One thing that all successful salon businesses have in common is that they all use salon software to automate their repetitive, time-consuming, tedious, and critical management tasks. That is because these salon owners understand how demanding the beauty industry is- that no one can do it all on their own. They also understand that hiring more staff to help out with automatable tasks only hurts business profitability. That is why they are quick to integrate salon software into their daily operations.
If you haven’t invested in salon software yet, you really should get one ASAP. The “new normal” presents new challenges for service-based businesses, e.g. the increased need for online booking and cashless payment. Your software provides solutions to these and other post-pandemic salon management challenges. And with many salon businesses collapsing during the pandemic, many clients are currently shopping for new hair and beauty service providers. You can use your software to position your salon as these clients’ obvious choice. Let’s elaborate. Your software will, among other things:
1. Enable online booking
The key feature in any salon management software is hair salon online booking. An online booking system makes your salon services available to clients at all times. Clients get to make appointments whenever they have time, 24/7/365. You only need to specify the days you are open, control what clients can and cannot do while in the system, and then customize the layout to include your brand logo and colors. The system does the rest for you. It, for example, gives clients access to your schedule, so they can see which appointment slots are open within a specified timeframe and then choose the ones that suit them best.
Online booking also complements your online marketing efforts in a big way. For starters, your competitors are marketing their services on the same platforms you are on. Your target clients are spoilt for choice. If a client likes your services from the videos and images you share on social media, you have to ensure that they book an appointment ASAP otherwise a competitor might lure them away from you. The good thing with quality software is that it will allow you to integrate your booking platform with your social media accounts, so clients don’t have to leave social media to book appointments. A client interacts with your content, they like it, they probably reach out for more info, and then they make their bookings in a few quick seconds. That leaves competitors with no window for stealing your prospects.
Bonus: Self-service also minimizes the time your front desk spends on the phone. Clients basically work for you.
2. Better service delivery
When booking appointments online, clients fill in their personal and contact information. They will share details such as their birthdays, beauty preferences, skin or hair type, possible allergies, and preexisting health conditions if any. The system also helps you keep records of every interaction that a customer has had with your salon. Your support staff will, therefore, instantly pull up detailed information about a client when engaging with them face-to-face, online, or on the phone. This information enables you to personalize service delivery, which leads to higher customer satisfaction and retention.
3. Increased flexibility and scalability
Most salon management software is cloud-based. That means you can access your customer data from anywhere in the world, from any internet-enabled device. You can take work home with you, e.g. prepare for upcoming appointments at home, during vacation, or while stuck in traffic. You can also assign tasks and track employee performance from a remote location. That flexibility will help you achieve the much-needed but elusive work-life balance in the new normal.
Software also gives you unbeatable scalability. You can register on the software as many employees as you wish. As your salon expands, all you need to do is upgrade your package in order to accommodate more registered users, bigger inventory, and more locations. Put differently, your software application will grow with your salon business.
4. It’s a money saver!
For starters, your software performs a multitude of different tasks. From appointment booking, inventory management, data management, to cash flow tracking- you name it! Some of your employees become redundant, which means a reduced wage bill, lower taxes, and reduced insurance costs. Fewer employees also mean fewer tools and equipment, lower energy bills, and smaller employee motivation budgets.
Secondly, your all-in-one software eliminates the need for multiple single-function software. You don’t need different software for different functions, say CRM software that’s different from inventory management software. In monetary terms, the more software you have, the more you spend on licenses. You get to cancel all the other licenses when you invest in all-in-one management software
5. Better data management
Let’s start with the obvious: Manual data management is tedious and time-consuming. You waste time entering new data, checking for errors, and duplicating data sets. You can use your management software to automate all these processes and save yourself quite a few minutes in a day.
And then there is the issue of retrieving data and recovering lost data. When you keep paper records, it is almost guaranteed that some of those records will be lost or misplaced. Your software stores data in the cloud, which eliminates any chances of your data ever getting lost or misplaced.
But then someone might ask: Aren’t excel spreadsheets the obvious replacement for paper records? Well, excel spreadsheets are quite an improvement from paper records, but any data stored in a computer is always a data breach away from being stolen or lost. Your hard disk can also be corrupted by a virus or stolen by a malicious employee, and that will be the last day you see your data. Salon management software comes with enhanced security and threat prevention. That gives you a 100 percent uptime guarantee, keeps your customer data safe, and protects your brand reputation.
6. Smarter business decisions
You don’t have to trust your gut instincts all the time. Your software gives you comprehensive, real-time, accurate, and data-driven business reports that will definitely improve your decision-making process. It will update you on inventory levels, employee performance, customer transactions, and vendor transaction history, all in real-time. It will even give you market projections based on past demand and supply trends. That way, you will not only make accurate but also timely and smart business decisions.
7. Streamlining communication
Your software will help you keep in touch with clients through regular automated emails and text messages. The software will customize your communications using the personal information that clients share, and then use their contact information to ensure that each one of them receives your message. You can use the software to spread the word about new products, special offers, and new loyalty/referral programs. You can also use the software to send best wishes messages on clients’ special occasions such as birthdays. What’s more, you can automate appointment confirmation and reminder messages through the software in order to minimize late coming and no-shows.
Salon management software will not only help you improve your services but also keep your service delivery consistent. That’s key to keeping customers happy, from increased loyalty, improved brand reputation, and more revenue. Integrating software into your salon operations is a question of when, not why!