Email & Workflow Management Tools

Scheduling tools that will kill off email. Surely not?

Jun 5, 2019
Reading Time: 5minutes

Every day we use multiple tools automate work processes to accomplish our tasks quicker. Email is one such unproductive tool, which is why you should consider a scheduling tool. Right? 

Post summary:

  • how do scheduling tools usually work?
  • 8 top-rated scheduling tools
  • Our CEO’s favourite (shhh!)

However, when scheduling meetings with potential clients, partners and our team, we still use email or Slack as our primary communication channel. Every day, our clients and team bounce emails back and forth to find the best time to meet finally.

Research has unveiled that an average white-collar worker spends about six hours a day on emails. How about finally ditching email and subsequently wasted time coming out of our inboxes? Surely, we want to be more productive?

Firstly, how do scheduling tools usually work?

  1. Multiple dates and time options are selected and are forwarded to other recipients. 
  2. The recipients receive an invitation email with clickable time slots or a link to an event page.
  3. Recipients then select the proposed time slot(s) that suit them best. 
  4. Once the mutually suitable meeting slot is selected, everyone receives a confirmation email on the date and time.

Some scheduling tools are integrated with your favourite calendar apps, meaning that recipients can add the meeting to their calendars in a few clicks.

If this sounded like something you need, then examine these scheduling tools that we have used and determine for yourself which one suits your business.

1. Clara

Clara is a virtual assistant when scheduling meetings. The tool interprets your questions and helps to facilitate your email conversation with other participants; it finds a suitable time for everyone.

For example, should you type in “Clara, can you find the time for us to meet for a morning business meeting this week? – Clara sends an email to all recipients and determines a time, date, location and participants.

In comparison to other scheduling tools, Clara seems relatively expensive. However, if you consider the human involvement, it’s why it is so. 

2. Calendly

Calendly is a top-rated scheduling tool among those who organise meetings with clients, schedule webinars and people who frequently attend internal company meetings.

This easy-to-use and well-constructed tool sends a calendar invite to any person you wish to schedule a meeting with. The recipients receive an email with multiple meeting slots proposed by the sender, who in turns selects the slot that best matches their availability. 

claendly

Another brilliant point about Calendly is that you can book out slots that you never wish to schedule meetings for, say for example, on Fridays or in early mornings or lunchtimes. Ensuring that you make time for your daily work too, and not only for meetings.

Once you and your invitee has agreed on a suitable time slot, you can add it to your favourite calendar, whether iCal, Gmail or Outlook in only a few clicks. Plus, any invitee you send invitations to does not have to sign up when choosing available slot times. 

3. Assistant.to

What makes Assistant.to fascinating is that it is an inbox extension and not a scheduling tool per se. This tool is ideal if you have composed emails with free meeting times and wish to forward these to invitees. 

Once all other parties have selected the suitable time, Assistant.to automatically schedules the time slot and sends out invites. This tool is fantastic for those who prefer not to leave their inbox; however, it doesn’t support multi-person scheduling for over two people and does not integrate with any calendar apps, which is clearly disappointing. 

4. Doodle

Doodle’s free base account is a reliable way to manage a small team’s meetings by creating polls that invitees suggest as the optimal time to meet. Later on, the poll initiator will choose the best meeting time based on the most selected time slot by the majority of the recipients, although this still may not be the best time slot for all. 

doodle

Nevertheless, a helpful free tool to become acquainted with for smaller teams. Paid versions of the tool permit calendar app integration and automatic reminders.  

5. NeedToMeet

NeedToMeet is a tad more laborious when it comes to scheduling meetings, as first of all, the initiator will need to complete a form for the meeting details, place, dates and duration. 

needtomeet

Next, every recipient is invited either by the NeedToMeet page or automatically forwarded via the tool in an email, with the results of the meeting request in a table of the most suitable time slot chosen. Again, this is a free tool with a paid version for calendar integrations.

6. Pick

Pick has both desktop and mobile versions that help to determine periods when everyone is available. It synchronises with all your favourite calendar apps and compares everyone’s calendars, proposing free meeting slots.

After a time that suits everyone has been found and scheduled as a meeting, Pick informs all participants and automatically schedules the meeting to all recipients’ calendar apps – pretty neat!

A nifty feature in Pick is sharing your available slots with others so that they know in advance when your available slot times are, much like Calendly.

7. Timebridge

The fundamental features offered in Timebridge resemble some of the previously discussed tools – you choose multiple dates and times and send invites via email. After others have confirmed an appointment, you both receive notifications. It synchronises with Outlook and Gmail calendar, meaning that you can select free time slots whilst viewing your other scheduled meetings.

Timebridge then may sound nothing spectacular, yet for larger teams, it is better because it has a Yes/No/Best feature that is very handy when scheduling which is the best time to meet, much like Doodle.

8. Rally

Lastly, I have included Rally because the neat thing about this scheduling tool is that it is open source, meaning that various concepts are pulled together from numerous scheduling tool aficionados. 

With Rally, users create an event page and share it with other recipients. On the page, everybody can choose the most suitable time slots. This scheduling tool has a neat feature – you can scribble down the meeting notes on the event page to write up the minutes later from everything that was discussed.

If after reading this, you still believe email is the best scheduling tool then carry on as before.

However, if you’re into innovation and would like to integrate scheduling meetings to your daily workflow, your clients and fellow team members will be impressed!

Tip – Calendly is our CEO David’s favourite scheduling tool! Read his other favourites here.

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