You can streamline the workflow in your salon in several ways. Although salons are a consumer-facing sector, where personal contact is essential, nothing says that specific repetitive tasks cannot be automated. Automation is a way of taking back precious time from the customers otherwise. In reality, automation will boost customer service by extension.
According to Sugar Market, “74% of marketers claim that the most significant benefit of automation is saving time. 68% point out increases in customer engagement, while 58% believe it offers more timely communications and increased opportunities, such as upselling”.
Are you unsure where to begin when it comes to automating salon tasks? To begin, look for regular, weekly, or monthly repetition in the activities of your salon. Identify the tasks that you or your staff spend time on manually and that could be automated.
Consider your responsibilities as a salon owner or manager, starting with bookkeeping, accounting, inventory management, advertising, and client acquisition and retention. Next, determine what the receptionists do on a regular basis, such as answering phones, scheduling or confirming meetings, sending out thank-you letters to new customers, monitoring retail transactions, and accepting payments, among other things.
Next thing is to find an automated solution that can perform the task as well as or even better while still allowing your team to provide exceptional service to your clients.
Auto bill payment is a great place to proceed with automation. Set up your vendors on an electronic bill payment system via your bank in a few minutes. That way, bills are sent and paid electronically, and you don’t have to think about finding invoices or taking the time to do so.
An automated payroll system enables you to process your salon’s payroll through a computerized system. Streamlining this task will save you time and add a layer of security to the process plus help reduce errors.
With most automated systems, employees help keep data current. For example, they can edit their own personal information as needed, view and print pay stubs, update their direct deposit, view their deductions, and more. With your staff involved and responsible for their own data and banking preferences, it will free you up to do other things.
A different kind of automation, at least not one in the traditional sense, is the use of professional services. For example, you’d want to tap others’ expertise for areas that are not in your field. Think of things like a business advisor, CPA, or marketing firm where they can be tasked with certain things they automatically handle. You could have your business advisor provide feedback on set intervals to ensure your business stays on track—the same with your CPA. On the marketing side, you’d want a team outside of the salon to implement a plan for you, so they can help look for new clients or keep your current clientele engaged.
Another repetitive task that can be automated is client scheduling. Although you’ll always need to have the ability to book appointments in-salon, setting up and encouraging online salon scheduling will save your team time and effort. For every client that books online, it’s one less phone call or appointment that needs to happen when the client checks out.
Online scheduling also adds convenience for your clients. Such a system allows them to book their appointments whenever they choose. Essentially your Book Now button from your website or social media channel is open 24/7 – ready and waiting to help fill your chairs.
With easy access to their personal information, clients can help keep their contact and other information up-to-date. If they move, change phone numbers or email addresses, or want to add a credit card on file, your clients can do that for themselves.
Instead of calling your clients, texting, or emailing them one by one to confirm appointments, use a salon software system with automatic communications. You’ll want to set up confirmations to go out after every appointment is made, whether it’s done in-salon or online. You’ll also want the system to automatically follow up with reminder communications a few days before the appointment and a friendly day-of text.
The great thing with automated text and email, you just set it up once and walk away. The system will do the rest based on your preset parameters. Stop and think about the staff time that would be required to handle all of these tasks. Now imagine yourself with all of that time back.
Looking for a great way to thank new clients and wish existing clients a happy birthday? With automated email and text marketing, you can. The same goes for friendly reminders for clients due back for an appointment and drive back messaging for that wayward clientele needing a nudge. You simply set it up once and let the system take it from there; It’s a great way to automate.
If you’re using mass email or text marketing to inform and engage your clients, be sure to use the scheduling features. That way, you set up your campaigns in advance and automatically deploy them while you’re busy doing something else.
The same thing goes for social media. You can either schedule through the social media channel platform itself or use a third-party app to help manage the tasks. Plan and design your campaign all at once, then set it up to post for that week, month or quarter. In some cases, you can even post once and deploy in more than one place.
Another great way to automate your processes is to use software to help manage your lead generation process. Once you create and implement a realistic sales funnel for your specific business, your team simply steps in when needed to welcome new clients.
Automation tools can help your team automate most, if not all, the redundant tasks that are eating up the most hours of your day. However, finding the right automation tools takes time, and it’s essential that your tools can easily integrate with your team. For each task that you are looking to automate, be sure to take the time to do your research and try out your best options. That way, you are making the most of your time with salon automation.
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