Thanks to the rapid advancement of business software solutions over the last several years, prices have dropped drastically, meaning automation tools are no longer solely in the domain of corporations with massive teams and deep pockets. This is fantastic news for salon operators because implementing the right automated solutions can have a huge impact, not only in cutting costs, but also in increasing revenue by booking more new clients, improving client retention, and reducing no-shows. Here are four automated solutions salon owners can implement right now to see amazing results.
1. Offer Online Appointment Booking
People have come to expect the modern convenience of being able to do nearly everything online or, better yet, right from their mobile phones. Booking a hair or nail appointment is no exception. For this reason, it’s crucial to make sure you have online booking capabilities from your website, as well as your Facebook and Instagram business pages.
There are numerous options available for adding online booking, including dedicated salon management software, appointment-booking applications provided by website providers, and even Facebook’s free appointment feature. Going with salon management software is often the best route, as the right software can also enable you to incorporate the other solutions on this list. Whichever online booking solution you choose, you should see a boost in the number of appointments, as well as a reduction in the amount of staff time spent on the phone manually taking calls to book appointments with clients.
2. Incorporate Text Messaging and Mobile Chat Capabilities
Text messaging is increasingly becoming a way of life for people. It’s how we communicate with our friends and families, it’s how we conduct business, and it’s becoming the preferred mode of communication when people book services, with 71% of millenials indicating they prefer the ability to book appointments from their mobile phone, according to a Salesforce and Harris Poll survey. As a salon operator or technician, in theory you could add all your client contacts to your personal mobile phone and write text messages manually, but in reality, it would eat up hours of your time on a daily basis.
Thankfully, the right salon management software can automate most of the time-consuming work for you. For example, you can create automatic text message confirmations when someone books an appointment, as well as send automatic reminders the day of their appointment. On top of being a desirable convenience for your customers, automated reminders drastically reduce no-shows, meaning less lost time and money.
Beyond automatic confirmations and reminders, you can also enable your clients to text you directly to book a new appointment, change an appointment, or simply ask a question. The beauty of doing this via a software platform is that all the incoming messages are funneled directly into your salon dashboard, meaning you can quickly write back to any of your clients from the convenience of a computer while simultaneously accessing their client profile and appointment history. It’s not only a huge time-saver, but also a great way to eliminate mistakes such as double-bookings and scheduling clients for the wrong services.
3. Integrate a POS System with Your Appointment Software
The checkout process is the last and, arguably, the most important interaction you have with a client following their appointment, since it quite literally is where you collect your revenue. Thanks to modern point-of-sale (POS) integrations, you can now speed up the checkout process by automatically ringing up the client with the correct amount for the services you provided. That’s not all, though. You can also turn the checkout process into a vehicle for making sure clients keep coming back.
Most notably, you can book the client’s next appointment right from your POS system before they walk out the door, ensuring a repeat visit and automatically adding the new appointment to the calendar within your salon management software. Having an integrated POS also lets you seamlessly collect invaluable customer transaction data so you have the information you need to make informed decisions about rates, services, and technician schedules, and even automate your marketing efforts.
4. Incorporate Digital Marketing and Loyalty
Digital marketing and loyalty programs allow you to automate much of your marketing efforts, reducing the amount of time it takes to send campaigns and encourage repeat visits. When set up correctly, these digital programs work in synchronization with the client list in your salon management software. This enables you to quickly send emails and deals to different segments of your client base without having to manually create email lists or import cumbersome CSV files into separate email software.
Adding the digital loyalty component enhances these capabilities. As with a traditional loyalty program, you are able to incentivize repeat visits from your clients by offering them rewards like discounts on your services or free swag. However, a digital loyalty program has the added benefit of automatically tracking how often your clients are returning for appointments. This, in turn, enables automated marketing campaigns for elapsed customers who have not visited in a while and often need a special discount or deal to get them back in the door.
Put all these automated tools together, and your salon will see huge benefits: more new customers booking appointments, less administrative time spent taking phone appointments, fewer double bookings, fewer no-shows, and more repeat visits.
RJ Horsley Bio
RJ Horsley is the President of SpotOn Transact, LLC, a cutting-edge payments and software company redefining the merchant services industry by integrating multi-channel payment capabilities with software solutions for companies to better run and grow their business. Under Horsley’s leadership, SpotOn is rapidly growing their team, which includes a national outside sales force along with internal employees at SpotOn’s San Francisco headquarters and offices in Chicago and Detroit. By creating a dynamic workplace that effectively engages employees, SpotOn has fostered an environment that encourages innovation and flexibility while offering unparalleled support to their business clients.