Wicks Barbershop is a family business in Stockton-on-Tees, established by father and son duo Mark and Jack Wicks back in 2013. But while a family-owned high street barber may seem like the most traditional of small businesses, that doesn’t mean they have to be stuck doing things the traditional way.
In fact, Wicks Barbershop is at the forefront of its industry, adopting new tools and ways of doing business to consistently offer a fantastic experience. From booking systems for customers to keeping the team organised, Jack has embraced a range of Square business tools to completely overhaul the way the barbershop operates and overcome one of the big challenges faced by the industry - no-shows.
Creating a new experience
While barbershops and hairdressers were forced to close during lockdowns in 2020 and 2021, Jack used this time to invest in the customer experience at Wicks and come out of the pandemic stronger.
Not only did he decide to make the change to being a cashless business, but Wicks also now has its very own app for customer bookings. “Having our own custom, bespoke app made for us, with our Square Appointments integrated into it was an investment which really helped us focus on the clients’ experience of interacting with us a small business.”
Even though cash usage has declined for hygiene reasons over the pandemic, it’s still unusual to find a business that has fully embraced card as their only payment method. “The decision to go completely cashless was a great move for us, it really helps the shop run smoothly,” says Jack.
Another reason the barbershop stands out from the norm is their policy of booking-only. Over 90% of bookings come from the online appointment system, and everything is booked in advance. This lets Jack organise his team of 4 staff and lets everyone focus on delivering an inclusive experience where clients are encouraged to express their personal style.
Tools that didn’t make the cut
Wicks now uses a suite of Square tools to run all aspects of the business. However, it’s not Jack’s first experience using a POS system. The business previously used Zettle, but this proved to be very limiting as Wicks grew. “There was no way for multiple employees to access the POS with their own PIN codes. The only alternative would be to completely sign out and then back into the POS with their own email, which was impractical when checking out clients.”
Jack also needed better insights into how the business was doing and how staff were performing, particularly as they added new team members. “As the team grew, we needed a solution to help us keep track of which employees were doing what, especially in terms of analytics and target setting.”
Since the barbershop moved to a booking-only model, the booking system itself is a crucial part of the set-up. Where other salons and barbers may use pen and paper, Jack was already familiar with a tech-based solution for this. However, this didn’t quite fit the bill as their client list and bookings grew. “Our old booking system was almost like a Just Eat, but for haircuts,” explains Jack. “There were many other businesses on there. We wanted to be using a system that helped set us aside from other businesses, and presented us in the best possible way to our clients.”
All tools in one place - the switch to Square
That’s when Wicks turned to Square. Jack wanted a solution that worked seamlessly, and Square has taken a lot of hassle out of the day-to-day running of the business. This leaves the team more time to do what they do best - “put hair on the floor”.
At the heart of the set up is Square Appointments, which is integrated into the Wicks website (run on Square Online) as well as their bespoke app. Wicks team members can access the booking calendar directly from the Square Register in their premises, making it easy to organise appointments over the phone or to check customers out after their haircut.
Wicks also use Customer Directory to keep their growing client list organised and this links directly to Square Marketing and Square Loyalty, making it easy to stay in touch with regulars and new clients.
The best bit? All parts of the system talk to each other. “There are no conflicting systems at play here. Running a small business is hard - this makes it easier.”
Easy to use - for everyone
As Wicks Barbershop has grown, more team members have joined, and Square tools help everyone stay on the same page. The setup at Wicks is tech savvy compared to a traditional barbers, but that doesn’t mean everyone there is a computer expert. Jack describes himself as “not particularly computer literate”.
However, he has found it easy to set up the Square Appointments system and hasn’t had any issues with getting his team onboard. “Once, one of our members of staff turned 30 and they suddenly decided they could no longer operate tech. Even they can check out and book in clients with ease!”
Solving the no show problem
Switching to an integrated system like Square has made it easier to organise staff, created a better customer experience and allowed the business to flourish despite really challenging circumstances.
One feature in particular stands out for Jack - the option to request clients’ card details in order to hold their appointments. “This has helped almost completely eliminate the bane of every barber and hairdresser’s life: No shows.” He also likes the option to access funds immediately through instant transfers, even if he hasn’t had to use it yet.
With so many great tools and tech already implemented at Wicks Barbershop, what does the future hold? For a start, Jack is excited about the continued shift in the industry to make it more clien-focused than ever. For Wicks, that means not just in person experiences but how they interact and perceive the business online.
And for the next few years: “We’re just thrilled to be able to trade uninterrupted. Opening our new space in 2020 was rough! We’ve a great team, great space, everything’s in place for us to succeed.”
One thing’s for certain: even if the mullet is making a comeback on Teesside, you know that the customer experience at Wicks Barbershop is always going to be bang up to date.