A staple accessory at any front desk is the phone. Whether it is glued to the ear of your bubbly front desk coordinator or ringing off the hook, it is a vital line of communication between you and your clients. But it could be damaging the client experience. That may seem counterintuitive when the phone is there to make life easy for clients, but think about the last time you were checking out at your favorite fashion boutique only to have to wait while the clerk grabbed the phone. Any delay in the check-out process or distraction from the client standing at your front desk can undermine the whole salon experience. Pretty soon rebookings aren’t happening, no one is telling departing clients to ‘like’ you on Facebook, retail is skipped over and your client is simply pushed out the door so the front desk team has one less thing to worry about.
Reducing the amount of time on the phone is crucial to dedicating more of it to clients in the salon, to maximize the opportunity to educate them on homecare and sell retail products and future appointments. One quick and easy way to reduce this administrative time is to use mobile communication technologies to free up your front desk team.
One proven mobile service you can offer is text message confirmations.If you have a team of five, who each see an average of six clients a day, that’s a total of 30 confirmations that need to be done each day. If you manage to keep these calls to just two minutes, that’s still an hour on the phone. Automated confirmations have been shown to get greater response rates than those time-consuming calls. And since this is not one of your front desk team’s favorite tasks, you’ll be a hero all around when you eliminate it.
Another way of freeing up time for your staff is using tablets at the chair to rebook appointments, or even training your stylists to help their clients rebook appointments online. Pushing your clients to use online booking doesn’t take away from the personal service; it provides a convenient alternative to clients who want to book online when they want. You’ll still get clients who prefer to call in, but for every client you can get to book online for a regular, standard appointment, you’ll be reducing your inbound call volume by five to 10 minutes. What could you sell in five to 10 minutes to a client browsing your retail shelves?
Offering convenient mobile and remote communication services to your clients will help your clients communicate with you when they want to and give you a professional edge against competition. But, that’s not all you can do to help your front desk dedicate more personal time to service. You can also extend the convenience to your employees by giving them access to their schedules away from the salon. They can see if someone rescheduled their morning appointment, giving them time to fill the slot. No more panicked calls in the mornings or wondering what their schedule will be like. Mobile technology can also allow members of your team to react instantly when last-minute opportunities present themselves in the grocery line, at the gym, out with friends or whenever they may bump into clients. They can simply log in, check their schedule and offer up the free times there and then to the client.
Mobile and online technologies are about communicating with clients in a way that is convenient for the client and beneficial for the salon or spa. By using new ways of interacting via mobile technologies, you can redirect your team’s attention to the clients in the salon who want to spend money, rather than to the phone or front desk computers.
Paul Tate is CEOof Shortcuts Smarter Business Technology, which provides intuitive online and offline support to salons and spas across the world, offering solutions in nine languages to more than 12,000 clients in 46 countries.