Every day I talk to salon owners and one of the most frequent subjects we discuss is online booking. As the conversation progresses, one of the more common phrases I hear people say is, ‘We don’t offer online booking because we like our clients to call us – we think it helps keep the relationship personal.’
The part of that statement that always jumps out at me is the frequency on the word ‘we.’ This is in spite of the fact that few people would say that a business can be successful if it ignores its clients’ preferences.
The research is in and it shows your clients overwhelmingly prefer online booking. So why then, is every salon owner out there not rushing to implement this vital and undeniably positive tool in their businesses? If you are one of those salon owners clinging to the phone lines, you should consider these scenarios your clients are likely to be in:
1. My phone is broken. I had a friend who went nearly three months with a cell phone that was unable to make or receive calls. He managed all his day-to-day communication via email, text, and social media. The current and upcoming generations will now likely be more crippled if text or web browsing was taken away over their ability to make calls.
2. I don’t have a home phone? In 2012, two out of three homes in America did not have an installed landline. Coupled with the fact that we spend three times the amount of time texting and web browsing as we do talking on our cell phones, it’s apparent that a machine designed only for verbal communication has become obsolete.
3. Sorry, can’t talk right now. I’ve started to notice a change in people voicemail greetings lately. “For a faster reply, send me a text.” Think about what that statement is implying. ‘I really don’t want to call you back, so please text me the reason you called.’ We are starting to make any and every attempt possible to stay off of the phone.
All these examples are byproducts of the technology surge that has changed the way we consume. These days it isn’t just a salon’s quality of service, décor or staff members that make them the attractive choice. It’s also how painless the booking experience is. If you don’t believe me, try calling an airline the next time you have to book a flight.