. Grant access to members-only parts of your site. You can even purchase and drop-ship product to clients when they make an appointment, if that’s something you want to do. Acuity has helped thousands of solopreneurs and businesses large and small tie their timekeeping and schedule-making tasks to other relevant areas of their business, no matter that those areas may be.

Are you ready to get your time management on track by letting your calendar keep track of itself and a whole lot more? Then sign up for a risk-free free trial today and see what Acuity can do for you. Once it gets its hooks into you—and into your business—you’ll be glad you took the bait.

Source:: scotch.io