Microsoft Offering New Service For Booking Appointments

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is launching a new self-service appointment booking service for its Office 365 Business Premium users. The new service, called Bookings, lets business owners to create their own scheduling page, and then let potential customers look at a list of prices, and then schedule time for an appointment with a list of employees. The company says that the new service will be rolled out over the next several months.

The option to use the Bookings service will show up in the Office 365 app launcher. The service is compatible with a variety of devices and the appointments can be viewed in a centralized calendar that has a dashboard view of the booked dates and times. It’s also possible to reschedule, cancel, or re-assign appointments from the calendar. The calendar will also show staff availability.

Staff members will see the scheduled appointments in their own personal calendars. A contact list of customers is automatically created for the organization as people use the system. The service will also send e-mail reminders to customers when a scheduled appointment is coming up and lets customers change appointment details or reschedule. Bookings can send appointment details to the calendars of Outlook or users, as well as Google Calendar users.

Microsoft officials said the service would only be available to Office 365 Business Premium users. Business Premium, Microsoft’s most comprehensive Office 356 subscription plan for small businesses, costs $15 per user per month if paid monthly or $12.50 per user per month if paid annually. It includes the full set of Office applications, as well as Exchange Online, Skype for Business Online, SharePoint Online, Yammer enterprise social-networking, and 1 TB of free OneDrive for Business cloud storage.

Business Premium customers don’t need to use Exchange or Outlook to use Bookings and customers don’t need to be Office 365 subscribers to book an appointment. Office 365 Business Premium customers who are part of the First Release program will see Bookings start to roll out Wednesday. According to Microsoft officials, it will be available all Business Premium subscribers worldwide “in the coming months.”

Microsoft is planning to release a mobile application in the future for organizations that use the Bookings service so that they can monitor the scheduling remotely. The company has not disclosed whether it plans to bring the service to any of its other subscription offerings.