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Management Practices

Ka-ching! Online Concierge Services

Stacey Soble | July 10, 2011 | 1:35 PM
The New Ka-ching

When even the most loyal of clients are stretching appointments, the sound of new business is the most sweet. For a growing number of salons and spas in New York, that sound comes in the form of an automated call—a message confirming the booking of a client through Lifebooker.com, a start-up company that incorporates Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology from Angel.com.

Lifebooker.com is a personal online concierge where a consumer can search, browse and book appointments at top health and beauty spots in her city. While the company currently serves the New York market, it plans on adding additional cities and services later this year.

“For salons, this provides a low-cost method for filling up open appointments, expanding business for new staff members and gaining exposure to new clients,” says founder Dana Reichman. “It works very much like the travel sites Orbitz or Expedia, but it is targeted at the salon and spa market.”

Lifebooker.com required an outbound calling application to book appointments in real time and found success with Angel.com’s reliable and scalable approach. Every time a client books a new appointment, an automated call goes out to the service provider, prompting the salon or spa to confirm the appointment online. Between Lifebooker.com’s 150 affiliated salons and spas and more than 8,000 customers, Angel.com handles thousands of automated calls per month.

“When a salon decides to join Lifebooker.com, it’s completely free to establish a profile. You can choose to enter all open appointments or simply feature specific services or service providers. It’s no-risk advertising,” says Reichman. “When a customer books and honors an appointment booked through Lifebooker.com, the salon remits 15 percent of the cost of the booked service to the site. The fee only applies to the cost of the booked service, not additional services or products purchased at the salon. That’s a pretty low cost for a new client.”
    

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