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Let’s face it, we live in an era of instant gratification. Thanks to apps like Uber and OpenTable, consumers everywhere now expect not only to find businesses online but also to book services at those businesses at any time of the day or night. And salons are not exempt from this seismic shift in consumer behavior.
According to recent studies, over 60% of consumers want online booking from their local businesses, and a third have come to expect it. Further, a full 25% of millennials indicate that they will only go to businesses where they can book online. Allowing customers to book online has indeed become a necessary convenience to reach more clients, but the benefits extend beyond your customers to you and your staff as well as we’ll explain in a moment.
When it comes to booking appointments, your clients want ease and convenience. They’ve got one minute between meetings to find a time that works, or they just put the kids to bed at 8pm and are now able to take care of a few personal needs. Either way, you want to provide a booking experience that signals to your clients that your salon is easy to work with, cares about their time, and is ready for their business. That’s a strong message to send to prospective clients -- one that will help you grow your business.
Enabling online booking doesn’t just mean clients can book you on your own website. Today, most clients will find you on Google, Bing, Facebook, or Yelp. A product called MyTime, which is our recommended software scheduling product, has developed exclusive partnerships with these companies so that clients can book you from search results pages or the Facebook mobile app. Their data shows that salons are getting 20% or more of their bookings through the booking integrations with the search engines, social networks, and review sites. By enabling online booking for your business at as many places as possible, you maximize the chance that a website visitor will turn into a paying client.
Clients also don’t want to wait to book an appointment just because your business is closed. They’re connected all the time through laptops, smartphones, or tablets, and they’ve come to expect to be able to do everything regardless of time of day or day of week. MyTime’s online booking data indicates that 42% of online bookings happen outside business hours, and a whopping 65% of online bookings are made on a mobile device. By ensuring that online booking for your business is available 24/7 and that the booking experience is mobile-optimized, you’ll be giving clients a great first experience, and we all know how important first impressions are in this industry.
Scheduling clients can be a headache for stylists, even with a rock-star receptionist handling most of the details. Online booking takes care of a lot of the operational pieces, allowing your whole team to focus on delivering a better client experience.
With online booking, clients provide their correct name and contact info, specify which services they want, and can even prepay for the appointment (or at least put down a credit card to discourage no shows) if that makes sense for your salon. You can include instructions during the booking process so clients know what to expect and can prepare accordingly for a specific service. As a result, both clients and stylists are ready to go when the client steps into the salon.
Online booking can also help stylists manage complex schedules. Smart scheduling can identify when split-time bookings make sense, enabling stylists to squeeze in other clients while their color appointment is processing.
Getting accurate contact info also allows automatic reminder emails and text messages, which have been shown to reduce no-shows by 50% or more. For a busy salon, this can result in hundreds if not thousands of dollars per month in added revenue. And after the appointment is over, it is easier than ever to thank clients for their business and encourage them to come back - or leave a nice review online. The result is more revenue for your stylists, fewer mistakes, and a better online reputation for your salon.
Online booking is one of those rare win-win-win scenarios for your salon. Clients love it for the convenience, staff love it because it lets them focus on clients and build loyalty, and owners love it because it increases revenue.
Sam Villa is excited to partner with MyTime as the preferred scheduling, marketing, and point of sale solution for Sam Villa clients. Learn more at www.mytime.com/samvilla.