APPOINTMENT SCHEDULING SOLUTION
Tips for keeping your salon fully booked and staffed
There is no feeling quite like not having the right tool when you need it. For many specialty services, this can be a daily struggle when it comes to appointment scheduling solutions. Traditionally this process was done with a simple exchange of information over the telephone. New technologies, however, have introduced a myriad of ways customers can use to book appointments, including:
With so many options available to the modern customer, modern businesses are put in a difficult position of either continuing to book solely over via phone and potentially lose customers, or to adapt to new technologies as they come out. This presents a real barrier for some businesses unprepared to deal with all-new software while maintaining their daily operations.
Luckily, modern point of sale (POS) solutions offer small business owners unique abilities to keep up with appointments in the digital age. These include:
- Staff management
- Automation services
- Customization options
Knowledge is power when it comes to staff management
Foundational to any appointment-based service is managing your staff. How are customers supposed to know whether they want to see your barber or esthetician if they don’t know who they are? When it comes to salon and spa professions, reputation is everything; a good one nets more customers and improves business, while a bad one can spell disaster for your entire business.
For that reason, different POS tools and solutions have stepped up to offer features designed to give your clientele more information about your staff. They include:
Staff management software isn’t just for your customers; Instead, it’s important for small business owners to think of staff management software as a tool for everyone involved. By using the tools available through your point of sale system, appointment-based businesses can:
- Assign services to staff based on role and experience
- Set up staff schedules to fit their hours
- Create time off to block off staff availability
Having these tools at your fingertips makes your business more flexible. By giving your staff the ability to effectively communicate their hours to the outside world, you avoid unnecessarily scheduling conflicts and ensure that when the customer comes in they will be able to be treated without delay or issue.
Whether it’s a body therapy or a haircut, many customers are very picky about the specialist they choose to see. After all, they are paying good money in exchange for the service that your company provides. For that reason, you want to make sure that you give them as many options to choose their specialist as possible.
By using integrated staff selection software available through most modern POS systems, you give customers either the ability to choose their own specialist or have one auto-assigned based on role and experience. This ensures that no matter which option you go with, your customers will be getting the best possible customer service experience.
Choosing what specialist you want to see as a customer is itself a daunting task: with so many offices and so many specialists working in those offices, it can be difficult to know what experience to look for and what is useful. This can lead to unsatisfactory experiences on the customer end and missed opportunities on the business end.
In addition to scheduling appointments, most modern POS software also provides customers with useful information on who it is they might see. By integrating staff management software, you can publish comprehensive staff profiles for your specialists, showcasing your team’s skills and allowing customers to more effectively choose their specialist.
The advantages of appointment booking through your POS solution aren’t just about setting appointments. More so, they are about instilling a sense of confidence in your customers.
- Do they feel that your office has the ability to help them?
- Do they feel like they know your staff?
- Do they feel confident in the choices they’ve made for their appointments?
All of these questions should be answered with a strong yes before customers ever set foot in your reception area. By using the solutions integrated with modern POS systems, you can ensure that is the case.
When it comes to booking an appointment, customers want it fast and easy. If your appointment booking setup takes too much time or is confusing, it’s likely to discourage them from using your service. Instead, they’ll likely go to other locations or businesses where they have an easier time booking.
For that reason, you want to make sure that your appointment solution is as streamlined as possible. POS solutions do this by using:
The first and maybe most important question when considering any appointment booking solution is, “Will this be easy and intuitive for customers?” Above all else, you want your appointment booking to be easy.
By offering something as simple as one-click booking on your website, your business has a better chance of bringing in new customers. Similarly, it keeps the process simple for your existing clientele, encouraging return visits.
In addition to easily making appointments, you also want to make sure that patrons can confirm or change appointments with just as much ease. Life happens; plans unexpectedly shift, and things come up. When that does happen, you want to make sure that your business is as up-to-date on your customer’s schedules as they are.
Appointment booking software through your POS allows patients to either auto-accept or manually confirm appointments. This keeps everyone on the same page and avoids awkward and costly scheduling conflicts.
In terms of making and keeping appointments, you want to make sure that whatever solution you go with is tailored to your office. Many solutions for businesses are one-size-fits-all; businesses purchase the solution and they get what they get. This can lead to scheduling setups that don’t meet the needs of the business or potentially work against them.
Having a POS solution that offers customization abilities, however, gives businesses the option to set up auto-replies. This sends automatic booking confirmations and reminders via text or email to customers. You can tailor these notifications in the way that suits your business best.
Automation, above all else, is the way of the future. These options bring your office into the 21st century and offer technology to keep up in an expanding market. This lets your customers know that you care enough about them to keep up with technological trends, keeping you competitive.
Customizing the patron experience
At the end of the day, you want a solution that is best for you. This can mean a lot of things for different offices; for example, a salon may need to offer many different appointment lengths depending on how many services a client wants. Similarly, a tattoo shop may want extensive staff profiling options so that clients can view their gallery of existing work. Whatever that option is, you want to make sure that your appointment software gives you the ability to have it.
Modern POS systems do an excellent job of providing these tools and solutions in an easy-to-use interface. Some of these include:
Appointment scheduling comes in two parts. On one hand, you want your customers to feel catered to. On the other hand, you want your service professionals to feel as though their time is respected. This can often result in a delicate balancing act between customer and professional, in which the benefit of one is usually sacrificed for the other.
By integrating your appointment scheduling solution through your POS, you have the ability to detail your professional schedule based on:
- Appointment type
- Appointment length
- Padding time (time between appointments)
Having these tools at your disposal helps balance that conflict between customer and employee. This ensures that your staff’s calendars will never be too full, but always just full enough.
Ironically enough, you may not want to use your scheduling software to schedule every moment of the day. After all, your employees are people; they need to take breaks and lunches at some point in the day. In addition, you may also want to reserve some time for potential walk-ins coming in off the street. if you don’t have the ability to block off that time, however, you run the risk of overworking your employees and preventing potential customers from being seen.
By using your POS appointment scheduling solution to reserve openings, you maintain the ability to hide slots in the schedule, reserving them for walk-ins or other bookings. This ensures not only that your customers can schedule appointments at your office, but also that they can access you through other means. In addition, it ensures that your employees keep working without running the risk of them being constantly overworked.
The key to these features is balance; allowing staff to reserve time when they may not be working offers much-needed breathing room into their workday. In addition, this allows potential customers who may not be used to booking according to the given software. In this sense, you provide both your staff and customer base with the best of both worlds.
Craft an appointment scheduling solution for your needs
Especially in recent years, effectively booking appointments has become a more critical facet of a successful business plan. Oftentimes, customers are expecting to require an appointment for various services due to constraints caused by the pandemic. In this sense, not every business needs appointment scheduling solutions, but helps to have it when necessary.
At talech, we work with specialty services of all sizes to streamline their appointment scheduling solutions. The options we provide include all the features listed above and more, integrating with your other POS features. Reach out today about a free demo and more information about how we can become your trusted partner.
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