Full Slate Review
Full Slate was created in 2008 by an experienced team of entrepreneurs from the Seattle tech scene.
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 easy for businesses: “All of which leads to a Full Slate.” According to their Facebook profile, “Thousands of businesses use Full Slate every day: 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 web page and maintained a continuous responsiveness to feedback.
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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.
Web-Based or Locally installed:
Full Slate is entirely web-based and does not require any downloads to work.
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 make 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, shot-putting 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 a 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 allows 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)
- In-Depth FAQ page.
- 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 is currently rated B- by Better Business Bureau, but that is based purely on a single review from 2015. More worryingly, the app gets a 3.5 on Getapp.
- Quickbooks Syncing: Reviewers 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.
- Lack of “Flair”: I came across a few reviews claiming Full Slate is under-featured and lacks the “flair” of their competitors. Full Slate doesn’t really try to break the mold of Scheduling software; it does a solid job, but look elsewhere for innovation.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials:
For the most part, Full Slate users are a dedicated bunch. This seems to be pretty much a love-it-or-hate-it kind of software. Full Slate has received over 2,202 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 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. This is by far the most praised part of the Full Slate experience.
- 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 down times.
As I mentioned above, Full Slate has gained a reputation for being an easy to use, if overly simple program. Despite this claim, there are still plenty of good features to go around, including the following:
- Double Booking: In a field where you need to handle multiple clients at once? Have more than one employee to handle several customers? No problem, thanks to this feature.
- Class Scheduling: This seems most useful in the fitness/yoga studio world, though I can imagine other applications for it as well. Basically, this allows your customers to all sign up for one appointment slot: pretty handy!
- Multiple Locations: Experiencing a boom in business? Thinking of opening a new location? Already have a few shops? Full Slate can handle multiple locations with ease.
- Recurring appointments: I feel like this one explains itself. But Full Slate can do it, so if these are something you need, look no further.
- Gift Certificates/Packages: This feature just screams usefulness to me and I am happy to see Full Slate adding support for this kind of thing.
Integrations and Add-Ons:
- QuickBooks connection
- Gift certificates and pre-paid packages
- 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 also 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.
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. Any concerns about lack of features are probably completely allayed by how legendarily easy Full Slate is to use. Click here to get started with a free trial.