As you know, customers can have many special requests. Particularly in a salon, customers will like to request their favorite stylist. They develop a bond with the person that styles their hair. Your booking system should have a way for you to let it know when each stylist is working so that it can properly schedule their time. Of course, it should also be easy to set hours for the whole shop, which stylists provide which services, which holidays you take off, and a host of other scheduling options so that the online service can truly do that job that your human front desk person does.
With the power of a computer doing your scheduling, you can optimize your time-slots so that you can minimize the time that your employees are standing around with nothing to do. Of course, a customer should also be able to select for themselves which time they’d like their appointment to be. Ideally, the default suggestion in the time selection field will be the time that the computer thinks is best for you, but the customer will be able to change it to fit their needs.
Most booking systems will have their own built-in calenders, but you are likely already using a service like Google Calendar, Ical, or Outlook. You don’t want to have to coordinate two different calendars to schedule your events and you certainly should not have to give up the workflow that is currently working for you. A good system will have two-way integration with the most popular calendars. This will allow the software to update your calendar, and the calendar to update the available slots in the booking system.
You don’t want your customers forgetting their hair appointment. A good online booking system will also offer you a number of ways to remind the customer of their upcoming slot. At the very least you should be able to send them reminders via email and SMS. Some systems may even integrate with social media networks. In addition to appointment reminders, you should also be able to send follow-ups so your customers know that their satisfaction matters to you. Notifications can work to let you know and your employees know that an appointment has been booked as well.
Your customers should not only have the option to pay online but to do so with the payment processor of their choice. Of course, Paypal and Stripe should be considered mandatory options, as they are the most popular choices, but you should also look for a system that allows for other integrations as well. You may find that your favorite customer uses something other than the big two. You may also have your own preferred payment system.
Rewards and discounts are a great way to build customer loyalty and to increase your business. A good booking system will have features that allow you to implement these programs into your business. It should be easy to use and allow you to set up a variety of different rewards and types of discounts. Whether you are running a time-limited sale or offering coupon codes, your booking system should have you covered.
Customers are increasingly using their mobile devices to connect to the internet. A customer on the go who decides to set up an appointment needn’t have to call in to avoid going back home to their desktop. Many users these days do not even have a desktop computer to go home to. Supporting mobile will greatly increase the number of people who can make use of your booking system.
The best tools in the world won’t be much use to you if they aren’t easy for both the salon owner and its staff members to use. Booking systems come with a wide variety of user experiences. Most of them should offer some form of demo or tutorial to give a feel for how the system works. Try to find the one that has the features you want with the smallest learning curve.
Big data is not only a highly beneficial feature to have in order to power your CMS system but it allows you to give your customers a much more personalized experience. Even if a particular stylist has never worked with a customer before, they’ll be able to know things like that customer’s favorite hairstyle and other interesting tidbits that will allow the customers to feel like they are part of the family and not just a number on your booking sheet.
In the process of creating the booking for you, your booking software is collecting all sorts of data. It should be able to show you when your busiest times of the day or year are, who your most popular stylists are, what your most popular services are, and much more. You can then use this information to drive your business decisions.