This article was originally posted on MotivePoint.biz.
It shocks me that even today, there are salon owners that still balk at the idea of offering online booking. Just recently I found myself tangled up in an Facebook discussion forum where salon owners were each giving their two cents on why they don’t offer it. Really, I ask? What’s to lose? My conclusion boils down to one thing: Fear. The fear of the unknown. The fear of giving up control. The fear of someone “messing up my books”.
We’ve been offering online appointment scheduling in our salons and spas for years and I’ll be the first to say that if you’re not offering it, then you’re already behind. Below are my top three reasons describing why EVERY salon owner should offer online booking capability to their clients.
Are you making it easier or harder for your clients to do business with you? Seven to ten years ago, offering online booking was a “nice to have”, not a “need to have”. In today’s competitive business environment, our clients expect it. Put yourself in the clients’ shoes. Imagine yourself looking at two different salons to visit; one offers online booking and the other doesn’t. Which salon do you think already has the upper hand at gaining you as a new client (or retaining an existing one)? It will always be the salon that is making it easier for clients to do business with it.
Chances are, you already have the capability of offering online booking. If you are using a reputable automated point of sale system, I’d bet money that your salon management software has a plugin or a widget that makes it super easy to add this service to your website. It’s time to face the music my friends, you’re probably already paying for the service. Why on earth would you not use it? More importantly, have you thought about the cost (in the form of unearned revenues) of not using it? Picture the mom who suddenly remembers at 11pm at night that she forgot to schedule her salon appointment. She’s finally cleaned the kitchen after bathing the kids and putting them to bed. Imagine how many points you could score if she could pull out her tablet computer and schedule her salon appointment from the comfort of her bed? Folks, this is what they mean when they say, “Making money while you sleep!”. Imagine your business never closing? That’s what online scheduling can do for you.
This one is a no brainer. Consider how your brand is perceived when you offer ease of appointment scheduling using technology to aid in that process. Do you think your company will be perceived as a forward-focused, business savvy, cutting edge salon operation? You betcha! And in our industry, it’s all about being current and cutting edge.
It’s time to let go and give it a try. What’s the worst thing that could happen? A few appointments are scheduled wrong? So what? You fix them! After all, your guest care team is looking at the book all day. Your competition maliciously schedules bogus appointments? It’s never happened to us and it’s unlikely it’ll happen to you. Your clients don’t like online booking? Okay. No biggie. They can still call and schedule. My point is this. You’ll never know unless you try. You might just surprise yourself.