Six Online Booking Myths
Posted on 6th August 2013 by Debbie Miller
In today’s high tech and mobile world you would think it would be hard to find a reason NOT to offer online booking in your business. Everywhere you turn, technology is there. Online booking technology is quickly becoming not only a significant convenience for clients today but a necessity for filling your chairs.
As a stylist, educator and operations person, I thought I would respond to each myth and provide an opportunity to grow your business and develop the relationship using technology as opposed to running from it.
#1 – When is your receptionist going to answer that phone?
Today there is no excuse for a busy signal or being put on hold when calling a salon to give them your business. Online Booking drives clients to you 24 HOURS A DAY, SEVEN DAYS A WEEK! Luckily these aren’t your business hours, but online booking is ALWAYS ready to take the booking, and studies of salon bookings show that more than 40% of online bookings are booked outside your operating hours. Capturing last minute decisions, driven by business and social events, are opportunities that are quickly turned into R² (revenue reservations). If you are an independent contractor, imagine if all your business could be reserved online and any client needing assistance could email you.
#2 – My clients would rather call
People can still call your business but the volume of calls will be more manageable and put less stress on your front desk. For salon owners, you could be investing that resource into having your front desk closing more retail sales and delivering exceptional customer service instead of rushing to answer each call. Also, not all services are meant to be booked online; services such as Color Corrections, Keratin Smoothing Treatments or Bridal Parties may still need that personal touch, but your standard services are easy for clients to book online. As a client, I can select the services, employee, time and date and take as long as I want.
#3 – My clients don’t know what to book for!
Educate your clients so they know what they need and when they need it. Write the name of the service on your business card especially if they alternate color, highlights and haircut. Talk about future opportunities such as color services, additional treatments and other services like facial or body services you may offer. Online booking is a golden opportunity for the client to consider new services without being under pressure. An added bonus is that clients will also be giving you their contact information, birthday, and preferences on services, beverages, age and zip code.
#4 – Online booking could increase no shows
Alongside the online booking system is an immediate confirmation message as well as an automated confirmation system that will confirm appointments before the date, actually reducing the number of no-shows. Paying your front desk to call your next day appointments costs more and is less efficient. Clients who book online receive an immediate email or SMS on the very device they are obsessed with.
#5 – Online booking could impact prebooks
Clients who prebook do so to reserve a time that is appropriate for them; the appointment has value to them and they protect it. Clients who don’t prebook after a certain number of weeks are automatically emailed or SMS'd a reminder (from Set & Forget Marketing) with a link to your Online Booking page to click - they are in, but are driving the bus. Clients who don’t prebook really just hate giving up control.
#6 – Our clients don’t know we are online
Adding a link to your Facebook or Twitter page means your clients can do your marketing for you. In a recent study of people choosing a business, 71% said they would choose doing business with a brand that is recommended by others. Use your website to post reviews - the good and the not so good - as 49% of that same group said negative reviews don’t scare them. Put some time into developing your website with updated information, stories, makeovers and videos.
It is important to get comfortable with technology as it is not going to slow down. We are only a short time from being able to ping your client’s smartphone with last minute opportunities. Imagine being able to fill all those gaps in your book with clients who are grateful you thought of them.