Staffing shortages. Appointment mix-ups. Inventory hassles.
Salon owners deal with situations like these every day. In fact, the average salon owner spends at least 10 hours every week managing administrative tasks or delegating them to others. What if there was a way to get that time back?
Enter technology and automation. According to Michael Nass, co-owner of Chicago-based Indira Salon and Spa, automation isn’t a nice-to-have — it’s essential, especially if you manage more than one location.
In a recent Zenoti webinar, Nass outlined how automation can increase efficiency and drive new salon business. For specifics, watch the 30-minute webinar here.
Getting back to post-pandemic revenue is tough. Here are six ways that automation makes that challenge easier.
1. Painless online booking
Today, salons have entered an era in which digital self-service is essential rather than just convenient. Now, most consumers prefer self-service to interacting on the phone. In fact, 94% would choose a new service provider if that provider offered online booking.
What does this trend mean for salons?
Self-serve appointment bookings, confirmations by text, and automated reminders let you meet salon guests where they already are — on their smartphones. With an AI-assisted appointment book and automated text reminders, you free up your time, meet guest preferences, and make their experience more convenient.
And if a service provider is running late or out sick for the day, it’s a snap to send an automated update to clients.
2. Customized staff scheduling
Today’s employee wants a flexible schedule, and it’s up to salon management to juggle all those schedules. But that can be incredibly time consuming, especially if done in a low-tech way.
By contrast, a real-time scheduling solution makes life easier for everyone. It can process multiple schedules, match availability with a guest’s preferred timetable, and fill in gaps during slower periods. Managers can configure the workflow to automate changes or require last-minute approval if someone calls in sick.
Think about the time this would save.
Managers could offer more salon provider training. Providers would always know their schedule and be able to adjust to last-minute changes. In case of overlapping time-off requests, everyone could adapt and adjust quickly.
Then there’s the issue of employee satisfaction. According to HR experts at Zenefits, 73% of employees say a flexible work schedule increases their satisfaction at work. Satisfied employees mean happier guests and opportunities for higher revenue.
A customized salon scheduling solution may just motivate your talent to stick around longer.
3. Targeted marketing campaigns
Many salon owners know marketing is important to their success. However, servicing clients and helping staff usually take priority.
It’s also no fun seeing big holes in the schedule or losing clients to a competitor. An automated, targeted marketing campaign can help solve issues like these.
Let’s say you want to create a campaign that recovers lost clients. Your technology will target those who haven’t visited recently. Then, you automate a coupon for 25% off, to be redeemed when your bookings are typically lower than 50%.
Likewise, you can send a message to your entire customer base and improve your referral program. Since 83% of consumers trust recommendations by friends and family members, you let clients know if they refer a friend in the next two months, they will receive a $25 dollar gift card.
Even better—by automating campaigns, you can return more quickly to your providers and guests.
Check out more smart salon marketing strategies and tools, available on the Zenoti platform. Next, let’s talk client reviews.
4. An efficient review process
Today’s salon client wants more than just a service; they want to have a voice. Reviews let them offer valuable feedback and extend their interaction with the salon. That feedback also brings more clients your way.
That said, responding to reviews takes time. Automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) can respond with comments based on review type, consolidate reviews from multiple sources so they show up in one place, and post positive reviews directly to social media.
Sites like Google also pay attention to your responses. Assuming positive reviews and interactions, Google’s algorithm will make search results more visible for your business.
Want a painless way to respond to your reviews? Automate the process.
5. Transparency with payroll and tips
It only takes one payroll mistake to convince salon owners their system needs improvement. Managing tips payout can also be messy and inconvenient — both for managers and providers. Many salons also deal with commissions, adding even more complexity to the mix.
Choose a solution that automatically tracks payroll based on salary, leave, and hours of work. Even better, a centralized platform can automate commission calculations and payout based on job, seniority, sale type, and performance.
Bottom line? Staff members want to see their commissions and tips in real time. The right tech makes that possible. Remember, AI and automation are powerful tools. They can help streamline critical processes and offer improved transparency, which will make everyone happier and more productive.
6. Insightful customer data for salon owners
According to Michael Nass, some salon professionals like to avoid the word “data.” But data is a means to an end, giving beauty and wellness practitioners insights they wouldn’t have otherwise, and helping them run their businesses efficiently so they can turn a profit.
"It's not how much you make. It's how much you get to keep."
- Michael Nass, co-owner of Indira Salon and Spa
But data can only be empowering if it tracks — and reports — the right information. Gut instinct can only take you so far.
Data helps salon owners trust but verify. Which key performance indicator (KPI) trends are impacting the bottom line? The right technology and automation can serve up those numbers in a way that makes sense to you.
Think about initiatives you’d like to pursue, such as building a stronger guest experience. Paying attention to client demographics may help you segment experience by audience. Tracking service cycles and product sales may offer additional clues.
Not all data is quantitative. Sometimes, good data means entering each client’s favorite drink or snack into providers’ notes. Over time, the data you collect will help you track progress and gain fresh insights.
Data is just one part of your technology and automation toolbox. Once you see how automation benefits your salon, you’ll never go back to business as usual.
See how automation can make it easier to manage a thriving salon. Watch the complete webinar here.