Even in this climate of constant change and innovation, there are two things we know about today’s consumers: they want real-time information, and they’re relying more and more on their phones. Additionally, a segment of the market does not plan ahead.
Jerry Nettuno, founder of Schedulicity.
“Always try to make it easier to let guests do business with you,” advises Group 3 Marketing’s Bart Foreman. “There’s someone out in your community right now who needs a service. You have open chairs.” The idea is to leverage technology to connect those dots. Foreman’s solution is a relatively simple web-based application called FillMyChairs that can complement an online booking system or stand alone:
Your client Susan goes to your website from her phone or computer and clicks on your “Open Appointments” button, which pulls up a screen listing today’s available slots along with the stylist and potential service. Susan proceeds to your online booking section if you offer that, or she calls the salon to book the opening of her choice.
Throughout the day, your front desk people update the page to reflect both cancellations and filled appointments. Before leaving for the night, they make a final update so that clients going online at 2 a.m. will have the information.
One salon currently using the application, Taylor Stevens Salon and Spa in Algonquin, Illinois, reports that clients have bookmarked the salon’s Open Appointments page. Notes Foreman, “When we were testing this, 80 percent of clients told us, ‘I do not want a daily e-mail, but I’d love to know what’s available.’”
That statistic makes sense at Super
Salon, which has developed a phone app for a check-in system aimed at walk-in clients and recently rolled out by Great Clips, with other chains lining up for test marketing:
Susan’s 4 p.m. meeting was canceled, and she could really use a quick trim and highlights. She checks her phone, your website or your Facebook page to see the wait times at all of your locations. After choosing a location, she declines to request a specific stylist and proceeds to screens that ask her to select a service, estimate her arrival time and create a virtual check-in ticket. At the salon meanwhile, Susan’s first name and last initial appear on a “Who’s Next” board so that staff and clients can check the order of the next 10 or so appointments.