10 Essential Features for a Salon Booking System to have
A decent online booking system can make your life easier. A great one can not only make your life easier but increase both your profits and customer satisfaction ratings. Many online booking systems may offer a bare-bones feature set, but here is a list of 10 essential features that salon owners should look for when they are looking to add online booking to their company’s website. If you can find a system with all, or most, of these features, you’ll be armed with the tools to outshine your competition.
Flexible Scheduling System
As you know, customers can have many special requests. Particularly in a salon, customers will like to request their favorite stylist. They develop a bond with the person that styles their hair. Your booking system should have a way for you to let it know when each stylist is working so that it can properly schedule their time. Of course, it should also be easy to set hours for the whole shop, which stylists provide which services, which holidays you take off, and a host of other scheduling options so that the online service can truly do that job that your human front desk person does.
With the power of a computer doing your scheduling, you can optimize your time-slots so that you can minimize the time that your employees are standing around with nothing to do. Of course, a customer should also be able to select for themselves which time they’d like their appointment to be. Ideally, the default suggestion in the time selection field will be the time that the computer thinks is best for you, but the customer will be able to change it to fit their needs.
Integration with Popular Calendar Software
Most booking systems will have their own built-in calenders, but you are likely already using a service like Google Calendar, Ical, or Outlook. You don’t want to have to coordinate two different calendars to schedule your events and you certainly should not have to give up the workflow that is currently working for you. A good system will have two-way integration with the most popular calendars. This will allow the software to update your calendar, and the calendar to update the available slots in the booking system.
Multi-Channel Notification System
You don’t want your customers forgetting their hair appointment. A good online booking system will also offer you a number of ways to remind the customer of their upcoming slot. At the very least you should be able to send them reminders via email and SMS. Some systems may even integrate with social media networks. In addition to appointment reminders, you should also be able to send follow-ups so your customers know that their satisfaction matters to you. Notifications can work to let you know and your employees know that an appointment has been booked as well.
Multiple Payment Options
Your customers should not only have the option to pay online but to do so with the payment processor of their choice. Of course, Paypal and Stripe should be considered mandatory options, as they are the most popular choices, but you should also look for a system that allows for other integrations as well. You may find that your favorite customer uses something other than the big two. You may also have your own preferred payment system.
Rewarding and Discounting System
Rewards and discounts are a great way to build customer loyalty and to increase your business. A good booking system will have features that allow you to implement these programs into your business. It should be easy to use and allow you to set up a variety of different rewards and types of discounts. Whether you are running a time-limited sale or offering coupon codes, your booking system should have you covered.
Mobile User Experience
Customers are increasingly using their mobile devices to connect to the internet. A customer on the go who decides to set up an appointment needn’t have to call in to avoid going back home to their desktop. Many users these days do not even have a desktop computer to go home to. Supporting mobile will greatly increase the number of people who can make use of your booking system.
Easy Management Tasks
The best tools in the world won’t be much use to you if they aren’t easy for both the salon owner and its staff members to use. Booking systems come with a wide variety of user experiences. Most of them should offer some form of demo or tutorial to give a feel for how the system works. Try to find the one that has the features you want with the smallest learning curve.
Customer Data Tracking
Big data is not only a highly beneficial feature to have in order to power your CMS system but it allows you to give your customers a much more personalized experience. Even if a particular stylist has never worked with a customer before, they’ll be able to know things like that customer’s favorite hairstyle and other interesting tidbits that will allow the customers to feel like they are part of the family and not just a number on your booking sheet.
Advanced Reporting Functions
In the process of creating the booking for you, your booking software is collecting all sorts of data. It should be able to show you when your busiest times of the day or year are, who your most popular stylists are, what your most popular services are, and much more. You can then use this information to drive your business decisions.
A good booking system provides you with more than just easier booking for your customers. It can give you the tools you need to run promotions that increase sales and to gather enough data to drive today’s AI and machine learning powered CMS systems. Today, with those CMS systems, even the smallest salon can have tools that the largest of businesses once only dreamed possible. One of the ingredients to that puzzle is an online booking system with robust data collection capabilities to drive those systems.
Of course, your online booking system is primarily meant for your customers. So in addition to its data collection abilities, you’ll want to have all of the features that customers may have come to expect from your competitors. Salon Booking System is one such plugin. Be sure to check out the online demo today.