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How Setting Appointments Online Saves Time (and headaches) for You & Your Clients

Sam Villa

Author Sam Villa | Founding Partner of Sam Villa

As any salon owner can tell you, scheduling is a monster. It’s a monster that viciously eats up time, money and sanity. No matter how much you train your receptionist and stay up nights trying to design a more efficient system, scheduling keeps attacking your business. Each time you have a double-booked stylist, a no-show, or play phone tag with a client, you get another grey hair. Stop driving yourself crazy trying to reinvent the wheel. appointment-calendar-photo

Appointment-scheduling software does this insanity-inducing work for you and makes your salon run like a well-moussed machine. I know firsthand. Having smart software juggle your appointments will not only cut down on your stress, it will save you time and money. My only warning: you’ll kick yourself for not getting it sooner.

  • Client Satisfaction Happy clients make for a happy salon owner. Appointment-booking software puts clients in the control seat, allowing them to view openings and book appointments without wasting time on hold while your receptionist checks the books. Many software systems even give clients their own log-in information that stores contact info and a record of services they’ve received in the past. That feature should help you avoid this ubiquitous call: “I want the same stylist I had last time but I don’t remember her name...,um...she had hair and eyes...” If clients can log in and view their history, they can be sure they’ll see their favorite stylist every time. Advanced options also let clients book appointments via your salon’s Facebook page. As a side note, if you aren’t already harnessing the power of social media, you should start now. Connecting with customers where they socialize is super powerful. When you start engaging with clients every day, they’ll be visiting your Facebook page much more often than your website. A “Book Online” button on your profile is a constant reminder to come on in. If your clients are anything like mine, they often don’t think about making an appointment until they get home from work and check out the sorry state of their hair in the mirror. By that time, though, your salon might be closed. Automated appointment-setting lets you keep your front desk open 24/7, allowing clients to book services after business hours. And, just think about the joy of waking up to 5 new appointments that were made last night while you were relaxing on the couch with the new Scandal episode.
  • Business Boom You’d probably invest in online appointment software even if all it did was make you less stressed. Luckily for you, it does much more than that. While you’re are still celebrating the funeral of your messy, busting-at-the-seams appointment book, business starts booming. The first thing you might notice is a decrease in the No-Show, which is the bane of salons everywhere. You’ve booked a full Saturday full of services and even had to turn people away. So, why do you have 3 members of your team sitting in their chairs staring at the door? More than likely, your clients forgot about their appointments. This happens much more often than we’d like to admit (believe me). busy-schedulesWith people’s packed work and play schedules, it’s easy for a salon appointment to get lost in the shuffle, especially when it was set up months ago. Many software programs provide a solution. They automatically shoot out a reminder via text message and e-mail a couple of hours before the appointment. And then, clients can confirm or change the appointment directly from their phone. When it’s this easy, there’s no reason for clients not to show up, or at least let you know while you still have time to fill the slot. Clients are not the only ones who get text and e-mail alerts; stylists are automatically messaged when someone makes, confirms or changes an appointment with them. It’s no longer up to you or your receptionist to call your staff members several times a day. Just like clients, your team can log in at any time to check their updated schedule in real time. The next client crime is one I’ve witnessed many times. A client will book a simple trim, then start begging my stylist to do some quick highlights. If she relents, you earn more and please the client, but it also sets your stylist behind schedule for the rest of the day. Appointment-setting software tempts the client to book other related services beforehand by recommending cluster bookings. And I don’t have to tell you that clients are much more likely to book multiple services if it’s suggested to them. With the technology that’s available these days, there’s no excuse for your phone to go unanswered or for you to waste precious time chasing down clients and manually shuffling appointments. If your salon is still offline, doing everything by hand, you’re losing out to more savvy competitors who can focus on the client and the bottom line. For many overburdened salon owners, this kind of software can significantly improve business and peace of mind. If you’re not convinced, look for a company that offers a free trial. At the very least, use the free trial to give yourself a temporary break from the money-hungry scheduling monster that haunts your dreams.
  • Bio: With over 40 years of experience, Charles Ifergan is an iconic name in the hair-styling industry. He owns 4 Chicago salons and his work has been featured on Oprah and Good Morning America as well as in magazines like Vogue and GQ. Charles attributes his success not only to his styling skills, but to the unique experience he creates in his salons. His clients always feel like VIPs and leave the salon looking like stars. Visit www.charlesifergan.com for more information.