In a recent poll asking clients what they hate most about salons, the number one answer was “Difficulty Scheduling Appointments.” Depending on several factors, salons have different methods for scheduling. Some times the techs are independent and have to answer the phone between clients, or there may be a paid receptionist on staff. Regardless of your current system, online scheduling should be made available to your clients.
Problems with receptionists:
- They can “play favorites” and fill another techs schedule ahead of yours.
- They can be misinformed and make mistakes. This used to happen all the time at my previous employer. Nothing makes clients more angry, then coming in for their appointment on the wrong day or in some cases can’t be seen because the pedicure thrones were overbooked.
- They can be unprofessional. As a business owner, I’ve caught employees eating at the front desk and ignoring clients while talking to each other.
- They can miss calls and fail to check the voicemail in order to return calls.
Problems with self scheduling:
- Errors can occur the same as with a paid receptionist.
- If you’re working solo you will miss a TON of calls. Most of the time, clients won’t bother leaving a message and simply move on to calling the next salon on their google search list.
Online scheduling solves problems:
- Clients want to be able to schedule anytime day or night.
- They can have their calendars open and find dates much easier and faster than going back and forth over the phone.
- Since they schedule it themselves, the accuracy is nearly flawless. If there’s a mistake, the clients realize it’s their own fault and don’t become angry at the salon.
- This is the preferred method for men and women alike. I’ve had several men tell me they love the privacy of online scheduling opposed to risking the embarrassment of scheduling a laser hair removal back treatment over the phone.
Tips for online scheduling:
- Set up client reminder emails and optional texts.
- Include options for clients to prepay that way they are more likely to show up to the appointment.
- Consider setting up automatic credit card collection in case of “no shows.”
- Use it to collect client emails, birthdates, and other valuable marketing information.
- I personally recommend Bookeo which for me was easy to use and integrate into my website.
- Include a message on voicemail directing them to schedule online in case of any missed calls.
- Make sure it’s compatible with cell phones and tablets