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Along with a series of new integrations Facebook announced today, which bring features like food ordering and ticketing to Facebook business pages through third-party services, Microsoft this morning also rolled out an integration of its own: appointment bookings, via its recently launched Microsoft Bookings service, a part of the Office 365 suite. The new feature allows business owners accept customer appointments on their Facebook Page, via an added “Book Now” button.
After clicking, the customer’s contact information is automatically filled in, and they only need to click the “Book” button to complete the appointment setting process.
Microsoft Bookings, which launched this summer, previously only offered a unique web page where customers could select their dates and times based on current availability. But more customers are researching, then connecting with businesses on social media these days.
That’s why this added integration makes Microsoft Bookings more valuable to business users. And with Facebook’s continued push to serve as a one-stop-shop for anything you need from a business – ranging from general information to customer support, and now, easier ways to take actions, like buying tickets via Eventbrite or Ticketmaster, or ordering food through Delivery.com and Slice – it makes sense that Microsoft Bookings, too, should interoperate with the social networking platform.
Once set up, the Facebook appointments can then be managed alongside others in Microsoft Bookings. That includes the ability to do things like send appointment confirmations and reminders automatically, for example. Microsoft Bookings also supports self-service rescheduling, and it syncs appointments to a centralized calendar and staff calendars in Outlook for Office 365, Outlook.com and Google Calendar.
Meanwhile, a business’s policies around their bookings – like lead time, cancellation time, notification preferences and staff selection – will also still work, when appointments comes in via Facebook. The one exception is that Facebook only allows customers to book up to two months in advance, says Microsoft.
Bookings, a subscription service in Office 365 Premium, is currently only available to businesses in the U.S. and Canada, but will be made available worldwide in November.