Calendly review: to tell it short and sweet
Calendly is the most popular and widely used meeting scheduler. What sets them apart is the depth into which they have gone in the essentials of a meeting scheduler. They have done it keeping the user interface simple and minimalistic.
Calendly has one of the highest number of integrations, meeting types among meeting schedulers, and they offer the maximum flexibility in setting up availability. Their pricing is reasonable as well.
I am not saying that Calendly is the best for all use cases. If you do not have time to research for an online meeting scheduler that is the ideal fit your, Calendly is the safest bet.
Calendly has not gone deeper into customization of emails and booking pages, collaborative meeting scheduling features, recurring group appointments etc.
Who will find Calendly limiting?
In service industries like salons, people visit salons for multiple treatments. You cannot book multiple services in one go with Calendly. Also, they do not have the classes feature. Calendly has not given much attention to the service industry. They focus on a different target audience.
They do not have meeting polls typical to meeting schedulers.
Calendly does not have customizations enough to brand the customer-facing aspect of scheduling: the booking page, the notification emails, domain mapping. If you are a company on the creative side, you will find Calendly limiting. Calendly appears to become expensive for teams larger than 5 members if you are on a tight budget for a scheduling tool.
Who will find Calendly useful?
Almost everyone who wants to automate their scheduling! However, Calendly has a target audience – sales teams, recruiters, consultants and interviewers. Their priority for new features will be based on the requirements of this audience. So, if you are part of this group, you will greatly benefit.
What is their business model?
Calendly tries to onboard teams in sales, marketing and other customer facing functions. They try to grow within that organization. There are nudges throughout the scheduling process – invite emails, confirmation pages – to try Calendly and its benefits.
They pick a segment, address their needs well, and gradually enter another. For ex. They did not have an online payment feature for a long time as their target audience – sales teams – do not generally charge for customer meetings. Now, they are focusing on service businesses and have introduced online payment.Here is their business model: Go after segments, acquire teams, grow within the organization and activate word of mouth and referrals.
Viability of the company
Calendly is a profitable company with $50 million in revenue last year. The founder and CEO, Tope Awotona is still the majority stakeholder. They have been in existence since 2013. With more than 200 employees and frequent feature releases, Calendly is well positioned as a stable company.
Calendly review: How do they fare on the basic features of a scheduler?
- Calendar sync
- Calendly has integrations with Google, O365, iCloud, MS exchange, Outlook desktop calendars.
- Setting availability
- They offer the maximum flexibility in setting up availability compared to other meeting schedulers. You can define your working hours, break times; restrict the last-minute bookings; set daily limits. What differentiates Calendly is the ability to have an event only for a day, a date range; once a week, twice a week – there are many combinations. You can even copy the availability of another event.
- Calendly has the following meeting types: one-on-one, one-to-many, many-to-one. It has round robin scheduling with options to distribute meetings equally or based on a set priority. This will take care of meeting needs faced by customer teams.
- Sharing it with customers
- Calendly does it well. Share your availability in multiple ways: via email; single page website; website embed; website pop-up. Also, you can copy-paste time slots into your email using the browser plug-ins.
- Post appointments actions
- Notify – You can set up email notifications and calendar invites for when customers book an appointment.The same goes for cancellation emails. You can also set up reminder emails, and workflow-based follow-up emails.
- Update – Calendly updates your calendar about new appointments. Customers can add it to their calendar from the confirmation email or by RSVPing to the calendar invite.
- Block – Adding it to the calendar blocks that time slot for you. This prevents you from being double-booked.
- Online meeting
- Calendly has integrations with Zoom, GoToMeeting, JoinME and MS Teams. It generates an online meeting link automatically.
What are the differentiating features of Calendly?
- Workflows – These come handy in sending notifications based on rules. It is straightforward to set it up from the user interface. Calendly has 4 triggers, and 3 actions for each trigger. You can also set time delays.
- Integrations – Calendly has the widest range of integrations among meeting schedulers. They have integrations with calendars, CRMs, payment processors, ATSs, video conferencing tools, marketing tools and integration and automation platforms. Additionally, they offer APIs.
- Android and iOS apps
- Chrome and Firefox plugin – Allows you to copy-paste your availability without leaving your current browser tab.
- Round robin scheduling with equal distribution and priority based approaches.
- Campaign reporting – Calendly can track the campaigns that give you the most appointments. Add the necessary parameters and Calendly will map appointments with sources and campaigns. On the main dashboard, you can use these as filters and get appointments by source and campaign.
What are the niche features in Calendly?
- Collective events – When more than one host has to meet with the guest – a many-to-one meeting – you use a collective event. Calendly will show only those slots to the guest when all hosts are available. Examples of Collective events are when sales person and sales manager has to meet the customer or when the recruiter and the hiring manager has to meet the candidate.
- Calendly for Outlook – Similar to Chrome and Firefox plugins, this allows you to send a meeting link or copy-paste time slots to your email.
- Calendly click – This is a desktop version of other plug-ins. You can check your schedule, copy-paste your meeting links from this to your email. It may not be a necessary feature if you are using the Chrome or Firefox plugin.
Calendly has APIs to extend the functionality.
- Pulling booking links – Using this, you can pull booking links of event types that are ideal for a new prospect or situation.
- Embedding Calendly’s booking flow – You can match Calendly’s look and feel with the website using the embed code.
- Real-time booked events sync – Booking information will be available for the developers to map it with a CRM, Email marketing, or any other necessary tool.
- Reporting on team activity – Get information on the number of events booked with a particular team member. Gauge the efficiency and productivity of the team.
- User account administration – useful when Calendly has an org-wide implementation and the org admin has to invite new users to Calendly. You can do this within the admin app. The API allows the admin to trigger invite emails from their app than from Calendly.
Ease of use
Calendly scores very high on the UI and UX. They have done a good job of keeping the most wanted features at prominent places. Also, the UI is neat. No distracting colors and enough breathing space. Even the settings that are usually found one of two levels deep are accessible through tabs.
Help and Support
Calendly’s help documentation and community are up to date and active. You can google your questions about Calendly and one of the articles in the community will show up.
Help documentations have covered every feature and most of the pages have videos. There is a separate section for video tutorials.
The community has managers and polls for new feature requests. Community managers also answer the questions and respond to feature requests.
During my evaluation of Calendly, I had to contact the support team about SMS reminders. I did get a reply. In the online reviews, I saw customers complaining about the delay in email support.The resources library includes blogs and guides that cover best practices. They have also included an API reference guide and developer tools in the resources section.
I did not come across any bugs when I used the product.
Calendly‘s pricing model
Calendly charges $8 for Basic and $10 for Premium per user per month when billed annually. If you have more than 5 members in your team, and has a tight budget for a scheduling tool, Calendly can be expensive.
Calendly is aiming to be the part of a sales or a recruitment cycle of large organizations which use CRMs, marketing automation tools. In that case, the scheduling tool is part of the sales budget. However, if you are running a service business where scheduling is at the center of your business, this might be a major cost.
Total cost of ownership
The total cost is the subscription costs of Calendly and the integrated apps that you use with it. You can also factor in costs for Zapier, IFTTT or Zoho Flow as you might need to integrate some apps through them.
How it compares to the segment leader
Calendly is the segment leader. Here are the popular Calendly alternatives.
Summary of other Calendly reviews
Calendly supports users by email and they want call support also. There are unmet requirements like recurring meetings, more customization of customer booking page, a built-in calendar and admin controls.
Calendly scores well on all counts as a scheduling platform. Go for Calendly if you find it ideal for you in the free trial.
Long term review
Often, you will find that the product that you started using with full conviction is not the one you need now, after a few years. The reasons could be that it is not able to scale, or the total cost of ownership goes enormous, the support is bad, there are no updates.
Our long term review is a way to observe how a product and the company behind it behaved in the last one year. This is an important read if you are buying the product for a longer term. Read our long term review about Calendly.