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Booker Review

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Booker Review

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Date Established
2010
Location
New York, NY

Pros

  • Easy to Use
  • Well-designed user interface

Cons

  • Buggy
  • Poor public reputation

Overview:

Supercenters tend to get a bad name. We hear stories about big box stores moving into towns, driving competitors out of business with one-stop-shopping and cutthroat prices. Most of us, however, have been drawn to the convenience of those stores at one time or another.

While Booker isn’t sitting in a strip mall on the outskirts of town, it does aim to be a one-stop-shop for your business software needs, and it hopes to do so in a simple and affordable way.

Booker covers a lot of bases and does so at a fairly reasonable price. Whether it does so well enough for your business will probably be a function of how many employees you have and how patient you are.

Pricing:

Booker has a simple tiered pricing structure that unrolls the vast majority of its features at the basic level. There’s no free trial, but you can schedule a demo with a customer service rep if you’re interested in the software.

  • Basic: $85/month: Online appointment book and bookings, integrated point-of-sale, package and series management, gift certificates and eCommerce, optional credit card processing
  • Standard: $135/month. Everything you get with Basic, plus unlimited document storage, loyalty points and rewards, membership management.
  • Custom: Variable. Booker will set up a customized account with flexible options, including multi-location options, custom customer fields, IP lock, API access.

Additional Costs/Add-ons

The following features are available as optional add-ons:

  • Booker Customer App: A mobile app available to Booker customers. Android and iOS versions are available.
  • Booker Marketing Network: Users of this feature will be able to add booking features to their business listings on any of Booker’s partner sites.

User Experience:

Booker strikes a balance between complexity and feature-depth that should prove to be fairly intuitive for most users, albeit at the cost of a lot of tabs and sub-tabs. Still, there’s nothing here that should make you want to tear your hair out in frustration. While the interface looks just a tad dated visually, it’s still very functional and responsive.

  • Scheduling/Calendar: Booker makes managing multiple staff members a breeze. The program assumes you won’t be alone and makes viewing and assigning staff availabilities (and permissions) simple and easy. You can reassign appointments to staff using a simple drag-and-drop interface. The color-coding system is super handy for easy visual reference. Additionally, you can resize your columns on the fly using sliders. Adding new appointments is as simple as clicking on an empty slot on the calendar. You’ll then enter customer information, the type of appointment, and the staff member who will be handling it. You can store information from previous clients to avoid having to reenter their data down the road. When you’re ready to confirm the booking, you have the option to send email or text confirmations to the client.
  • Point of Sale: Booker offers POS for merchants who need that functionality built-in. While it isn’t necessarily as fully featured as some of the more dedicated POS software suites, it should do the trick for anyone who doesn’t have highly complex inventory management to perform. You’ll be able to view a client’s purchase history, add preset items to their cart, and process cash, checks, and credit cards. If you’ve paid out for the Standard package, you’ll also be able to assign and process loyalty points in transactions. You will, of course, need additional hardware to scan credit cards. Note, you can conduct online sales through the customer booking feature.
  • Marketing: Booker has some integrated marketing features that can help you center your online business activities in one place. For example, from the Marketing tab, you’ll be able to do social media blasts to Facebook and Twitter. For email marketing, Booker partners with MailChimp. Booker helps you manage some simple email marketing automation tasks by setting conditions in which the customer will automatically receive emails from you (birthdays, thank yous, we-miss-yous, etc).
  • Customer Booking Experience: Setting up customer booking is accomplished by simply copying and pasting some HTML to your website, which will manifest as a button that links the customer to your booking page. The booking page is fully customizable, so you can make it more closely resemble your business’s style than Booker’s. Customers can select services you’ve made available through a series of drop-down menus. They’ll get a number (you determine how many) of potential appointment slots to choose from. Frequent customers can create accounts to store their booking information. You can also process credit card transactions through the booking feature if you require payment upfront or place a hold in case of cancellation. Note, the customer will actually be directly booking the time slot rather than making a request to book the time slot.
  • CRM and Analytics: Booker retains a log of all the interactions it has processed between you and each client. This includes appointments and sales. You can take this a step farther by setting customized alerts on customers that will remind you of useful information to keep in mind while you’re interacting with them (the customer has children, the customer frequently has to cancel appointments, reminders about what products they like, etc.). As far as reports go, Booker tracks almost everything it does–from staff performance, to payroll, to customer behavior–and can, in turn, spit it out in a report for you.

Payments

Booker providers payment processing services through platform-ready integrations with First Data, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, PNC, Vantiv, Integrity, and subLyme.

Customer Service and Support:

Booker offers live support 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET during weekdays, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET on weekends. There are a number of different ways to access support resources:

  • Phone: Call 866-966-9885 during the hours listed above.
  • Chat: Customers can access live chat support by clicking on “Help & Training” from within the program.
  • Email: You can reach email support at support@booker.com
  • Help Center: Contains links, articles, and alerts to help you resolve issues
  • Blog: Articles and links on topics which may be useful to merchants.

Negative Reviews and Complaints:

The software has gotten mixed-to-positive reviews on G2Crowd, where it ranks around 3.9 out of 5 stars. Common criticisms include:

  • Buggy: A lot of users reported encountering unexpected performance issues which required contact with the company. Further, a portion of those users reported that Booker Software struggled to identify and resolve the issues quickly.
  • Customer Service/Aggressive Upselling: This complaint is largely related to the above issue, but other users reported dissatisfaction with customer service, particularly in the realm of aggressive sales pitches.
  • Mobile apps: A few users wished more features were accessible on the mobile apps.
  • Reports: Some users expressed frustration about being unable to customize reports to fit the specifics of their business.

Positive Reviews and Testimonials:

The Better Business Bureau has logged a small number of complaints, but most of those have aged out of their rating criteria. BBB currently rates Booker A+. Despite some of the harsh criticisms out there, there are plenty of users singing Booker’s praises as well.

  • Client Interface: It’s an optional feature, but users reported that their customers really appreciated the elegant design and ease-of-use of the client-facing booking/shopping features.
  • Marketing Tools: You can accomplish a fair amount of marketing tasks from directly within Booker. Overall, customers appreciated these easy email blast feature.
  • Employee management: Booker made scheduling employees painless for some users, who said they liked that their employees could check their schedules from their mobile devices.
  • Ease of Use: For all the features Booker offers, it’s remarkably easy to use, which a number of users have noted.

Features:

A list of Booker’s main features can be found here. The software’s more unusual features include:

  • Social Promotion: You can send social media blasts and email campaigns directly from Booker.
  • Booker Marketing Network: It’s an add-on, but you can link your booking page to your listing in a number of popular sites like Yelp.
  • Point of Sale: Booker comes equipped with point-of-sale functionality.

Security:

Booker Software is a PCI Level 1 Service provider and must maintain compliance with the PCI DSS standard.

Booker’s information security program, built mainly around industry-standard PCI compliance, is a comprehensive governance framework designed to educate, protect, detect and respond to security incidents.

Physical access to data centers requires two-factor authentication.

You can read more about Booker’s security policy here.

Integrations and Add-ons:

Booker does a lot of things for you out-of-the-box, but you may have a difficult time finding additional integrations for it, especially since the API is only available at the highest tier. Booker integrates with:

Final Verdict:

On paper, Booker is a something of a godsend; a reasonably priced platform that functions as a one-stop shop for all your digital business needs. It’s got booking, marketing, point of sale, and analytics—all under one roof! And, truth be told, when the software is functioning as it should, it’s very nearly what you’d hope it would be. Booker is packed with features.

Unfortunately, Booker has some issues that keep it from consistently functioning as advertised, the most serious of which is its slow performance. While this isn’t an insurmountable issue, it is concerning enough that I’d recommend caution before diving into Booker. In conclusion, before you make any big decisions, I’d recommend taking the guided tour, reading as many user reviews as you can, and determining whether or not Booker meets your needs and does so within your price range.

Chris Motola

Chris Motola

Finance Writer at Merchant Maverick
Chris Motola is a writer, programmer, game designer, and product of NY. These days he's mostly writing about financial products, but in a past life he wrote about health care and business. He's a graduate of the University of Central Florida.
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8 Comments

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the vendor or bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the vendor or bank advertiser. It is not the vendor or bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

    Marie Mc Entee

    Organization Name: Blowtique

    Worst company ever to deal with. Impossible to get in touch. At the minute I am waiting 39 mins and still they keep saying wait time 10 mns and its not unusual to wait over an hour. Take my advice and sign up to another company Phorest brilliant company rarely problems and customer support very short wait times 2-3 mns.

    • Organization Name: Blowtique
    Brad Miller

    Organization Name: RCS

    After years of broken promises from Booker employees to fix bugs in the platform, I decided to launch a blog where I could document the problems I’ve had for years. Previously, I would dutifully take screenshots of issues with Booker, write detailed notes, and provide timelines requested by their customer service staff. These never went anywhere. Out of frustration, I decided to compile my notes at BookerProblems.com. If you are aware of another platform able to manage multiple schedules and customer payments, please let me know. I’m actively searching for a replacement. Thanks.

    1
    • Organization Name: RCS
    Marie Mc Entee

    Try Phorest

      Angela

      We have been using booker since 2016. There have been glitches, but I do notice that regular updates often do improve the user experience. Recently Mind Body hooked up with Booker and my coworker was really concerned because she had had poor experiences with Mind Body as both a practitioner and a customer. There does seem to be more issues arising since the merger. I’m wondering about the people who have written poor reviews of this software, what have they found that is BETTER? Paper & pen are not, as at least 40% of our bookings are coming from online and in a recent customer survey ease of booking/online booking was one of the most often praised. I’d be happy to try something less glitchy but IS there something better?

        Martha Calvillo

        Organization Name: Queens Hair Studio

        We had this product all of 8 days, it’s unimpressive, super basic, useless. If you’re looking for something overpriced, to add very little to no value to your administrative needs, buy booker. You can get these features off of free applications. Customer service is heinous. They promise one thing and never follow through. I have countless emails (because they never have the answers over the phone) that contradict the previous correspondence. They sound very nice, but are blatantly incompetent. We purchased the booker platform for the marketing component, and upon payment, we come to discover that the marketing component is an additional cost, doubling our budget. So we asked to cancel (for this and various other reasons), and the kept the $100 “enrollment fee”. It’s disgusting, and a complete abuse of incoming clients. I still cannot wrap my head around the fact that they’re stealing $100 for “enrollment” when were weren’t’ even enrolled. As soon as we paid there were problems we were trying to sort through, and all the sudden our rep didn’t have answers and would reference us to the “support team”. We spent the 8 days we had booker trying to get someone to call us back, answer questions, and tell us why we were given a price, to soon find that it didn’t include the service we asked and paid for. BTW, the enrollment is an “on-boarding phone call” with tutorials. If you don’t schedule and take the on-boarding call (which are inconveniently only during business hours – so if you have a full time job already forget every gaining access) you get you $100 back, and/or applicable to a future month’s due. Being that we didn’t initiate the on-boarding process, there should’ve been NO REASON AT ALL to keep the $100 paid, especially since the reason for staying with booker for 8 days was mostly waiting for booker to get back to us with answers. They were great about apologizing about delays, but it was on our dime, so… Good luck getting someone on the phone to help you with something other than taking your money.

        1
        • Organization Name: Queens Hair Studio
        Jared

        We have used Booker in our 3 salons for almost 4 years. We selected Booker because we wanted a cloud-based solution that we could access from anywhere. We contacted several others during our evaluation including MindBody. MindBody never responded to our inquiry through their website but we did demo it recently. In our experience, Booker has invested their money in acquiring marketing platforms like Frederick and not in their platform. The Booker platform has frequent outages some lasting several hours. As the other reviewer mentioned, they often do not communicate the outage on their status page and often do not share the resolution of the problem. The infrastructure (servers, routers, etc) is not sufficient for a company with their user count and does not have sufficient redundancy, diversity or resiliency. Booker initially offered customer reporting for an additional fee but they no longer support it. For a salon owner, the reporting has not kept up with the evolution of the salon industry. We are in the process of evaluating platforms again to make a change. The outages cause too much disruption and their lack of investment in the infrastructure and reporting tools tells me they are just working towards a sale.

        2
          Megan

          Hi Chris!

          We have quite a few updates since the update here, most notably, the EMV (Chip Card) Compliant integration with the Clover Mini! Let me know if you are interested in reviewing some of the details and some updated screenshots.

          Thank you!
          Megan Rollo

            Billie

            I agree with all written above! I just “tried’ to sign up with Mind Body but realized that Booker was more fitting for my salon. Booker offers ways to set up a sliding pay scale where Mind Body is not equip to pay employees individual. Not to mention the time you are on hold for with Mind Body is quite a long period of time. Booker does have often moments of down time where we cannot process transactions but I am hopeful the software will eventually get a move on its smoothness.

            4

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