It’s a bustling day at the salon as both service providers and clients deal with the new reality imposed by COVID-19 restrictions. As a stylist puts the finishing touches on her client, she whips out her phone, adjusts the client’s ticket to reflect the conditioning treatment the client opted in for, adds in the two products the client requested, and sends the client an email or text with a link to review the transaction details and securely process her payment. The client’s phone pings as she receives the message, and the stylist steps away to package the products from the shelves that are now roped off from clients.
The client reviews her bill, adds in a tip for the stylist and taps the button. Because the client’s credit card information is safely stored in the PCI compliant-system within Meevo 2, she doesn’t have to pull out her credit card, touch any salon equipment or visit the front desk to pay for her services. Once the payment is processed, the client receives a receipt via email with the details of the transaction. Everything is taken care of easily and with minimum contact, and the satisfied client is quickly on her way.
In an ongoing effort to help salons make their operations more streamlined, efficient and client-friendly, Millennium Systems International rolled out its cloud-based Meevo 2 a few years ago with compliant mobile capability, allowing service providers to check out their guests at the chair—from rebooking the client’s next appointment to processing the client’s payment through the service provider’s cell phone or the salon’s iPad.
In recent months though, the Coronavirus pandemic has salon owners and managers studying every salon procedure in the light of social distancing and health and safety standards, and clients are hyper aware of every surface they touch. While salons were shut down, the Meevo 2 product team carefully considered how its technology features could be enhanced to boost the contactless experience in the salon, and the Self-Pay feature was born.
“Our clients really appreciate not having to touch anything but their own mobile phones to process their payments,” says Yukiko Taylor, owner of OlyCurl in Spokane, Washington. “Since we reopened, we ask clients to sanitize their phones when they come in and offer them wipes as part of our new procedures. Clients love the Self-Pay option, but our team also loves not having to touch the credit cards either. Meevo 2 rolled out this feature recently to their subscribers and didn’t charge any additional fees for it, which I thought was genuinely generous.”
Meevo 2’s Self-Pay option removes the need for the client to touch the staff member’s mobile device for chairside checkout, putting the entire checkout process in the client’s hands. Both clients and staff members appreciate the contactless nature of the feature.
At Southern Curl, Inc., in Atlanta, Georgia, Manager Renee Easley says the Self-Pay option also makes it easier for the salon to collect the salon’s required deposit when a client books a service. If a client cancels within 48 hours of the booked time, they are charged the deposit. Easley admits she’ll waive this in cases of true emergency or illness, but that the policy cuts down the number of clients who repeatedly cancel appointments.
Because the credit card information is typically gathered and securely stored in Meevo 2 through integrated payments when clients pay these deposits, most Southern Curl clients already have their cards on file. If they don’t though or they want to change the card on file, they can add easily in a new card.
“Most of our clients are entrepreneurs or professionals like doctors, and they really like the simplicity of the Self-Pay option, as well as the time it saves them during checkout, as well as the contactless nature of the feature,” says Easley, who adds that the Self-Pay is a help to the front desk as well. “With clients checking out in the chair, fewer of them visit the front desk as they leave, which relieves the front desk of some of the burden of sanitizing the desk surfaces between each client.”
Michelle Steimann, who serves as director of facilities of the Ginger Bay Salons and Spas in St. Louis, agrees that Self-Pay through Meevo 2 is a huge win for the salon. “Before Self-Pay, we used the chairside checkout, but a stylist would need to call a front desk attendant over with the salon’s iPad to hand it to the client, then there was always an awkward moment for the guest and the stylist as the client calculated what she wanted to tip,” says Steinmann.
“Sometimes that would present a staffing challenge, if multiple front desk people were running to the clients in the chairs to process payments—now with Self-Pay we can staff fewer people at the front desk, which also helps us with occupancy and social distancing requirements,” Steimann adds.
Ginger Bay also finds the Self-Pay handy for the curbside pickup of product orders they’ve continued since they’ve reopened.
As a manager, Steimann appreciates that the burden of compliance rests with Meevo 2, and not the salon. “It’s much safer for a client to use Self-Pay and enter in their own credit card information, than for them to read us their number over the phone,” Steimann says. “In the system, their information is encrypted so we don’t even see their numbers.
An unexpected benefit of offering clients Self-Pay is that it’s actually driving retail sales up at Ginger Bay. “Because our team is closing the ticket chairside they are actively asking clients about retail instead of relying on the front desk to close the sale,” Steimann says. “A guest is more likely to bite on a suggestive sell from their trusted stylist—clients don’t want to tell them no.”
While Steimann admits there are older clients who still prefer to stop at the front desk to check out, many others are embracing the Self-Pay option. “We’ve offered the feature since the second day it was available,” she says. “Anything that we can do to eliminate congestion at the front desk helps us maintain social distancing expectations, cuts down on extra sanitation steps and helps lesson the burden on the front desk team. But because Self-Pay is so quick, convenient and client-friendly, I predict our clients will be using it long after the need for contactless procedures is so critical.”
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