Clients visit their local barbershop for great cuts and premium grooming services – but there’s a lot more to their visit than the services. Your clients will encounter your brand at touchpoints before, during, and after service, forming a lasting positive – or negative – impression. That impression translates into your rate of client retention and volume of referrals.
With barbershops often competing to gain clients, ambitious shop owners and barbers constantly look for ways to level up and get ahead of the competition. Let’s assume your barbers already provide impressive services that satisfy. What can you do further to elevate your business in other areas – what do your clients really want?
To answer that question, Zenoti conducted a survey of more than 1,500 beauty and wellness consumers in 2023. In this blog post, we explore:
- Survey findings from barbershop clients
- Common client frustrations
- Strategies to improve client satisfaction
Which methods do clients prefer when booking barber appointments?
The barbershop walk-in appointment is still a common occurrence, but when it comes to booking, most clients have historically booked by calling the shop (53%).
However, the ease of online booking is the preference for many clients today. In the survey, 46% said they had booked online in the past. In fact, 37% stated they are most likely to choose a barbershop that offers online or mobile booking.
Often more convenient than a phone call, online booking lets clients book anytime, from anywhere, with a visual overview of available slots and barbers.
Analysis: The fact that many clients still call could mean a) the online booking options they’re offered are clunky or lack features, or b) the business isn’t clearly promoting their online booking or making it readily available.
What’s most important to barbershop customers when booking online?
When booking online, barbershop clients want the ability to tailor their visit. When asked about the most important booking options, respondents’ top choices were:
- Getting their preferred date and time (57%)
- Getting a specific provider (43%)
It’s worth noting that nearly one-third (30%) of barbershop clients want the ability to book multiple services at the same time, such as a haircut and a shave.
A similar number (28%) would like the opportunity to choose from multiple locations when booking online. This likely plays into the date and time preference: If a client can’t book at the time they’ve chosen, they want to explore your brand’s nearby locations to secure the slot elsewhere.
Tip: More than 8 of 10 clients are interested in using their mobile phone to book appointments. When you consider your next online booking system, it’s critical that it works just as well on mobile devices as on a desktop.
Give clients – and potential clients – an online booking experience that meets their desire for convenience. With Zenoti barbershop software, you can give clients the option to book online using any device – computer, tablet, or smartphone. They can access online booking seamlessly via your website, your social media posts, directly from Google searches, or your barbershop brand’s own app.
The in-person experience: what clients want
The survey shows that 7 of 10 barbershop customers walk in without an appointment at least sometimes. 35% walk in “usually or always.” That’s a lot of potential clients your team might not be entirely prepared for.
What’s important to those clients once they walk through the door? It’s not surprising that most barbershop customers (60%) say excellent results define a great in-person experience. No doubt, hiring and training barbers who are skilled and passionate about their craft is one of the best ways to ensure a booming business.
But almost as many (56%) say a quick, easy check-in secures a great experience. This brings the walk-in process to the forefront: With so many guests turning up without warning, how can you ensure the front desk always runs smoothly?
To prevent client frustration – and front desk bottlenecks – implement an effective waitlist system. Your barbershop management software should offer a waitlist that maintains minimal wait times, offers a clear queue structure, and provides timely notifications to clients when their appointment is due.
Bonus insights: Today’s barbershop customers prefer to use their smartphones to connect with businesses. Specifically, they want to use their mobile devices to book appointments (82%), receive text message reminders (77%), check in on arrival (74%), and pay their bill (77%).
The in-person experience: client frustrations
The survey results indicate that not all barbershops are nailing the walk-in and check-in processes. Half of barbershop customers (50%) say their biggest frustration is waiting around for their appointment. One in four (24%) are frustrated by the check-in process.
That last data point is important: It means that one in four barbershop customers are having a negative experience before their visit has even begun.
Luckily, your front desk no longer needs to keep track of, and notify, walk-in clients waiting for their appointment. Zenoti was designed with a world-class digital waitlist: Clients can add themselves to the online queue in just a few taps, sit back, and wait wherever they want: soak up the sun, run an errand, relax in the car… When their appointment is due, they get a timely SMS notification.
Your business can say goodbye to that crowded waiting area on busy days – and hello to a more productive front desk. With a reduced workload, your team can spend more time helping clients in store and supporting sales efforts.
As for checking in pre-booked clients, a well-oiled front desk is invaluable. But you can take self-service convenience one step further with a kiosk placed in your reception area. This allows your clients to easily manage their own appointments and check in.
The in-person experience: how much clients trust their barbers
If you’ve been thinking about stepping up your barbershop’s retail efforts, here is your green light: A whopping 7 of 10 barbershop clients have a high level of trust in their barber or provider. Your clientele knows their barber has the skills and knowledge to keep them looking their best.
That trust can translate into product sales. After barbers have listened to a client’s needs, had hands-on experience with their hair, and showcased their expertise through a great service, they are perfectly positioned to suggest suitable products for their client’s goals.
The survey shows that clients are responding, so don’t miss this opportunity: 40% of barbershop clients will “usually or always” buy a recommended product. More than 3 of 4 (78%) will buy a recommended product at least sometimes.
Tip: Give barbers the confidence to sell
Not every barber is a natural salesperson, and that’s okay. Zenoti can help. Our complete barbershop software seamlessly combines bookings, client management, sales, marketing, analytics, and more.
All that data means the system knows your clients almost as well as your barbers do. It can provide your barbers relevant, real-time retail and service recommendations during a visit. Thanks to this feature, businesses using Zenoti gained a total of $300,000+ in additional revenue in just one month (April 2023).
Choosing a barbershop: online reviews
The study uncovered two key components to support new customer acquisition: When it comes to reasons for choosing a particular barbershop, 40% of respondents trust referrals from a friend or family member, and 35% look to online reviews.
In fact, 88% of respondents said they would not consider a barbershop with an online rating below 4 stars. And nearly half (45%) would only consider one with a rating between 4.5 and 5.
To stand out from your competition, take some time to consider how you can improve and increase your online reputation. First, determine when and how (and how often) to proactively request feedback from clients. Second, set a strategy for how and when to manage the reviews that come in.
Zenoti makes it easy to get more reviews with automated review requests: Instead of relying on busy barbers to ask every happy client for feedback, a request is sent in a post-visit text message: Thank you for visiting, we’d love to know what you thought of your service.
Clients can then easily submit feedback soon after their appointment. When the feedback request process is done right, your online reputation will grow naturally, and your stores will become more visible when customers search for barbershops online.
In the Zenoti 2023 consumer survey, more than one out of four people (26%) said they consider themselves a “regular” at a barbershop. If your brand can stand out in a competitive landscape, there are significant opportunities for business growth.
Maintaining a skilled team that provides high-quality services is key. Beyond that, consider how you can improve the client experience at every touchpoint. The survey indicates that today’s clients want convenience: Services at the right time, with the right barber, with minimal wait times and a seamless experience inside and outside your store. When you’ve secured a satisfied clientele, focus on your online reputation to boost new client acquisition.
Furthermore, the survey indicates a high level of trust between clients and their barbers. Capitalize on that trust through an increased focus on retail recommendations, and you should see revenue growth too.
In today’s market, there are opportunities to grow your clientele, revenue, and business. With the right technology partner – and knowledge of what customers really want – it’s easier than you might think.