It will save you time, it will save you hassle, and streamline communication with whoever is involved.
Regardless of what tool you use, use one. The availability of having a page on my business site to point people to when they give you a “lets chat” or “great, I’m interested” or whatever variation of that you get is a huge freedom and nice big step for automated scheduling. I’ve found different solutions work for different websites or presentations, here are my experiences for your gain and reporting.
Tungle.me – Nice desktop integration (iCal/Google), customization, and just bought by RIM. If you want to put it on your website, I found their widget a little unflexible, but at least they have one. Cheap to free.
Bookfresh.com – Very little customization, expensive, but a nice compact box for sidebar’s or website pages. Didn’t want to pay for the calendar integration. They have a different take on scheduling, which allows you to create slots people have to pay for to get, which might work well for hard core consultants. I find it difficult for people to get in the funnel without a previous meeting to actually pay for a meeting though, so it was self defeating.
ScheduleOnce.com – I’ve chosen to use ScheduleOnce because of their deep integration with Google calendar, well laid out appointment slots, and while they don’t have a website embed option, the entire scheduling page they provide fits in an iFrame (website within a website) very well on a full wdith page. I also appreciated their fast support response, and cheap premium plan ($29 for a year). Ultimately, it was because this model fit well on my website, and integrated easily with my iCal (iPhone, etc) while providing an appointment mode for slots.
*Google also offers “appointments” now built into their calendar.
There’s no “ultimate” solution. A scheduling tool needs to apply to your solution to a certain degree, but go get one. You can see how mine looks at my business website here.