Full Slate Review
Full Slate was created in 2008 by an experienced team of entrepreneurs from the Seattle tech scene. Chris Korol, currently product and marketing manager, originally thought up Full Slate after managing and selling web-based services for many years. Greg Lauckhart, who is involved in several software start-ups and holds multiple patents for web-based software and computer applications, built Full Slate and continues to develop it. Bill Lange did product development and management at Seattle tech companies for years before becoming the company’s strategic business developer. Intuit, of Quickbooks and Turbotax fame, acquired Full Slate in 2013.
The team describes a vision of helping local businesses turn online advertising into new bookings, new clients, and repeat business through making booking easy for clients and managing clients and marketing easy for businesses: “All of which leads to a Full Slate.” According to their Facebook profile, “Thousands of businesses use Full Slate everyday: Massage Therapists, Hair Stylists, Mental Health Counselors, Photographers, Tattoo Artists, Automotive Centers, Naturopaths, Chiropractors, Acupuncturists, Estheticians, Tutors, Music Teachers, Personal Trainers, Fitness instructors.”
The company has built an excellent reputation for its attention to clients, having developed an entire separate customer service webpage and maintaining a continuous responsiveness to feedback.
Full Slate subscriptions are month-to-month or annual with no cancellation fees or credit card required for the trial. Click here to learn more about their pricing.
Rather than limit it by time, Full Slate allows the trial to extend until online clients book 10 appointments or staff book 100 new events in the system. (These numbers exclude appointments imported from an external calendar.)
Full Slate is available in three plans, each with no appointment limit. The annual plans come with a discount.
- “Just You” for $29.95/month or $329.95/yr
- “Up to 5 Staff” for $49.95/month or $549.95/yr
- “Up to 10 Staff” for $79.95/month or $879.45/yr
If you want to add more than 10 staff, you’ll need to contact the company for pricing.
Ease of Use:
Many users have cited Full Slate’s impressive ease of use. Most importantly, none (that I found) complained about unresolvable difficulties, limiting their gripes to quickly-fixed problems related to specific needs or the user’s impatience.
- Graphic User Interface: Full Slate’s GUI represents the company: pleasant and simple, it focuses on making processes as specific and customizable as possible without overwhelming or confusing the user. Colors and spacing, buttons and drop-down lists, pictures and text, format diversity and consistency are all balanced to give the user a powerful tool in a non-threatening, fun-to-use package.
- Set-up: Early on you’ll want to categorize and define the types of appointments your business offers. You can organize services and classes into the same groups by clicking and dragging in the master list. After configuring initial services, classes, and staff, the site leads you to a homepage with a clickable “getting started” checklist of suggestions (Enter Appointments, Block Time Off, Pretend You’re a Client, Invite Clients) for how a new user should proceed. It’s pretty straightforward and allows you to proceed at your own pace.
- Scheduling:. In the scheduling section, a small monthly calendar appears to the left, according to which the appropriate day, week, or weekday set appears in the main part of the screen. Simple features like color coding by staff, options to view the calendar full-screen or print the current view, and shortcuts for moving between weeks makes interacting with the schedule very intuitive. Separate calendars for appointments, classes, or personal events make viewing each one less overwhelming (but also means that seeing them together is impossible). You can easily make recurring appointments (every 1-12 weeks, or by quarter, semi-annually, or annually) or double-book the same time slot (for services with usable downtime). You can also set one-off or recurring blocks of unavailability for when you have vacations, lunches, shotputting lessons, etc.
- Adding Staff: Additional users are simple to add, edit, and group. As the software admin, it’s easy to delineate staff access levels (such as read-only mode, schedule but not settings access, or access to only own schedule). This makes it possible to have a secretary who doesn’t offer services but can make appointments on others’ schedules.
- Mobile Site: Full Slate is optimized for iPhone, Android, iPad, and Tablet and is easy to use on those devices. This comes at a slight cost, as the interface is highly simplified. The only three buttons available are schedule (by provider), alerts (for the day), and client list. The schedule shows up as clickable chronological list of days with summarized open times and highlighted scheduled times. It’s possible to view, add, and edit clients – but that’s about it.
- Customer Relationship Management: Full Slate’s CRM tools are outstanding. Messages can be personalized with your own HTML design and templates designed with placeholders anywhere for client names or other information. Adding a client prompts you to fill in detailed information, though nothing but their name is actually required. Client information includes fields for “client since…”, formattable notes, source, referer, email CC, timezone, and status (active and/or no self-scheduling online). You can of course import and export client lists. If you notice that duplicate information exists on the same client, it takes two clicks to merge the records. You can invite and publish reviews from customers and even import customer testimonials from an external URL or file.
- Customer Booking Experience: Customers visiting the public scheduling site can see the business name information, logo, hours, reviews, and services on the main page. Scheduling an appointment is a simple process started by clicking on the service, then choosing from the staff (or “no preference”) and the automatically adjusted available times listed on the calendar below their name. Booking an appointment requires a name, email address, and phone number, with the option of becoming a registered user for future bookings. All in all, customer booking is totally straightforward and uncomplicated.
- Confirmation Emails: Emails from Full Slate for both staff and customers are made up of a couple simple sentences in a bare-bones layout, with a link to view the appointment slipped in at the end. For customers, there also appears an option to add the event straight to their calendar.
- Reporting: Recently, Full Slate has added some basic reporting tools that allow you to track bookings, appointments, values, and sales over time. It’s a much-needed addition with a fairly simple implementation that allow you to use a number of criteria (categories, employees, etc.) to filter your results.
Customer Service and Support:
Full Slate offers a full swath of customer service options, which can never be taken for granted. Anyone can email the company through its public site and be automatically assigned an account in the independent support center, through which users can request help in multiple ways and even keep track of open and continuing requests. Emails are promptly answered (in my case, within 24 hours) by a customer service rep in a friendly, thorough manner.
From the home site, you can also request to chat with an agent online immediately. If one is not available, the pop-up window will change to a support request ticket without leaving the page. Channels of support include:
- Free phone support at toll-free number 1.888.489.6543
- Email at email@example.com
- Clear and thorough online help manual with a printable view (24 pages)
- Real-time chat with an agent online
Negative Reviews and Complaints:
There aren’t a ton of customer reviews of Full Slate floating around. The application currently rates 3.7/5 stars based on seven reviews on Intuit App Center. Most of the reviews appear dated, however.
- Quickbooks Syncing: Reviewers on the Intuit App Center page expressed frustrations with unresolved issues syncing QuickBooks and Full Slate, which seems to have a been a problem for quite a while. One writer noted that recurring appointments could not be made on a daily basis but had to be entered manually. Notably, these complaints were logged prior to 2014.
- No Resource Management: Full Slate’s biggest flaws is its inability to account for resources, such as rooms in a spa or bikes in a rental shop. Also, while it’s fabulous that you can offer gifts and packages through the service, it could expand that function to include discounts and coupon redemptions.
- No Customization of Reminder Emails: One user on Facebook was frustrated by the inability to finely tweak reminder and cancellation notices.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials:
Full Slate’s parent company, Intuit, has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Most of the complaints logged were related to specific software performance issues, mostly with Intuit’s more well-known applications. Full Slate has received over 2,702 likes on Facebook. One Facebooker said of the ten online scheduling apps he’d tested,
Full Slate is by far the smoothest and easiest to use for customers. Doesn’t require a log-in for customers to book appointments, is quick and easy to schedule on the back-end and their customer support couldn’t be better.
Many other Facebook users praised the company, particularly for their speedy responses to their questions. (Some even received replies within ten minutes of posting.)
Full Slate’s customer support page features a few dozen 5-star reviews from customers. Customers also praised.
- Customer Service: Interactions with customer service are exceptionally positive, with customers praising the speed, knowledge, enthusiasm, clarity, and patience of the staff.
- Ease of Use: Users praise the Full Slate’s smooth learning curve, streamlined features, and easy interface.
- Constant Improvements: Intuit frequent iterates on the product and, while the changes aren’t always a hit, most customers appreciated the improvements and the infrequent downtimes.
Full Slate constantly upgrades its features, a full list of which can be found here.
Recent upgrades include:
- Client tags
- Numerous updates to improve functionality on mobile devices
- The addition of a Reports tab and associated reporting tools
The following features, though not unique to Full Slate, are still rare enough not to take for granted:
- Unlimited appointments
- Capture credit card info or payments for partial or full pre-payments
- Collect and publish customer reviews
- Collect client information automatically in a database
- Schedule classes/groups
- Enabling client time zone adjustments
- The option to include expiration dates and terms on gift certificates and packages
- Daily service time caps for individual staff.
- Enhanced client payment options
- Enhanced services menu
- Recurring appointment bookings
- Adjusted the software’s style and screen resolution to keep its aesthetics as up-to-date as its functionality
Finally, the following functions really make Full Slate stand out:
- Option to hide client names from the schedule
- Two-way calendar sync
- Choice to only show clients openings close to other appointments you already have booked
- Option to limit online scheduling to existing clients, requiring secret pass phrase, blocking certain clients from self-scheduling, or disallowing online scheduling completely
- Service-specific automated emails
- Change email and SMS messaging settings for individual clients
- Real-time chat with a representative as well as free phone support from 8 am – 5:30 pm PST with voicemail during away times and the option to set up an appointment
Full Slate is integrated with payment platforms Stripe, Authorize.Net, Payflow, and PayPal (PayPal Payments Standard and Pro with Checkout Express). The company charges no extra transaction fees.
You have the option to capture credit card information for later processing, take non-refundable deposits, or require full payment ahead of time. Credit card numbers go right to your processor for ensured security.
Integrations and Add-Ons:
- QuickBooks connection
- Gift certificates and pre-paid packages
- Payment platforms: Stripe, Authorize.Net, PayPal
- Import/export clients from Gmail, Constant Contact, and QuickBooks
- Two-way sync with Google Calendar and other hosted services that support iCalendar
- Varying levels of partnership with bigger companies are encouraged – from private labeling to enterprise integration, Full Slate is capable of adjusting to a business’ needs (including corporate CRM or POS systems)
- Free API
Full Slate is clearly the brainchild of a well-functioning team experienced in software development and in touch with its consumer base. The software is easy for admin, staff, and customers to use, and is constantly adjusted for even better functionality and appearance. The recent overhaul of the site has improved its look and functionality on mobile sites, which is great for those who are frequently away from their desks.
The incredible amount of dedication and time Full Slate’s team applies to their work and customers does come at a cost. If you run a medium (rather than small-sized) business, you might want to consider software that offers no limitations on number of logins rather than unlimited appointments, as the cost of adding staff can quickly add up.
For most (very) small businesses, including those located internationally or serving international clientele, Full Slate offers a painless and powerful appointment booking and customer management tool. Incredible customer service and commitment to product enhancement and excellence make it by all accounts a wise investment. Click here to get started with a free trial.