Having realized the benefits of leveraging technology, and how it streamlines the operations and boosts revenue, salon owners and managers often find themselves stuck at picking the right online salon booking system for their business. With as many choices for salon booking system being available in the market, and each professing to be better than the other, it is natural to get confused. In this blog, we help you in the process of making a decision by demystifying the process. While each business has its own unique set of challenges and may have to set additional features, listed below are five basic must have features of an online salon booking system.
Omni Channel Booking & Scheduling
The most important feature to look for is whether the online salon booking system provides an omni-channel booking platform. Is it able to accept bookings via apps, chatbots, social media pages, and e-commerce websites? The ideal system will be able to dynamically handle the traffic through all gateways, send instantaneous booking confirmations and simultaneously auto populate the confirmed bookings in the daily calendars of both the salon and the assigned staff. In the eventuality of the preferred time slot not being available, the system should intuitively offer alternatives and/or allow guests to enlist themselves on waitlist for the day. Should any guest need to modify bookings, they should be able to accomplish it as easily as they make a booking. Further, by keeping track of the appointments, the system should be able to send automated reminders to ensure that there is minimal no-show.
Comprehensive CRM Module
Salon business runs on relationships, and this is why salon owners and staff consistently strive to foster close relationships with their guests. From remembering preference of each and every guest to adequately rewarding those, who routinely patronize your business, building relationships takes a lot of work. However, did you know that a salon booking system can actually aid you in the process? The CRM (Customer Relationship Module) helps you in the process by creating a unique profile for each and every guest and records each and every minute details about them. Details such as birthdays and anniversaries, communication preference, whether they like to be welcomed with a drink or warm towel, their preferred payment method, purchase history etc. –everything is recorded under a single profile and made available to the staff just prior to the appointment such that they are better prepared to deal with the guest. Further, the system automatically sends greetings and curates offers for their special days, as a gesture to show that you care about them. This results in better rapport with the guest and makes them want to visit often. Zenoti online salon booking system comes with a robust CRM system, which incorporates all the above mentioned features and transforms communication between the business and the guest. One of the luxury salons from Australia, EPIC Hair Designs which runs out of 16 locations implemented the Zenoti CRM, also known as Zenoti Connect to automate their guest communication, and saw a jump of 30% in guest retention rates.
Payment & Accounting
A good salon booking system will automate the process of raising invoices, processing payment, and creating relevant accounting entries. It will take the pain out of the repetitive process, and ensure that post service your guests can check-out in a jiffy. With its complete track and trace operating model, the system generates and shares invoices as soon as the service is over and offers guests with multiple options such as cards, wallets, Apple Pay, Google Pay to settle invoices. As soon as the payment is realized, the system goes a step forward to create relevant accounting entries and stock adjustments, if any. However, considering the sensitivity of the data it is important that you chose a system that is PCI complaint such that you and your guests, at all times, can have complete peace of mind about data security. Some online salon booking system such as the one from Zenoti is PCI Compliant and integrates with third party accounting software such Xero and Quickbooks Online to offer complete and holistic accounting solutions of not only tracking sales, managing expenses, reconcile cash flows but also prepare books of accounts.
Quite possibly the most important feature to have is inventory management module. The module helps you understand the utilization of your equipment and also keep a track of your inventory such that you never have to run out of your consumables and /or regret guest when they are looking to purchase products. By tracking and monitoring your retail sales and consumption data, the salon booking system prevents you from over stocking and blocking precious working capital, and prompts you when it is time to replenish stocks.
Last on the list of is that the system should be able to help you monitor your business performance by generating high quality and accurate reports. These reports should be able to highlight your procedural bottlenecks, and show your areas of improvement. The salon booking system should be able to generate reports, to name a few, on cash flow, sales, guest retention ratios, revenue/ guest, employee performance such that the management team can take informed decisions to ensure optimal business performance.
Aside from the above listed must have features, there are additional good to have features such as workforce management, and marketing management. Additionally, you should also look for scalability, data security and tech support for the product.