How Salon Software can Benefit Your Salon Business
Proving you value your clients can make the difference between keeping them and losing them. However, the approach to client retention can vary from salon to salon. You may use a paper filing system and manage your clients’ data and appointments manually, with some success.
However, there are several computerised salon management systems on the market that can automate many of these processes, and help you go the extra mile for your clients.
If you’re thinking of investing in software, here are six ways a system could help with retaining and acquiring clients:
- Prompt clients to pre-book
Tony Tremain, senior business support specialist at Millennium Software, says: “You have a greater chance of retaining a client if they pre-book before they leave the salon.
“Millennium helps you do this by prompting you to pre-book an appointment, and giving the client options to choose from. Millennium provides you with simple reports that list clients who are overdue for appointments, which you can then use to send a personalised email or text directly from the system.”
- Make it easier to book an appointment
Offer clients a round-the-clock booking service. SalonGenius’s Bookings4Hair.com, which is integrated with its appointment diary, allows clients to book appointments 24 hours a day. And Shortcuts has BookME, which allows clients to go onto the salon website and book an appointment with a particular stylist at a time that suits them.
If you don’t have a website, clients can also book through a Facebook application. Tom Bentley-Taylor, general manager of Shortcuts, says that around a third of all BookME bookings are made throughout the evening, late at night, or early in the morning when the salons are closed.
- Reduce no-shows
Helping to reduce no-shows – especially through the use of text messaging – is one of the tangible benefits to the bottom line that many software systems provide.
Stephanie McAvoy, director of Salon Iris, says: “The average salon has a tendency to lose business as a result of no-show clients, generally about six a week at an average of £45 per lost appointment.
“This works out at £270 per week or more than £14,000 a year. Salon Iris can reduce your no-show clients by up to 87% and increase your turnover accordingly. Break out your calculator to see how much 87% of £14,000 will equate for profitability.”
Tom at Shortcuts adds: “Two-way text messaging on salon management systems is simple to use, and salons can send personalised texts en masse. Many Shortcuts salons use text messaging to eradicate no-shows and for marketing campaigns, saving them tens of thousands of pounds per year on average.”
Anna Moors, sales and marketing manager at SalonGenius, says its Client Contact Manager can automatically schedule and deliver future communications with clients via email or text. “How about sending a thank-you message to new clients after their first visit, with perhaps a satisfaction survey included, or a ‘you haven’t visited since…’ message to your lapsed regulars?” she suggests.
- Market your services
Some systems also allow you to run e-marketing programmes to your clients. For example, Shortcuts’ Set and Forget Marketing lets a salon set up email templates and decide who will receive them and when – and the system sends out the relevant emails to the selected clients at the appropriate time.
Tom says: “We’ve seen a huge hike over the past six months in clients using our e-marketing systems. Salons are recognising that they must market themselves to survive.”
- Encourage loyalty
Set up a loyalty scheme to prompt clients to come back more regularly. Tony from Millennium says its client point system can encourage clients to spend more, visit you more often, and refer other clients.
And, Anna from SalonGenius says its loyalty scheme lets salons track points through the system – and even lets clients use points as currency against purchases. Its recommend-a-friend scheme – which rewards vouchers to both the new and existing client – can also encourage new business.
- Make your clients feel special
Salon management systems can be used to store individual details about each client, like their birthday, their drinks and magazine preferences, and which products they buy.
Tony says: “A personal shopper at a high-end department store would remember important details such as your dress size, children’s shoe size, and even the colours that suit you the best.
Using a system in a salon should be no different, and can help you avoid the same boring conversations about the weather and work.”
He concludes: “The goal for any salon is to have a client retention programme in place so that there is a continual cycle of communication with clients – whether they’re new, repeat or lost.”
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