Like any service industry, most salons and spas rely on accurate appointments to operate efficiently. A proven process benefits both customers and employees: customers can be assured that they will receive their services when they need them without waiting, while management can better schedule employees and not have to worry about under- or over-staffing who are attending locations that allow walk-ins.
Proper scheduling is a necessity for most spa and salon operators and seems simple enough on paper. But tell that to an overwhelmed receptionist or a small salon with just a few employees who take all appointments over the phone and enter them in paper appointment books or on an electronic calendar or spreadsheet. The process can be grueling and extremely time consuming.
At the other end of the spectrum is the customer, who may be used to conducting most of their day-to-day activities — including booking a spa or salon appointment — online without having to pick up the phone. Many may not even have the time to make an appointment by phone during spa or salon business hours, instead leaving a message late in the evening which then has to be returned by the front desk or staff member.
In today’s 24-hour online society, it’s annoying to imagine that some businesses still rely on the old paper diary and the telephone to book their customers’ and clients’ appointments and reservations. But many still do it, unaware that there is affordable, easy-to-use technology for small businesses like theirs. This technology is known as customer scheduling software.
THE ONLINE SOLUTION FOR SCHEDULING APPOINTMENTS
As with most office tasks and processes, the key to simplifying and streamlining service booking is automation. The less staff time is devoted to this tedious task, and the easier it is for customers to schedule their own services when it is most convenient for them, the better the experience for everyone will be. Online appointment scheduling software for clients helps harness the power of the internet.
Also known as online scheduling calendar, online business calendar, online appointment scheduling software, and other terms, client appointment scheduling software is a SaaS (Software as a Service) application that salon and spa owners and operators access the same way they would access any other website or portal. If you manage your bank accounts online or manage a social media page like Facebook or Twitter, you already have an understanding of Mi-based scheduling technology. Most applications do not require downloads or installations, nor the attention of an in-house IT staff or contracted IT service provider. The service provider securely hosts and manages the software and data on off-site servers just like all other online service and retail providers do. The only requirement for using the client scheduling software is an internet connection.
The framework behind web-based applications such as online appointment scheduling software makes it ideal for specific functionality that is unavailable or difficult to integrate in traditional “packaged” software found in electronics stores and retail stores. One unique feature that can completely transform scheduling practices almost instantly is online client and client self-scheduling, which allows individuals to book their services quickly and easily without having to pick up the phone. Essentially, it keeps a spa or salon open 24 hours a day. By placing a “Book Now” button on their website, social media page, or newsletter, a business can significantly reduce the number of calls or emails from people wanting to book their appointments. This can result in more receptionist or staff time being freed up for more pressing needs. Equally important is the convenience for customers to book online. It can show that the salon or spa is up to date with their technology and understands the needs of their clients.
What makes an online appointment scheduling software different from a simple electronic calendar or appointment request form is that it automatically confirms and books every appointment entered into the system, with no additional action required on the part of the operator or their staff. You don’t have to show available dates, block unavailable times, or contact the registrant. The system does all of this by itself.
Another valuable feature found in some online appointment scheduler applications is automatic email and SMS reminders. Anyone involved with a service business knows the importance of making reminder calls or sending reminder emails. This is important to keep the number of “no-shows” low, but also requires a lot of staff time and resources. Client appointment scheduling software also streamlines this task by automatically sending a reminder prior to a client or customer appointment or reservation. The salon or spa chooses when to send the reminder — say, a day before the appointment — and the system takes over from there.
Although other features vary by client scheduling software provider, operators can expect additional features such as: Online customer payment options for salons and spas that wish to enable online payment in advance of scheduled appointments and reservations; and e-marketing opportunities to communicate special offers, offers, coupons and other news to customers.
Online appointment scheduling software is a must for any salon or spa that relies on a proven process for managing their appointments and client information. Although some spa and salon operators and owners shy away from any conversation about new software — due to financial and time commitments to implement it properly — most online scheduling calendars are affordable and allow operators to “pay-as-they” without the hassle -go” term contracts and do not require any additional hardware. In addition, the provider maintains the software externally and performs all updates and upgrades, which appear automatically as soon as the user logs in. Some even offer live customer service and support to ensure the software is performing to its full potential.
Don’t get bogged down in the pages of an inefficient and outdated planning process. Let client scheduling software give your salon and spa operations a boost!