For many, the end of summer means getting kids (or themselves) ready to head back to school. Beyond new shoes and school supplies, it often includes a fresh new haircut.
This is great news for salons reopening their doors after the impacts of COVID‐19. Stylists have missed their clients, and too many of them may have attempted kitchen scissor trims. With this influx of appointments, though, a scheduling nightmare may unfold for some salons, especially since it’s been so long since these businesses were tasked with managing busy schedules. Customers in need of services may be forced to head elsewhere if they can’t get an appointment that fits their needs, so the most accommodating salons will be the most successful.
Fortunately, there are tools designed specifically for salons to address their business needs. Ahead of the new school year, salon owners should invest in business software that will streamline scheduling processes so they can spend less time booking and more time styling to deliver superior customer experiences.
Slash Time Spent on the Phone
During this busy season, it can feel like the phone is constantly ringing. And while that’s certainly a positive, it can be difficult to accomplish anything when salon owners are tied to the front desk. Appointment‐based services are reporting an explosion of customers, and a lack of staffing at the same time. Online scheduling tools can address both of these challenges by allowing customers to self‐serve.
Without excessive resources, salons can be ‘open’ 24/7, a necessity since research shows customers are more likely to continue visiting a business if they can book online. Customers can simply visit a salon’s website and conveniently view all available appointments with ease and complete visibility. Once they book, the ideal software will automatically notify the salon so that they can accept or reject the request and follow up with the customer on the status of their appointment.
The most powerful tools are completely customizable to the user, so salons can add their own pictures, videos and graphics to make online booking an extension of the salon experience. Some can even integrate with social media accounts so customers can book appointments right through Instagram. This catches potential clients when they’re inspired and motivated; no waiting (or forgetting) to call during open hours or getting sidelined by a busy day.
Salons that use online booking benefit from less time spent on the phone and more time with customers, which is always crucial, but especially now during this wave of back‐to‐school booking.
Help Clients (and Employees) Manage Summer Schedules
Every stylist has experienced this; they have the whole day planned out and then suddenly a customer is late – or just never arrives. With everyone’s busy end‐of‐summer schedules, salons are bound to run into the dreaded no‐shows. Salon software can help remedy this by automating communications with clients, reminding them of upcoming appointments and asking about any changes or cancellations.
Employees won’t have to spend time cancelling, rescheduling and reminding clients about their appointments. Plus, since it’s automated, salons can be sure no one gets missed. All of the confirmed appointments will show up on stylists’ calendar, so it’s one less thing to worry about. These communications are hassle‐free and can be customized to suit the salon and client. For instance, does a customer prefer text, email or both? What tone should the message be written in and how early should it be sent out? With the right salon software, businesses can optimize these messages for their needs.
Automated reminders won’t just help clients navigate their hectic summer schedules though, they can also help employees manage their days. Stylists can automatically receive notifications when new appointments are scheduled or cancelled so that they are kept up to date on changes as they occur.
Keep Operations Running Smoothly
When schedules fill up, operational details can start to slip through the cracks. With business software, owners can stay on top of the behind‐the‐scenes particulars that keep their salon running. For instance, managing inventory can be exhausting, but software can help streamline the process. At a glance, managers can have full visibility into the products on hand with the information they need on stock count, brand and more to be sure clients aren’t disappointed by unavailable items.
As the labor shortage reaches record highs, owners and managers will need to rely on technology to automate as many tasks as possible. Inventory is just the beginning – employee scheduling can also be a seamless process with salon software. Within minutes, managers can set up schedules that track sick, vacation and personal days so they won’t have to guess which employees are available – which is crucial when staffing is tight and appointments are surging.
Setting Salons Up for Success
Now is the time for salons to put processes in place that set them up for success during the back‐to‐ school rush. With software that is designed with salons in mind, they can easily accommodate the influx of appointments without missing a beat. The key is not to wait until it’s too late – once schedules are already overwhelming, it’s difficult to get ahead. By planning ahead and establishing these practices now, salons can ensure optimal employee and client experiences.
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