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How to set up Online Booking

Our Online Booking feature is a user-friendly client scheduling solution that provides your clients with the ability to view your availability and request an appointment.

We have also integrated Availability Scheduling into Online Booking which allows you to set specific times of the day that you want to make available to clients, as well as set specific service codes and enable our Call-to-Book feature. To learn how to set your Availability for Online Booking or for your team, see Managing your Availability.

Note: Online Booking is only available with the Professional Plan. See SimplePractice Plans and Pricing to learn more about our subscription plan options. 

In this guide, we'll cover: 


Turning on the Client Portal

You'll first want to make sure that you have enabled the Client Portal. You can enable the Client Portal by following these steps:

  • Go to My Account > Settings > Client Portal.
  • Make sure the toggle shows a blue ON, as shown below.

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Creating your Client Portal Web Address

To get started with Online Booking, you need to create your Client Portal Web Address, also known as the Client Portal URL. This is the link that clients will click to see your availability and request an appointment. You can post this on your website so that your clients can easily book appointments online. Here's how:

  • Go to My Account > Settings > Client Portal.
  • You’ll see a recommended practice link based on your practice name and available URLs. You can edit to this URL if you'd like, then click Save & Lock.

Important: Once you lock your Client Portal Web Address, you won't be able to make changes to it directly. If you need to change it, you can send our team a Help Request.

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Once the URL is locked, you can take a look at your Client Portal to see what it looks like to your clients.

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Note: It’s best to lock your Client Portal before sending out invites to the Client Portal. You can learn more about sending Client Portal invites here: Inviting your clients to the Client Portal.


Customizing your Client Portal

Practice Name

The header of your Client Portal is pulled from the Practice Name at My Account > Settings > Practice Details. You can customize it to be anything you like.

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Office location

Your office name and address are pulled from the Office Locations entered in your Practice Details.

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Enabling Online Booking for your practice

Now that your Client Portal is built, you're ready to enable Online Booking. Here's how:

  • Go to My Account > Settings > Client Portal.
  • Select Enable Online Booking. This opens more options to customize your Online Booking page. After setting your preferences, click Save Settings.

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Here you’ll be able to determine how Clients can book appointments. 

  • According to Service Duration: This selection has some flexibility to it. Clients will see sessions at the session duration. For example: if the session is 50 minutes and your availability block starts at 10am, they will see 10am, 10:50am, 11:40am, etc. You can set your service codes to have a buffer time to add minutes before or after the session so this will change the overall session duration (ex: If the code is 50 minutes and you set a 10 minute buffer, clients will see session on the hour). 
  • On the hour: Clients will see sessions available only on the full hour. For example if your availability block starts at 11am, they will see 11am, 12pm, 1pm and so on. However if your availability block starts at 11:30am, they will see the first available session at 12pm. 
  • On the half hour: Clients will see sessions available on every half hour. For example if your availability block starts at 9 am, they will see 9am, 9:30am, 10am, 10:30am and so on.
  • On the quarter hour: Clients will see sessions available on every quarter hour. For example if your availability block starts at 12pm, they will see 12pm, 12:15pm, 12:30pm, 12:45pm, 1pm, 1:15pm and so on.

Note: According to Service Duration is best to use when you want to start your availability at the half hour for hour long sessions. It's also a great idea if you have multiple services of different duration length. You can learn how to schedule hour sessions starting on the half hour here: Managing your Availability.

Other options on this page include:  

  • Allowing new clients to book online, selecting if you would like to request a credit card to book, setting how far in advance your clients can book, and setting the time limit for booking appointments online to prompt a client to Call-to-Book.
  • You can allow new clients to book online to make it easier for new clients to see you. When they request an appointment, you’ll still have the option to decline or accept the appointment. Also, you can set which specific services you offer to new clients by customizing your service codes. You can learn more about service codes here: Creating and using service codes and products.

If you would like to request a credit card for Online Booking, select Require credit card for new clients to request appointments. New clients will be prompted to add a credit card. If you haven’t set up your account with Stripe, you’ll be prompted with information about Stripe to setup a new account. You won’t be able to request a credit card without a Stripe account.

Note: You can learn more about Stripe by viewing this guide: Getting started with Online Payments in SimplePractice.

  • You can also limit how far in advance clients can request appointments. The default is set to 3 months, but you can extend that to 6 months or even as little as 1 week out. This means that clients will only be able to book an appointment as far into the future as you have limited.
  • In addition, you can set the time range where clients will need to Call-to-Book. The default is within 24 hours, but you can set this to as little as one hour or as far out as 5 days. You’ll also be able to set service codes to be Call-to-Book always.
  • When you make changes to this page, always make sure to click Save. You can always make changes to the settings above to figure out which settings work best for you.

Designating service codes for Online Booking, allowing new clients to book online, and requiring clients to call to book

With Availability Scheduling, you can determine which services are available for Online Booking. This means your clients will have the ability to choose the specific service code that they need. You can also make appointments available for new clients to book online and require clients to call to request an appointment. Make sure that you have Online Booking enabled for your practice first.

Designating a service code for Online Booking

To get started, you'll need to determine which services you want to make available for Online Booking. You'll be able to decide the times these service codes are available by managing your Availability

  • Go to My Account > Settings > Billing and Services > Services
  • Select a service code
  • Check Available for online booking
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  • Click Save

Allowing new clients to book online

You may not want to make all services available for new clients to book. You can customize which services are available for new clients by following these steps: 

  • Go to My Account > Settings > Billing and Services > Services
  • Select a service code
  • Check Allow for New Clients 
  • Click Save

Requiring clients to call to book 

You may want additional information before allowing clients to request certain services. In this case, you can require that they call to request an appointment: 

  • Go to My Account > Settings > Billing and Services > Services
  • Select a service code
  • Check Require Clients to call to request available appointment
  • Click Save

Setting up existing clients for Online Booking

You'll need to grant your existing clients Client Portal access if you haven't already before they can schedule through your link.

To do this, go to your client's Overview page > Edit details > Client Portal tab and click Send Email.

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  • The welcome email they receive will provide them with a Client Portal link. When your client clicks the link within the email, they will be logged into their Client Portal. You can read more about our Passwordless Login feature here: Passwordless Login.
  • Clients that have already been invited to the Client Portal can use your Client Portal practice link to log in moving forward. You can find this by navigating to My Account > SettingsClient Portal
  • These clients can select I'm an Existing Client and log in using their email.

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Setting up new clients for Online Booking

Option #1: Provide your client with your unique Client Portal Web Address, either by email or by embedding on your website. Here's how:

  • Locate your Client Portal Web Address link by going to My Account > Settings > Client Portal. 
  • Click Copy link to copy the link to your computer's clipboard so you can paste it wherever you need.

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  • After a new client clicks your Client Portal Web Address, they will need to click New Client to request a session.

Option #2: After you speak to a client via phone, you can also quickly enter their basic info and send them the scheduling link.

  • Click +Create > Create Client.

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  • Enter the client's name, email, and any other information you have, then click Create & Continue. An email address is required to be able to send the client a Client Portal invitation email. 

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  • Select the documents you want to share and edit the default welcome email as needed. Click Share & Send Now to send the welcome email. 

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  • Your client will receive an email prompting them to set up their Client Portal. They can log in and then request their first appointment. The new appointment request will show on your Calendar homepage so you can Accept or Deny it. 

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  • Once you have approved your client's appointment request, you will be provided the option to send additional documents and customize the notification email.

Requesting an appointment from the client's end

When your client clicks your Client Portal Web Address link, they will be taken to your Client Portal where they will indicate if they are a new client or an existing client.

  • A new client is one that you have not yet added to your SimplePractice account.
  • An existing client is one you have already added to your SimplePractice account.

New clients

A new client will immediately be presented with the option to schedule a session with you based on your calendar availability

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Once a new client chooses a time, they will be prompted to provide information to complete their request.

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Once they click Request Appointment, they will see a confirmation page that allows them to put the appointment on their calendar and informs them that the therapist is required to confirm the appointment.

You will receive an email alerting you to the appointment request and the request will also appear on your SimplePractice account.


Confirming and declining appointment requests

  • After your client has requested an appointment, the request will appear in your SimplePractice account and you'll also receive an email alert.
  • You will see a list of requests on the left-hand side of your Calendar with the option to accept or decline each request individually.
  • Select Accept or Decline.
  • A new window will appear where you can select documents to share (if accepting) and customize the email sent to the client.

Appointment confirmation and decline emails are pre-populated with a standard message. You can edit these messages individually at the time you accept or decline the appointment. (In the next section, you'll see how you can create a custom message that will pre-populate these emails.)

Once you have selected to decline or accept, the appointment will either be removed or placed on your calendar.


Editing appointment email confirmations/declines

To customize the standard email messages:

  • Go to My Account > Settings > Client Portal.
  • Click the Emails tab at the top of the page.  

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  • Here you can customize the message for each type of email. To offer more personalization, you can use the macros provided in the drop-down menus.

Note: What is a macro? A macro is a placeholder in the body of the email message that will dynamically pull information from your account. For example, you can choose to include the client full name or just your first name based on what you've entered in your Client's Details.

Important: Email is not a secure form of communication and these email messages to clients are not encrypted. We do provide the option to include some patient health information (PHI) like a client's name, address, phone number, and more in these email messages. Please make sure you use this feature appropriately based on your practice's HIPAA security requirements.


Important details to know

  • If your existing client forgets their password, they can always request a new one by clicking Forgot your password? from the scheduling portal homepage.
  • When accepting a client request, you have the option to send the intake documents to the client (even an existing client).
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