As a salon business owner, the idea of a guest scheduling an appointment online might contradict what you’ve learned about customer service. You might fear that handing over the reins to software or a mobile app will take away that personal touch your guests love. You may see hair salon online appointment booking as not serving the customer – but the opposite is true.
Seventy-six percent of people prefer using online self-service channels over calling a business.
Hair salon online appointment booking caters to guest preferences between visits, but they contribute to a better guest experience inside the salon too. By empowering guests to book, cancel, and reschedule their own appointments, you take some workload off your front desk, giving them more time to focus on the in-person interactions that really matter.
If you're still unsure about introducing online appointment booking at your hair salon, read on. In this edition of “myth or fact,” we explore and dispel some of the incorrect thinking about hair salon online appointment booking.
Online appointment booking gives you less control over your schedule: Myth
Some salon owners worry that giving guests the option to book online means relinquishing control over their appointment book. The reality is that hair salon online appointment booking gives you greater control over your schedule.
Here’s how: You can easily schedule full- and part-time stylists in different chairs, or open and close slots based on provider availability. The online booking system will only show available slots to your guests, saving your front desk from searching for an opening while on the phone with a guest or communicating via email.
An online booking system also prevents double bookings. As soon as a slot is booked, it’s closed and no longer available.
Some salon management software gives you the option to set rules around the order of services to make sure appointment sequences are booked correctly. This lets intelligent technology prevent errors that can cause headaches later. You wouldn’t want to check your appointment book to find a blow dry booked before a color. A good system ensures that services only appear in the correct order when guests schedule online, with the right amount of time allocated for each service.
Hair salon online appointment booking gives guests more flexibility: Fact
Today’s guests demand ease and convenience. Your salon scheduling software should be flexible enough to work around your guests’ personal calendars. If a regular guest has a “beauty emergency” – bad hair days happen – they’ll appreciate being able to book a last-minute appointment via your online hair appointment system.
According to Zenoti data, 38% of spa and salon bookings are for same-day appointments.
Online booking also expands the window of access for your guests to make appointments: specifically, anytime they want, 24/7, using any smartphone, tablet, or PC. For people working during your normal operating hours, online booking is a welcome option – if you don’t offer it, that’s potentially lost business. Sundays between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. is the most popular time to book appointments, as it’s typically when guests are planning for the week ahead. If you can capture these bookings during this time, even if your salon is closed, you won’t miss out on that revenue.
With hair salon online booking, guests can also cancel or reschedule appointments at any time, far more convenient than trying to remember to call you the next morning. This makes life easier on your guests, but also increases the chances of you receiving advance notice. You can then schedule accordingly to avoid revenue loss, sending out marketing campaigns or communications to fill the empty slots.
Your guests won’t understand how to book a hair appointment online: Myth
Think about the actions consumers take via online systems and mobile devices. Choose groceries and request delivery. Place a restaurant reservation. Hail a rideshare for a specific time. Not only has it become commonplace to make choices and requests online, but guests now expect it.
Modern online booking systems are so well-designed that even older, less tech-savvy guests will be able to book appointments with ease. As with other popular technologies, hair salon online appointment booking has become more user-friendly in recent years. There are designers and engineers who’ve dedicated their careers to ensuring technology is simple and accessible for even the least technically minded users.
70 percent of appointments on the Zenoti platform are booked from mobile devices.
When assessing the right online scheduling system for your business, be sure the software partner offers regular updates to their technology, ensuring a smooth online booking experience for every guest.
Online appointment booking makes your business more efficient: Fact
During peak times at your salon, there’s a lot going on. You might have five to 10 chairs operating at one time (or 10-20 depending on your size), guests calling to book or cancel appointments, people at the front desk checking in or waiting to pay, and walk-ins asking to be seen as soon as possible.
A hair salon online appointment booking system keeps track of room, provider, and equipment availability, so your staff doesn’t have to. It gives your team more time to focus on each guest – cultivating relationships, delivering a fabulous experience, and driving revenue and tips.
Check that your salon scheduling software can send automated reminders to guests to minimize the risk of no-shows and save the front desk from chasing absent guests. You’ll have a utilization problem – and unhappy staff – if providers are standing around because of unexpected no-shows and cancellations. Reminders can give you some advance warning to potential issues, improving your chances to see which guests will arrive for service, and which are less likely to.
Here’s a lesser-known secret about appointment scheduling software: It should be able to adjust your pricing rules automatically to charge more for peak-hour appointments or high-demand providers. For example, if your busy downtown location sees a lot of foot traffic at the end of the day, that’s a perfect time to implement peak hours pricing and watch your salon’s profits increase.
Scheduling a hair appointment online is impersonal and doesn’t offer the same quality of customer service: Myth
From mobile ordering at your favorite coffee shop to self-checkout at the grocery store, you might feel like face-to-face interactions are becoming few and far between. The reality is most people prefer self-service options and would rather navigate services quickly and easily – even with less human interaction. This is certainly the case when scheduling appointments online. In a 2022 Zenoti consumer survey, 83 percent of salon and spa guests said they’d prefer to book an appointment via mobile phone.
Just because guests prefer booking online doesn’t mean it has to be impersonal. The best salon software gives you plenty of options for personalization, a key in maintaining strong guest relationships. When sending appointment confirmations, include a personal message to reflect your voice or invite the guest to respond with any special requests. During the booking process, make personalized suggestions for products or invite guests to view and redeem available offers on the spot.
Because appointment scheduling software saves you time from managing routine interactions, you can focus on personalizing the guest experience in other areas of your salon business. For example, by sending guests special offers on their birthdays, or recommending new services based on their previous visits. To make your loyal guests feel extra special, consider introducing a membership program. Regular discounts, exclusive shopping nights, and early access to your latest services make members feel like they are part of the salon – while you benefit from greater retention and monthly recurring revenue.
What to look for: key features for hair salon online appointment booking software
Now that you have a deeper understanding of how an online salon booking system can benefit your business, how do you choose the right one?
Look for a salon software solution that enables you to:
- Set your availability: Specify your providers’ working hours, days off, and breaks, so you only accept bookings during available hours. This will help you avoid common booking errors and maximize your business’ productivity.
- Accept online payments: Create a streamlined booking process with a system that accepts a wide range of payment methods.
Bonus tip: search for beauty and wellness software that offers guests a mobile app for check-out and accept payments, for an efficient, fully touchless experience.
- Send text/email reminders: Reduce no-shows with automated reminders, notifications, and follow-up messages. For a personal touch, customize and personalize your communications with details, even as simple as your guest’s name.
- View schedules on any device: Make it easy for your providers to view and manage their day without having to repeatedly return to the front desk. Each provider should have access to the online appointment book via their smartphones and tablets.
- Incentivize and cross-sell: Check that your salon software has revenue-boosting options such as offering personalized promotions or product packages. These can entice guests to order add-ons with their service or book their next follow-up with you. Your guests will appreciate the extra consideration and you’ll be rewarded with more visits and higher ticket prices.
For hair salon online appointment booking, the Zenoti platform does all this and more, part of the most complete solution in the industry.
Watch this video to see how Zenoti online booking can benefit your salon business: