Supreme Salon Convenience – Online Booking
Although the benefits of booking online are evident to my clients, many salons remain dedicated to a phone booking system (auto or non) that takes the customer more time, involves more staff members and can unfortunately lead a larger margin of error.
Our clients have evolved, shouldn’t our customer service? I chose function first, so I went to the starting line – bookings. I’ve found that the majority of my clients prefer to use the internet to do their salon appointment bookings versus calling direct and in both cases, I’m linking them into the same efficient system allowing them to reschedule up to the day before (my settings).
I wanted something that allows potential new clients to book a hair consultation for FREE, but also allow them along with my existing clients to book services they are looking for. Using inspiration from the name my parents gave me, I divided that into three categories: Misters, Madams and Color. With an additional Style category for products I sell online (we’ll get to that on a later post).
Salon Benefits of Online booking vs. Offline Booking
There are many benefits to booking online for salons or hairstylists taking bookings, benefits that make the life of both the customer and owner much simpler. Here are some of the most evident advantages of booking appointments online:
A Salon Online Booking System Offers The Utmost Convenience
As a salon owner or an individual stylist, you’d like your potential and existing clients to be happy and making the booking process convenient for them is a perfect start to achieving that goal. When clients can easily make their bookings online, you offer them the SUPREME convenience of booking.
Your salon clients can book a new haircut, style, color or whatever appointment they feel like it, time of day or night doesn’t matter. Anyone can use any device they prefer, as long as they can reach the internet. An added bonus for new clients is they have the option to think about their bookings or if unsure, schedule a hair / color consultation without any pressure.
These are excellent arguments that support an online booking system, top that off with service payments and product sales….well, that’s pretty convenient.
Booking Online Makes Your Salon Always Available
Your salon is now open and available anytime, anywhere. If you choose a salon booking application you will simplify the booking process incredibly while making your location available for booking new business or selling products online 24/7.
You don’t need an 800 number, auto-secretary, extra staff, or packed email boxes that you’re always checking. Plus, no hold times and instant gratification for your clients!
Booking Online: Lower Costs
When offering online booking, you reduce costs for your salon. Booking apps are very affordable now, so the don’t cost a fortune anymore. All you need is a website equipped with scheduling software. It is as simple as that. No need to rob the bank to accept reservations right away!
Booking Online: Increased Profits
By giving your clients the ability to book online, you make your salon available 24/7/365. This equals being able to receive more bookings then you may during your normal service times on the phone.
More bookings translate into more appointments. Besides, less people handling the reservations with reduces your overhead and possible errors. Ultimately this allows you the ability also hire less, but more experienced, better paid staff.
Salon Online Booking Systems Allow You to Measure Results Easier
Offline bookings can be difficult to track and, as a salon, you have no idea who your potential clients may be or how they heard of you. However, online bookings are transparent and allows you to communicate through channels your client provides like email, phone or text.
The online booking system provides you with accurate data as far as client’s appointments – past or future, which you can consequently use to design marketing strategies and loyalty programs tailored to them without being invasive or spammy. (most clients like using those little extras on their services or finding out you have a new product perfect for them)
Salon Online Booking With Social Media
Bookings on social media is easier then ever , which makes social media networks such as your salon’s profile on Google, Facebook, Instagram and more may become your new best friends to help fill some gaps in your calendar.
No matter how you feel about social media, the Masses love social media, and they are more than open to booking on a network that they are more familiar with. This makes social media very useful for sales, booking and communicating with your clients with instant messenger abilities.
The great benefit of integrating booking with your social media page or more importantly your google profile is that you make it easy for your new potential clients to direct family members and friends by searching for you online or their social platforms and instantly book.
Online Booking Equals A Completely Optimized Appointment Schedule
A salon booking system where clients book their appointments online allows you to sync your business, personal or any calendar with accuracy. An online booking system enables you to maintain an accurate calendar almost effortlessly across all your devices or categories.
Either you or your staff can quickly access the system to check when they may have appointments, the type of services they need to provide for each appointment, which clients they’ll be seeing, and what they should prepare for to give their client the service they deserve.
Booking online involves less scheduling-related errors, including over-booking, double-booking, or those mythical lost bookings nobody ever wants to take credit for. With online salon booking, appointments can be quickly updated, moved, or rescheduled by you, staff or the client with everyone getting the same notifications.
An online booking system offers an overall perspective of the appointment calendar for your salon to identify the gaps easily that may require particular attention and could be filled.
The availability and hours of staff can quickly be adjusted depending on the booking volume, you can even set filters or timers to make your reminders and notes top of mind.
Salon Booking Platforms Relieve Your Staff To Do What’s Important
How does a well working salon booking system affect you and your staff members handling customer service? Well, it is evident that updating your salon and website to accept online booking for your clients will now hugely reduce their phone time, playing phone tag with clients and give that pencil at your front desk a break.
On online salon booking system means that you and your salon staff no longer need to spend as many hours over the phone with clients – with most salon programs available now you can provide all the details of an appointment via reminder texts or emails. Also, no time is wasted managing schedules and/or playing phone tag.
Online Booking Eliminates the Bottleneck That Telephone Booking Creates
Put yourself in your client’s shoes and remember how it feels like to wait for your call to be transferred to the right person when you want to book an appointment over the phone or get a question answered. How many times have you given up on the appointment because of the long waiting time?
Your clients go through the same thing if you choose to stick to your traditional system. The bottleneck associated with conventional on the phone is eliminated when you equip your website you make the possibility of booking online available to your new or existing salon clients.
Also, remember that phone booking is only available to clients within a given time interval when clients are at work and usually have less time to call you.
Unless you can afford more staff members to handle several phone lines, basically only one caller at a time can get the help they need, the result is the rest of the clients potential or existing are left on hold. You salon will suffer and you probably have heard a few of your own stories involving a dropped call, didn’t book and or asking for a discount for wasting their time.
Online Booking: Increased Sales and Marketing Synergy
A big problem posed by the traditional over-the-phone booking system is having to refer clients to your website for more information because today most salons put all of the information a client may need to know. If you’re smart about it, why not include software that not only books your client, but can also ask more information if you choose to help market fun gifts for birthdays, electing to join your loyalty program or products just for them. (all updated in one place)
If clients can find everything they need on your website, why not use the site for booking online at a time that is most convenient for them, when they can make an appointment without feeling rushed or pressured or even redirected back to the website.
When you take a client from your website to the phone, you lose those spontaneous bookings because the client may get discouraged and frustrated while waiting on the phone to make an appointment or postponing the reservation for “tomorrow” during office hours.
Make the most of your website’s excellent copy and capitalize on impulse bookings by equipping your website with a salon online booking software.
Booking Online: It’s not the future, it’s now
You are living in the age of the internet, when people no longer use phone books to find a “salon near me.” They use the internet to find everything they need to know quickly online without any additional hassles. As of this moment more are not even bothering to type in a search and just asking their phone or chosen home device to contact the internet, search or go directly to your page. People like the convenience of doing everything online and now speaking to their favorite digital voiced companion.
It would be a huge loss for a salon to not capitalize on the technology offered today. Integrate a booking platform with your product pages on your website or social media pages is a big step, but maybe it should be your first! Your customers are online, so that’s where you need to reach them. Don’t miss out!
Disadvantages of Online Booking Systems
A Salon Online Booking System Comes at A Cost
Nothing comes for free in today’s age. It is a mistake to believe that a free booking system will come with all of the benefits of a paid one. Yes, an online booking platform will cost you but will not cost you a fortune and will undoubtedly be worth the small investment.
Most systems allow you to pay monthly or at a discount for annual. Depending on what salon software / online booking program you choose. You may also consider having a custom-made system that may cost more in the beginning and will also generate maintenance costs for support, spam, anti-virus protection and more.
As an existing salon, new salon or a hair stylist in a suite, you should already be used to the idea of cost, but, you should also be used to identifying a situation where the benefits compensate for the costs.
Any Online Booking System Depends on the Internet
Although it may not seem like a disadvantage, making an online booking depends on having internet access. It is a fact, and there’s no way going around the problem. BUT with internet access available on more and more devices, static or mobile, and with the internet being available in almost every corner of the world, it’s a problem that will soon become a benefit.
Plenty of new salon client prospects that look to the internet to book their appointment. You have plenty of opportunities when looking into technology that no salon should miss out on. Including generating more time with additional revenue, saving time for your staff to perform at their best, and overall less overhead on your salon.