Is it time to update your online software for a seamless salon operation? CEO & Co-Founder of Shedul.com William Zequiri looks at how to maximise your efficiency.
When my business partner and I set out to improve the salon booking process five years ago, we learned a staggering fact: 52 percent of salons and spas were still using paper and pen to keep track of their appointments. We’re not talking about complicated digital calendars on out-of-date operating systems, but actual ink hand-written on actual paper – an ad-hoc technique that is impossible to organise, vulnerable to human error, difficult to reproduce (remember copy machines?), and requires a paid professional to answer the phone.
And, look – no judgment if you run one of those salons. Work and life keep us all feeling a little harried, so taking a moment to reassess the way you manage your business may seem like a big task. I want to assure you, however, that this is far from the truth.
Online software to run beauty businesses is easy to adopt, intuitive to use, and if you choose wisely, absolutely free. There’s no reason to pay upfront monthly subscription fees. Powerful platforms on the market provide totally free-of-charge software that boosts your revenues by helping you acquire new clients through an online booking platform, similar to UberEats, Deliveroo, or Booking.com. It’s one of the quickest and simplest ways to maximise your efficiency and grow your business. Plus, clients love it. That’s the good news.
The bad news is, if you’re not already using a good software platform, you’re falling behind, particularly when it comes to attracting customers and managing appointments. As more and more service providers and retailers take their businesses online, customers increasingly expect to be able to locate, compare, and book salon services online in an instant.
Here are four of the biggest benefits to making the switch.
- You’ll fill more chairs
If you’re not fully utilising your appointments schedule, you’re not seeing as many customers as you could. Real-time online scheduling helps you attract more customers and ensures that all of your appointments are up-to-date at every hour of the day. The best business software can send SMS messages and emails to re-engage your customers and reduce no-show rates, completely automatically. Smart software can also improve your occupancy rates, helping you make the most of your time and see the greatest possible revenue.
- There’s no easier way to save money.
Because 40 percent of online bookings are made outside of normal working hours, it can be an enormous hassle to arrange and follow up with requests. Salon software relieves small businesses of having to include a receptionist on the payroll or of paying staff to work overtime to schedule appointments. Clients have the ability to select from all available appointments and to cancel or rebook on their own, allowing your customers to fill in your calendar for you. Even better, businesses that choose to confirm bookings with a credit card can protect themselves against late cancellations or no-shows. (Automated reminders can help with that, too.)
- Customers can book directly
The best platforms aren’t just optimised for smartphones and tablets, but also integrated with social media and online booking apps. Just last year, we launched a consumer marketplace to reach people directly from Google, Facebook, and Instagram—the places you’d search for a spa treatment, for example, or look for inspiration for your next haircut. This also allows salons to target clientele and deliver services tailored to their needs. For small businesses in particular, it’s crucial to catch potential clients not just when they’re looking for a service you offer, but where they’re looking.
- Scheduling is just the beginning.
A good platform will give you the opportunity to stay organised and on top of things beyond day-to-day appointment bookings. For example, you should be able to access each customer’s individual record to see quickly and easily what services they’ve purchased in the past, who they’ve worked with, and any other detailed client information necessary to provide the friendly, tailored services they’ll appreciate. The right software will also help you keep track of your inventory and finances and even double as a point-of-sale system. Above all, it should be intuitive and shouldn’t require any training to use.
If you’re convinced and ready to try software for your salon, you can get started in an instant. Just be on the lookout for products that have your best interests at heart. That includes data regulation compliance and complete data security – wherever you’re located, you and your customers want to know that their data is safe and will never be used without their consent. A secure software platform that keeps things simple and straightforward can do your business a world of good.
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