The salon industry is not generally known for its speed of embracing new technology – one of the few remaining industries that generally (not all) seem to feel that technology doesn’t really apply to them or work for them. This leaves many salons stuck in the dark ages. NOT good for your clients and the ‘client journey’.
Clients now demand a high-tech, customized experience. The customer journey starts the second a client decides to book an appointment. If you are not already their chosen salon, they will inevitably Google what they are looking for and commonly, potential clients are actually using the ‘results’ they want, in their search. No longer do they just type ‘nails’ or ‘facials’. They tend to type ‘nails with art and ombre with diamonds’ or ‘getting rid of acne scars’ so you need to discover the search terms your clients are using and include them throughout your website. That way, the Google Crawlers can pick these key phrases up.
So, let’s assume they have landed on your website. You have a short time span to get their attention. Is your website inviting and easy to navigate? Do you have lots of great information about your services? Do you have your own booking systems embedded in to your website to encourage booking online at any time? Frictionless is best 😊
Perhaps they haven’t Googled. What if you caught their eye on social media? Fabulous! But what happens next? Do you have your social media messaging platforms set up to use autobots to simulate a conversation with a human? Do you prefer to answer enquires yourself, does a member of staff or PA respond? If so, can you point them to a website with all the required information logically laid out? Do you have your booking system embedded in the website or in your Facebook Page? Do you build rapport with your potential clients? Are you helpful?
This all just goes without saying. It should be an absolute given – if it’s not, then that’s another blog… The experience from the second they decide to book an appointment, right through to the time you check them out is the client journey. It needs to be slick.
If you have a booking system such as Ovatu (this is my affliate link if you want to sign up https://ovatu.com/referral?referrer=12296) or Timely (and there are lots of great ones out there now, some are even free) it should fire out an email confirmation. This should confirm their appointment and include instructions about how to get to you, how to gain entry to your building and any other relevant information. This way, they feel very comfortable about seeing you. This should have self-serve buttons in case they need to amend their appointment. This system must be able to take a deposit/booking fee, no question.
Then, you should have reminders going out 24 or 48 hours before the appointment. Let’s face it, we are all incredibly busy. I always think 48 hours gives the most hectic of lives the opportunity to rejig their diary if they have forgotten their appointment. This should go out via text AND email.
Any forms your client needs to complete before their appointment should have been sent via the booking system. Again, these are fairly standard features now. This gives you the opportunity to review before they arrive to ensure they are suitable for the treatment. It also gives you the opportunity to learn a little more about your new client. This will help you build rapport and make your client feel comfortable and important.
So to the appointment itself. Details should be at your fingertips, so that you can provide the best service possible. Again, at a glance you can see what treatments they’ve had previously, what products have they previously bought, how frequently they come, or if they’re completely new to your business. It is all there at a glance.
At the end of the appointment, you can take pictures now directly in to these booking systems, via your phone or tablet app. This will give you a time-stamped, organized visual representation of your client (great for hairdressers, facial, aesthetic or any other business that requires a picture be taken – also perfect for insurance purposes). You can compare the picture to previous ones, perhaps show the client or later use them on your social media. You will know if they allow this, as it will be in their profile on the system. And you don't use your own phone/device's storage for this as they are in the app provider's cloud, no clogging up your phone with random photo's of body parts, hair, faces whatever it may be. Major bonus!
Now, time for rebooking (so important and so often overlooked). Leaving the chair or treatment room breaks the ambience. It is much nicer to do this whilst your client is still comfortable, thinking about how great they feel. Likewise, if they need anything else, retail and taking payment. By handing the client over to someone else, behind a counter, a barrier is put up. This is very restrictive mentally and physically. It’s dated, rigid and impersonal.
The latest research suggests that these closing stages of the appointment are more successful if done by the person who has delivered the treatment, in the treatment area. This makes perfect sense to me.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Are you ready to step ahead of your competition and give your clients the experience they demand?