Pat Shanahan, CEO, DaySmart
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Pat Shanahan, CEO, DaySmart

This time of year, salons normally find themselves bracing for the summer slowdown. After getting their spring touchups, clients head out of town on vacation, and even those staying in the area opt for outdoor activities over sitting in the salon chair.

Fortunately for your business, this year is shaping up to be different. Months of at-home treatments and haircuts by roommates have individuals racing to the salon before stepping back into their social lives. But as clients flock to their favorite stylists, it begs the question: is your salon ready for the influx of appointments?

By following these four steps, you can prepare for the summer surge before it reaches a boiling point, delivering a positive experience for both clients and employees throughout.

1. Make the most of stylists’ schedules with online booking

Physical appointment books might cut it when business is slow and steady, but the rush of incoming clients is bound to get complicated if stylists have to shuffle through handwritten notes and paper calendar pages to make appointments. Static digital schedules like Google Calendar aren’t much better, as these still make it easy for users to accidentally double book or schedule out the wrong amount of time for a service.

By moving booking online, you save your employees from these headaches and more. Stylists can define their availability in the platform, which then ensures appointments stay organized without overlapping. Plus, you can reserve time for breaks and salon cleanings between appointments to ensure that both stylists and the space are operating to their full potential.

If you adopt a digital appointment book that also grants client access, you and your stylists won’t have to stand by the phone or constantly check email to field appointment requests. As a result, you’ll have more time to spend with clients and create a memorable experience. Plus, an online schedule enables clients to schedule appointments 24/7—meaning you can lock in business even outside of regular hours.

2. Eliminate no-shows with automatic appointment reminders

No matter how excited clients were when they first booked their appointment, people can forget they’re due at the salon as summer schedules become hectic. You already know the importance of appointment reminders for preventing no-shows, but manually notifying clients one by one can create hours of extra work for salon employees—time that could be better spent on other appointments or enjoying the summer sun themselves.

Cut down on the tediousness by setting up automatic appointment reminders. These alerts will remind clients of the details of their booking ahead of time, along with any information relevant to their service like preparation instructions or forms they need to complete (e.g., a COVID-19 health evaluation or a record of their treatment history). This way, clients not only make it to their appointment, but your stylists are poised to deliver more informed services.  

3. Automate inventory management to maximize the value of each transaction

Personalized treatment and care recommendations are a great way to increase the value of service you provide clients once they’re back through your doors. However, if you don’t have the inventory available to back those recommendations, you’re essentially sending clients to purchase from a competitor. Unfortunately, using inventory logs that need to be updated by hand every time a purchase is made means stylists might not notice a product shortage until it’s too late.

Become clients’ one-stop product shop by digitizing inventory management. With a system that connects to your POS, inventory will update automatically with every transaction. To stay ahead of product shortages, consider a program that features a sales dashboard so you can see which products are particularly popular with clients and invest accordingly. Likewise, you’ll be able to identify any products that are selling slowly and warrant a sale to keep inventory moving.

4. Save capital by streamlining payments processing

It goes without saying that you want to keep as much of your profits as possible, but if you’re relying on a third-party credit card processor to handle payments, it’s likely you’re losing hard-earned dollars through the company’s expensive fees. That means less money to put back into your salon and stylists’ paychecks—which, after a year of stalled business, is more valuable than ever.

Don’t let the oncoming boom in business go to waste. With an integrated payments processor—which tends to feature smaller processing fees—you can make sure you and your stylists maintain as much of the incoming capital as possible. Additionally, because an integrated payment processor links to other operation systems like your POS, inventory and payroll, employees don’t have to manually consolidate transactions across platforms because the processor does so automatically. This eliminates the chance of clerical errors being made as well as frees employees up to deliver more value-adding work.

More than protecting the value of a transaction, an integrated credit care processor also increases it. Many processors encourage clients to tip during checkout, either with a precalculated value or a suggested percentage that they can add to the cost of their service. Putting the tipping prompt right in front of clients—instead of asking them to hunt down cash or open up Venmo—increases the chances of them tipping, making sure you and your staff get compensated for your service.

Business is about to heat up this summer, so take the time today to prepare your salon. With the right tools and techniques, you’ll arm your stylists to deliver an optimal experience no matter how many clients walk through your doors.

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