To tell it sweet and short
Vcita is a niche product. Rather than paying monthly subscriptions for multiple products to run your appointment based business, you can buy Vcita. It has most modules that a small business that has grown from being a one-man show. The app has modules to manage your clients, their payments, marketing, appointment scheduling, and an inbox.
Instead of keeping all these in multiple apps and connecting them together with Zapier, webhooks, or APIs – where you spend additional money and effort – you can use Vcita. Vcita is niche because it is a product that is best for a certain stage of your business growth. Its usefulness is determined by how long you do not outgrow that stage.
Vcita review: Who is it ideal for?
Ideal for small businesses in the service industry. Victa sees the business as a whole while many other apps in the appointment scheduling space tries to address one of the many pains: appointment scheduling. If you have outgrown paper or excel sheets to manage your appointments and you anticipate that you will need more software to manage clients, marketing, invoicing, etc, you can consider Vcita as an option.
Vcita is ideal when you want to enjoy the convenience that multiple apps provides but are ready to forgo the flexibility that standalone apps provides.
Who will find it limiting?
Growing businesses whose needs are changing every year. If you are growing quickly, you will outgrow Vcita. The various modules that you enjoy may not be sufficient to manage the growth. You will need more features, customization, and integrations. It might appear at some point in your growth that you want to move to a full fledged CRM like Salesforce or a full business suite like Zoho One.
- No multi-location: Vcita did not have multi-location feature that is common among larger appointment scheduling apps. Multi-location feature is useful for businesses with multiple branches, with each having their own staff and calendars which are different from the other. Businesses can have a common dashboard and reports, and the business owner can manage the entire business from one account.
- No rosters: Vcita prices businesses for user slabs. There are pricing plans for up to 20 users and above. However Vcita doesn’t have a staff roster which would have made it easier to manage multi-staff businesses.
- No Booking restrictions: You can set appointments by approval but beyond that there are not many ways to restrict bookings. You cannot set a limit to the max appointments per staff per day/ max appointments for the business per month/blacklist a few clients who are no-shows.
- No Multiple bookings: This is a major drawback that you cannot book more than one slot in a session, or book for more than one service at a time. If you do recurring appointments where clients have to meet you for more than one time, using Vcita will not make it easy for clients.
What is their business model
Vcita is focused on its target audience and you will see them sponsoring events and takshows for SMBS. Also, they establish partnerships with ISVs and other app companies that target the SMB space. Apart from that they also generate leads with digital ads.
Viability of the company
Vcita claims that they have more than 100,000 paying customers and every month nearly 20,000 new leads take the free trial. They have been around for 10 years and have acquired a few companies. The received $15million in funding a few years back. Additionally, they’ve been partnering with other apps that provide assistance to SMBs which will increase their reach as well.
Vcita review: How do they fare on the basic features of a scheduler?
- Calendar sync: Vcita syncs one-way with Google, ICloud, Outlook web app, O365, Exchange, Yahoo, and other calendars. The app checks your calendar for availability and opens up only those slots for appointments. However, it willl not automatically add new appointments to your calendars. You have to manually add the events from the appointment confirmation email. Vcita suggests a way to add them automatically to Google calendar but there are apps that do it nice and easy.
- Appointment types:
- One-on-One: These meetings can be face-to-face, online, or via a phone call. If it is an online meeting, you can use Zoom. For a phone call, you can ask the customer for their number on the booking form or share your number during the booking process.
- Recurring group – drop in: you can set up meetings where more than one person can join in, for ex: a class, a seminar, etc. When compared to other appointment scheduling apps, setting up recurring group appointments is a two-step process in Vcita. You set up the service first, and then you have to set up the availability on the calendar.
- Recurring group – series: Though you can set up a recurring group event that is bookable as a whole, this cannot be booked online by the clients. You’ve to do it on behalf of the clients.
- Invitation only event: Since group events are likely closed events with existing clients, there is an option to set them as invite-only events and hide them from the booking page.
- For one-on-one, you can either follow the regular business working hours or set up a separate availability for that service. This availability can be edited for week days and custom availability can be set up for specific dates.
- For group bookings, you create the service and have to mark its availability and recurrence in the calendar. The availability could be as simple as recurring daily/weekly/monthly or bit complex as repeat every 2 days/ every 2 weeks/ every 3rd month.
- Sharing: Vcita has multiple ways for you to share your availability with the public. You can share the booking page, embed it on your website. It can be a pop up widget, a sidebar, button, or a link.
- Online Meeting: Vcita is integrated with Zoom. You can have your one-on-one meetings on Zoom if you opted for Online Meeting.
Vcita review: What are the differentiating features
- Client portal: This is one of the best features of Vcita. Clients can manage their entire activity within the portal. The portal aesthetics is good, and the admin can customize it. When a new customers books an appointment, a portal log in will be created for them. They can log in to it with a log in code. The portal gives a personalized feeling to the customer. Though there are other apps that give client log in, Vcita’s portal is the best among appointment scheduling apps we reviewed.
- Direct links: A link to the booking page is common, but in Vcita you can create links for clients to pay, contact, or share a document. You can create links for any of the client portal actions in this way.
- CTA embed options: You can add CTAs to your website as a link, a button, a sidebar, or do an inline embed. The CTAs can be to schedule an appointment, visit the client portal, or one of the other options that are allowed.
- Integration with form builder (Powr): Vcita brings flexibility in intake forms by integrating with Powr. You can collect customer info using one of the forms generated with Powr. This opens up the possibilities of intake forms and you won’t be restricted to the intake forms available only in Vcita.
- Document management: Businesses can map documents to clients. These documents could be, for ex., their past appointment details, or their allergy details, or their prescriptions. It could even be a sketch from the customer that shows their expectation of a design project. Document management is a unique addition. You can even send an email to the customer requesting for a document directly from the product UI.
- Packages and Coupons: These features help with retaining customers and building loyalty.
- Products: Though it is not possible for clients to buy your products online, you can sell them to clients offline.
- Previews: This is a unique feature in Vcita: they allow you to see a preview of almost every set up, which is especially useful when we set up some client facing page or form. It is good to preview before we expose it to clients.
Vcita review: What are the niche features
- CRM: Though VCita or its client module is not a full-fledged CRM, its client module is good for anybody escaping excel sheets or no CRM. The client cards collect client requirements, their contact details, keep the conversations, payments, appointments and other things at one place. You get all the client activity at one place. Also, you can initiate new client actions from there, like scheduling an appointment, sending request for a document, etc.
- Billing and invoicing: The module makes it possible for service-driven businesses to send estimates, generate invoices, and request payment by sending a link. If you integrate with payment gateways and terminals (virtual), you can even charge the client for a in-person service.
- Inbox: You can have a conversation with the client from the inbox. Even if you send a campaign, you will see that conversation in the inbox. This feature ensures that you are never in the dark about the last engagement with the client: the context is always there in the inbox.
- Marketing: Vcita has automated emailers and email campaigns. With automated emails, you can set up the triggers and timings for the emails to go. For ex, you could send a thank you email automatically for when a client gives you 5 stars rating.
- Email campaigns/ Announcements are mass mailers, where you can send mails to a bunch of customers asking them to book ahead their holiday season treatments at an early-bird pricing.
- The good thing about email marketing in Vcita is that they have many templates with which you can get started quickly, and if you need to edit to add some of your personality, you can do that too.
- Reserve with Google allows people using Google Search, Maps, or the Reserve with Google website to make bookings/appointments/reservations with local businesses. Google offers a UI interface on the search result for the availability that you set on Vcita. The customer who searches for the best salon can book an appointment right from the search result page without visiting your website.
Vcita review: Mobile apps
Yes, Vcita has both Android and iOS apps for the business. We evaluated the Android app which was a faithful replication of the web app. The app looks good, and is easy to work with. It also has the essential information displayed well.You can switch between the various modules by swiping and get a quick glance of everything.
Vcita has extensive support for developers and their partners. They offer webhooks, APIs, allow CSS customization, partner APIs.
Ease of use
Vcita is a bigger app compared to other scheduling apps because they have additional modules that make them the small business suite that they are. However, the additional modules have not made them bulkier, they are nimble and has a pleasing user interface.
The UI is modern and easy on the eyes and mind. We found that things are a bit different here: for ex. The services tab was not on the left navigation pane. It would have been good to have it within immediate reach as other apps do.
Vcita review: Booking experience for customer
On Vcita, customers can book an appointment with you through the booking page or via a client portal. Vcita offers a good-looking booking page by default even adding sample description and images (which you can change) The booking flow is smooth and professional.
You can choose between two booking flows
- Service – Staff
- Staff – Service
Customers have access to the client portal once they make their first appointment. You can send them an invite if they haven’t joined the portal themselves. The portal offers a personalized experience. Vcita’s portal is the best that we have seen among appointment scheduling apps. Clients can manage their appointments, payments, documents, and see their messages.
Help and Support
The help documentation is clean and thorough. The search returns relevant results, there are clear steps. Also, the pages consider the context of the feature or the query and try to answer them accordingly.
I had to email the support team twice. We got the replies within a day.
During our evaluation of the app, we did not come across any bugs.
Vcita review: Pricing model
Vcita’s pricing model is based on user slabs. As the number of users increases, the per user pricing comes down drastically because you move up the slabs. For ex. The Business plan, which is at $45 for one user climbs to$65 for 2-4 users, to $117 for 5-10 users, and $196 for 11-20 users.
In the higher plans, you have more marketing features and integrations. Though Vcita tries to charge the customer based on their size, measured by the number of users, there are not enough staff management features.
Vcita has a ‘Only Scheduling’ plan which is interesting. This is at $12 per user per month. It offers the essentials of a scheduling app while the higher pricing plans have client management capabilities.
Total cost of ownership: The TCO will depend on the subscription plan you choose, the integrations you need (Zapier), and the SMS credits you need. The SMS plan pricing is different for US and the rest of the world.
Vcita review: What will you get for FREE, for $10, for $50?
|Billing and Invoicing||Yes||Yes|
|Online scheduling and payments||Yes||Yes|
|Online lead capturing widget||Yes||Yes|
|Send & customize automated campaigns||No||No|
|Reserve with Google integration||Yes||Yes|
|Email & SMS marketing campaigns||No||Yes|
|Remove “Powered by vcita” from online assets||No||Yes|
|SMS notifications & reminders||No||Yes|
|Monthly SMS credit – inside US **||100||250|
|Monthly SMS credit – outside US **||20||50|
|Customize email templates & notification schemes||No||No|
|HIPAA Compliant + BAA||No||Yes|
Vcita review: When pitted against the segment leader – comparison page and table
Vcita belongs to multiple segments because it is a business management suite and therefore cannot be compared against Calendly or Acuity. The closest match to Vcita as a scheduling tool is Acuity. Here is a comparison of Acuity and Vcita.
Summary of other reviews
Customers appreciate that Vcita is like a one-shop shop for most needs. They do not need to pay for or integrate multiple tools to manage their business. Some customers have complained about the delay in support replies. There are concerns about group bookings when more than one slots have to be booked at once.
Vcita is a good scheduling tool if you want to do more than collecting appointments. There are better scheduling tools but if you want a business management platform with scheduling built-in, Vcita is an option.
Often, you will find that the product that you started using a few years ago with full conviction is not the one you needed. The reasons could be many: the product is not able to scale; the total cost of ownership goes higher; the support is bad,there are no useful updates.
Our long term review is a way to observe how a product performed in the last year. This is an important read if you are buying the product for a longer term. Read our long term review about Vcita.