Table of contents
- Intro to Scheduling Software
- Four Frequently Asked Questions About Scheduling Software
- Why online scheduling software makes sense
- Implement scheduling software for a better customer experience
- Add your appointments calendar to your website
- Check your appointments calendar on the go
- Streamline your scheduling process to make more sales
- Cut down on no-shows with software for scheduling
- Require client prepayments in your scheduling software
- How to use your online channels to get more appointments
Intro to Scheduling Software
If you own a salon, you have an appointments calendar to manage. And it’s not as easy as just slotting things in the calendar. Keeping your appointments schedule full—and running smoothly—requires consistent attention and management. Luckily, there are a number of online scheduling tools and strategies that can make management easier. In this guide, we walk through what those are and provide a playbook for keeping your schedule booked (and the sales flowing in).
Four Frequently Asked Questions About Scheduling Software
1. Why use online scheduling software?
Online scheduling software helps you streamline appointments management—and can get you more clients.
2. How do you set appointments?
With scheduling software, clients can choose available appointment slots on your calendar that work for them. Then you can accept and schedule the appointment straight from the software.
3. How do you reduce no-show appointments?
Square’s scheduling software Includes important no-show protection features like the ability to require clients to enter their credit card at the time of booking on the online scheduling tool or prepay for their appointment. This helps drastically reduce no-show appointments.
4. How do you increase appointments?
Increasing appointments requires the right marketing strategy. Specifically, nurturing your online presence through social media, email marketing, reviews sites, and your website can help to increase appointment scheduling for businesses.
Why online scheduling software makes sense
Do you spend hours each week playing phone tag with clients trying to schedule their appointments? Do you ever get frustrated trying to decipher illegible handwriting in your pen-and-paper appointments book before meeting with a client? Have you ever had a client’s services mistakenly pencilled in on your pen-and-paper appointments book and wished there was a better way?
Appointment scheduling software can help alleviate all of these pain points. But in addition to cutting down on confusion and administrative time, there are other key benefits to using an appointment booking app or software. Below, we outline how to use software to keep your schedule full and streamline its management.
Online scheduling software cuts down on administrative time and offers a better customer experience.
Implement scheduling software for a better customer experience
Convenience ranks up there as one of the most important factors in fostering a positive customer experience. And in this digital age, especially in the management of COVID-19 and an increased demand for online booking, the ability for people to take care of their to-do lists (like booking a haircut) online is of the utmost importance. Not offering a way to book online makes for a cumbersome process for your clients—and one that’s often riddled with an annoying game of phone tag.
With scheduling software like Square Appointments, you can create an online booking site where customers can schedule a salon appointment with you whenever is most convenient for them. Think of it like a receptionist—except one you don’t have to pay by the hour and who’s available 24/7. You can even invite your clients to book appointments with you online by emailing them a link to your salon booking site. That way, if they don’t have time to book their next visit immediately following their appointment, they can find a slot later that works for them.
Add your appointments calendar to your website
You should add your online appointments calendar to your website, which is easy to do with Square Appointments. All you have to do is add a simple snippet of HTML code directly to your website. Having your appointments calendar in a visible, accessible place on your website makes it quick and easy for clients to book. This is especially true for new clients, who aren’t as likely to cold call your business to book an appointment.
Square Appointments is also optimised for mobile, meaning clients can book directly with you from their phone when they’re on the go. This is an important benefit—we’ve seen that the majority of clients book appointments this way.
Check your appointments calendar on the go
Not only is scheduling software or a free scheduling app more convenient for your clients, it’s also more streamlined for you. Implementing appointments software and an appointments app means you don’t have to be at your salon to check your availability. The ability to check your schedule from anywhere makes juggling your schedule less frenzied—and saves you a ton of time.
The Square Appointments app gives you all the information you need to run your business right at your fingertips. You can set up and edit your appointments calendar from anywhere and accept appointments automatically or manually as clients book them online. You can also complete payments everywhere—the app allows you to check clients out directly on your phone or iPad through your Square Point of Sale or the Square Register app.
Instead of spending your day on the phone trying to find time to squeeze in clients, you can streamline your day-to-day tasks. With the Square Appointments app, it’s like your business is open 24/7—and you can see your appointments calendar right on your phone.
Streamline your scheduling process to make more sales
Having everything in one centralised place on your appointment scheduling software that you and your employees can access from anywhere streamlines your operations. In fact, it could save you hours a week.
After clients book their appointments through your website, which integrates with your personalised Appointments page, and you confirm the appointment, clients receive automated text and email notifications and reminders, so you don’t have to follow up manually. With that time back, you’ll have time to book additional clients every month. We see this trend across all sellers who use Square’s online booking software. Square Appointments sellers who use software for scheduling book more than twice as many appointments as Square Appointments sellers who don’t use it. That’s a lot more sales.
Cut down on no-shows with software for scheduling
No-show appointments are a drag. Not only do they throw a wrench in your appointment calendar, they also leave you with a block of time in which you could be making a sale but are just sitting there instead. Luckily, appointment scheduling software can help immensely in reducing no-show appointments at your beauty salon. Here’s how:
Enable no-show protection features in your appointments scheduling software
Square Appointments has no-show protection baked right into the software. That means you can require clients to enter their credit card at the time they book their appointment with you online. You can also elect to apply a fee if someone misses an appointment or cancels at the last minute. Businesses using Square Appointments have found that merely instituting a policy reduces no-shows. The simple act of entering card information is often enough to keep customers from missing their appointments.
Require client prepayments in your scheduling software
Square Appointments’ Client Prepayments feature gives you the ability to require people to prepay at the time they book with the online scheduling tool, which makes them a lot more likely to show up.
And beyond helping you cut down on no-shows, Client Prepayments has two more key benefits. First, it helps with cash flow. If you need to purchase supplies or materials in advance of your service, requiring clients to pay up front means you don’t have to fund those purchases out of pocket. Second, prepayment makes for a much more seamless customer experience. If clients have already paid, they can simply enjoy your services during their appointment.
Send well-timed reminders through your booking software
Printed-out appointment reminders are a thing of the past. To make sure your customers remember their appointments—and show up for them—start sending email and text reminders. This is easy to do in Square Appointments. You can send clients appointment reminders straight from the scheduling software—and set how far in advance you want them to go out. (We’ve found that generally, one to three days before the appointment is the most effective.)
Communicate any schedule changes to your clients
Things happen, and sometimes, it’s you who’s running late or needs to reschedule. Rather than calling your clients to explain (more phone tag), you can communicate any schedule changes right from your online scheduling tool. Square Appointments has a Client Notifications feature that lets you send personalised communication to alert customers of any changes to their appointment. You can select how you want to notify people, whether it’s via text, email, or both. You can add a personal message for the client, too, a small touch that goes a long way. “So sorry, running 20 minutes late, but we have wine!” lands a lot better than a stiff message that looks like it’s coming from an automated system.
How to use your online channels to get more appointments
Integrating online scheduling software and adding it to your website is a great first step toward filling up your appointments schedule. But beyond that, there are several things you can do to bring in new clients—and keep your regulars coming back.
Enhance your website
Straighten up your website so that it looks as visually appealing and professional as possible. That means including details about your business, your logo, and photos of yourself and your staff. And make sure to clearly outline all the services you provide so customers can make an informed choice when booking through your appointment scheduling software. If you’re just getting started, leverage tools like the “Fake It Filter” to make your calendar appear a little busy. That way, prospective clients can feel more confident that you didn’t come down with the last shower.
Pay attention to online feedback
It’s crucial to consistently monitor social reviews sites like Google and Facebook reviews to keep a pulse on your business’s online reputation. And it’s equally crucial to respond. Make sure you’re giving attention to both the positive and negative comments, responding to each and every one. If you happen to get a subpar review, always lead by thanking the customer for his or her business and feedback, and then stay positive in the rest of your response. Steer clear of excuses and instead be open and honest about how you’re going to correct things going forward. That way, if prospective customers look at your review and see a flag, they know you’re addressing the issue.
Keep in mind that feedback can also come in a more private forum. With Square’s customer feedback software, people can comment about their experience from within their digital receipt and choose whether or not they’d like a response from you. Make sure to read each of these carefully and, if you’re able, respond with a personalised message. Maintaining a good relationship and connection with your clients makes them more likely to come back.
Establish a social media presence
Building a strong social following for your salon helps more people discover you—and establishes your business as an expert in the space. For an image-driven industry like beauty, photos say more than words ever could. Focus your social media efforts on the photo-heavy platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Get on the hashtag bandwagon and do regular posts under things like #MakeoverMonday to show off before-and-after photos of clients. Throwback Thursday (#tbt) and Flashback Friday (#fbf) are great for recapping some of your salon’s best looks for the week.
Social media is also a great place to keep tabs on what customers are saying about you. If someone mentions you in a social post, respond in a timely manner to let them know you’re listening.