As a salon owner if you were asked to identify areas of your business that upon improving would make a significant difference to your turnover and profits amongst the list would be filling cancellations at short notice, filling gaps in staff columns/appointment diaries and reducing client “no-shows”.
The significance of these areas can not be underestimated in fact it’s often shocking to learn that if on average a salon was to fill two cancellations each week and just 4 gaps that they previously would not fill they would increase their turnover by £11,000 per annum.
Cancellations that you get at short notice say within 4 hours or on the same day of the appointment are traditionally very difficult to fill. You can keep a last-minute list of clients that have said they want a space but how often have you called someone only to find out they have booked elsewhere or since changed their mind? Facebook is something that can work if the cancellation is for an appointment in a day or 2 time however it’s still not that reliable since on average a Facebook post will only get in front of 3 – 5 % of your page followers. You could send an SMS message to all of your clients however this would defeat the object since the cost of the SMS would often outweigh the cost of the appointment.
As a result the cancelled appointments usually don’t get filled. So why are out salon clients saying things like this?
The answer to this is to publish your gaps in an easy to view format in the areas that your current and potential new clients look on a regular basis, your website and your smart phone app. Our system allows this through the administration area and the inclusion of 2 lines of code on your website. Adding these lines of code to your website will produce a ‘Tab’ on the left of your webpage that when clicked will produce a fly out area showing your list of diary gaps over the next 7 days.
The key with this system is that it publishes your gaps to both existing and new clients that view your website. This provides an easy way of potentially new clients to grab a time at short notice without having to check booking systems or calling the salon, a service that your clients want and which they use. These gaps are also shown on your app and current clients over time will start to use this service too. The system keeps track of what revenue you have recovered by using the last-minute times system.
Do you love SMS messaging for its ability to communicate directly with your clients, straight to their phones and with such good open rates? Are you interested in a free, more responsive, up-to-date method of communication?
SMS messaging used to be the default form of communication on mobile phones, but with the proliferation of free messaging services, the text has become a bit redundant. Younger generations especially have adopted free instant messaging, with over 990 million users on Whatsapp.
You send a ‘Push Notification’. With a smartphone app, you can send free push notifications to your customers, effectively communicating news, deals, or last-minute appointments for free.
Our Bright Salon app system allows you to have your own branded salon smartphone app which allows you to send as many push notifications as you wish, free of charge and which take just a few seconds of your time to send.
Like SMS, push notifications have a 90% open rate and are incredibly easy to use, for both client and business. Customers who have downloaded your salon app will receive a push notification on their phones, even when they aren’t actively using your app. Through the Bright Salon system, as well as sending notifications to all clients you will soon be able to choose who receives your messages from gender, age and their stylist.
One of the biggest advantages salon app customers are finding is the ability to fill last-minute cancellations, something that is notoriously difficult.
SMS messaging is expensive, often regarded as spam and with a niche audience. Push notifications are free, with a wider reach, let you recover lost appointments and communicate directly with your clients.
Marketing a small business requires using a mix of platforms and possibly both online and print-based tactics. Having an online presence is becoming of greater importance and certainly, social media is a great way of personalising your business and communicating with your clients.
If you already have various platforms set up, have you thought about how your customers know about them? Perhaps you have a Facebook page, but clients only find it through your website. Or you have a Twitter account, but clients only find it if they look at your blog.
In this sense, your marketing is very compartmentalised. Clients may know of some of the platforms you use, but not all of them.
A great tool to tie everything together and a marketing resource in itself is a salon smartphone app.
With a Bright Salon smartphone app for your salon, you can have links to your social media sites, your website, booking system together with a click to call feature, location map and your contact details.
This is coupled with the ability to send push notifications directly to clients, removing the need to send SMS messages. Communicating with your clients has never been easier.
Think of an app as a one-stop-shop that can link all your marketing platforms together as well as helping you to grow your business.
Don’t let your marketing go to waste, when an app will let you have links to everything in one place.
Ensuring a high level of client retention is invaluable to growing your business. In particular, keeping new customers is really important. Within the beauty industry client retention is measured differently, but the main idea is that you want new clients to keep returning to your salon.
There is an often used industry model, whereby if a client visits your salon for 3 appointments, they become “your” client. If you retain a customer for 3 appointments, they also start to discuss your salon as their salon of choice when asked by their friends and family, therefore increasing client referrals.
To help with this we first need to establish the difference between the sexes. Research has shown that on average, women are loyal to their stylist or therapist whilst men are loyal to the salon itself.
It’s inevitable that due to holiday, sickness or other factors there are times where you have to move clients around. In this instance, it’s best to move the men rather than the women. Men are much less likely to feel uncomfortable with a different stylist and thus more likely to return and not feel ‘put out’. The less you move women, in contrast, the higher your client retention will be.
Encouraging your female clients to Recommend a Friend. This will get best results when a client’s personal stylist asks them directly. Make the recommendation process easy to achieve for both stylists and the clients themselves. Avoid recommendation cards if you can and try to get clients to make the recommendation whilst in the salon itself.
Men, on the other hand, will generally respond better to a request to refer the salon itself (as opposed to an individual) from your receptionist.
We know that personal birthday messages are likely to score more highly with women than men and thus help retention. If you can, it’s always best to send real cards, however, if you have a large salon an automated approach is the next best thing – provided the message is personalised and you offer some kind of gift or offer with the greeting.
Female clients as mentioned earlier are more likely to be loyal to their stylist rather than the salon itself. Therefore it’s a good idea where possible to encourage female clients to form relationships with two stylists. This works well for clients that take more than one service, for instance, a cut and colour in a hair salon where the cut is undertaken by one stylist and the colour by another. If you ever have to move a female client you can then try to put them with the other stylist.
Another way of helping this is for two stylists to be involved in the consultation. If a stylist does indeed leave they will be slightly more torn about whether or not to leave the salon.
If a client does leave your salon send a lapsed client mailer and always write a personal message with it. Tell them you are genuinely sorry the relationship has been lost, you miss seeing them in the salon and value their patronage.
Running a new client loyalty scheme is one of the best ways of increasing client retention, offering new customers a discounted rate or a free/discounted service or product. People like a bargain and if they are happy with your service, they will be happy to pay for it at the full cost too.
A salon app is one of the best ways to encourage client retention. A Bright Salon app can run multiple loyalty schemes and removes the cost and clutter of a card-based system. Automated birthday messages can be set to send when people’s birthdays are near with offers included and with a Bright Salon app, allowing clients to make a recommendation or referral is easy, inexpensive and effective.
Client recommendations are one of the best ways of growing your salon and increasing awareness of your business. A personal recommendation from a friend or family member will always rank highly. If you were looking for a new hair stylist or nail salon, who would you ask first?
Word-of-mouth referrals are still one of the best forms of marketing around and should be encouraged. Just like aiming to retain your existing clients is important, getting their friends and family members to start visiting your salon is just as valuable to your business.
So how can the client recommendation process be simplified and updated? Most salons either have a recommendation card with some kind of incentive which they give to clients or they simply ask clients to recommend friends or family, but how often does this happen in reality? Making the recommendations process simpler without cards, pens and printing costs can significantly increase the number of recommendations you receive.
A salon specific smartphone app from Bright Salon contains many beneficial features and none less than 2 features designed specifically to help increase referrals and recommendations.
Customer Referral Feature
Our ‘Customer Referral’ area of the app makes is quick and easy to recommend a friend. Best of all you can encourage clients to complete the form while in the salon as you provide your service. Taking less than a few minutes the person being recommended receives an email suggesting that they try out your salon and you are able to incentivise referrals with discounts or offers bespoke to them and your salon. The completed information is also stored in your app admin area allowing you to follow-up on any referrals that have not yet booked in.
Share App Feature
The share app feature of the app allows your clients to quickly and easily share your salon app with their friends, family and contacts via SMS/text. Clients simply press the ‘Send your code by SMS’ button and this opens their messaging system on their phone, allowing them to choose 1 or a group of contacts to send the app information to. The recipients get a link to the app which they can download and a code unique to the person sending. After downloading the app those new app users pop in the code they have been sent, which is then marked on the original senders share area. Again you can incentivise the app sharing system to encourage clients to share your app with their friends and family.
Client Loyalty is an important part of retaining and building business. Loyalty Schemes are one of the most effective ways to do this. Hair and beauty loyalty schemes are hugely popular, with the Boots Advantage Card scoring highest among women and under 25’s in a recent poll of big brands across multiple industries. The aim of a loyalty scheme is to get customers visiting your salon more frequently and spending more money. A loyalty scheme can be aimed at new or existing clients or to any demographic within your client base. You could promote products, your services or special discounts, the options are endless.
So, how do you implement a loyalty scheme? Traditionally loyalty schemes have been paper based; on cards that clutter up wallets, or get lost in the bottom of handbags. Take a moment to think about how many reward cards you currently have in your own purse or wallet. The other main problem with card-based Loyalty Schemes are the associated printing costs and how can you introduce 2,3 or even 4 different schemes without even more cards and higher printing costs?
A smartphone salon app from Bright Salon is the answer to these and many other problems, with no printing costs and without the clutter. Through an app, you would set up your chosen loyalty scheme, which works with a QR code.
Clients download the app to either an Android or Apple smartphone, which is used to scan the loyalty scheme QR code scanned in salon to redeem points towards the chosen loyalty scheme. An app is the simplest, cheapest way of running a loyalty scheme and eliminates many of the problems associated with traditional loyalty schemes.
Bottom line is that every salon should be running at least one Loyalty scheme. Why spend the money on old fashioned printed cards when you can utilise something that most of your clients use every day, their smartphone? By having an app you not only benefit from the increased loyalty but improve awareness of your salon between appointments further improving client retention through awareness.
Our salon specific smartphone apps provide up to 4 separate loyalty schemes, allowing salon owners to choose the best options for their clients and for their business. From schemes for new clients to schemes that encourage purchase of other services and with unlimited combinations of offers and stamps the options are endless.
Don’t take our word for it. Listen to Andrew himself discussing his own salon app provided by bright salon in the video below.
Last minute cancellations are part and parcel of the salon industry. People get ill, something comes up or their car won’t start. We all have to cancel an appointment occasionally. For a salon owner, however, this may be more than just an annoyance that leaves a stylist twiddling their thumbs. Last minute cancellations equal lost revenue, which is hard to recover.
How does your salon currently fill last-minute cancellations? Perhaps you send out an SMS or post on Facebook or Twitter? We know that success with these options is minimal. We all know SMS messaging is an expensive option and the chances of people seeing your updates on their social media feeds are slim. What if there was an easier, more successful way to fill those cancellations?
There is a better way.”Push Notifications”
Push notifications offer the ability to communicate directly with your clients to a device that is in the palm of their hand. With a salon app, you can take advantage of push notifications, which are direct messages to your clients’ phones. Smartphone ownership is prevalent in the UK, with 76% adults owning one.
If someone cancels an appointment, you can immediately send out a notification to all your clients, telling them about a last minute appointment. Sit back and watch as you fill those last minute cancellations and recover lost revenue.
Push notifications, like SMS messages, have a 90% open rate however the joy of them is that they cost nothing to send. With a Bright Salon App for your salon, you can send all of your clients a message in a matter of seconds completely free of charge. Get a cancellation in the morning for an afternoon appointment, send a quick notification that gets opened by 90% of your clients with your app and see the appointment get filled within minutes.
Bright Salon are salon app specialists, creating apps with an impressive array of useful features to grow your salon business. One of their clients, the Andrew Hill salon, currently employs around 20 stylists. They are recovering on average £120/day using push notifications to fill last minute appointments.
Don’t take our word for it. Listen to Andrew himself discussing his own salon app provided by bright salon in the video below.
You only have to stop and look around any busy salon and you will see immediately that many of the clients are using their smartphones. This alone is a reason to stop and think about the reasons that salons should use this technology and how it can benefit their business.
If you are a small salon business owner and your salon business does not have a mobile app, you need to get one. Having a web presence alone is no longer sufficient, as online activity continues to shift to mobiles. Simply put, smart phone apps have become too important as a marketing tool for small business owners to do without.
Every business wants to reduce costs, why wouldn’t you? A Mobile App can help reduce costs in the following ways.
Firstly we have the cost of SMS/Text messaging, a service that many salons use. A Mobile App allows you to utilise ‘Push Messaging’ which is similar to SMS/txt messaging insomuch, as it appears on the users phone just like a SMS/Text message does and the open rate is around 90% – the same as SMS/Text messaging. The major difference is that Push Messaging is completely free of charge, you can send as many messages as you wish and never incur a charge. This technology can be set up to send messages to everyone, groups (i.e. all ladies over 35) or individual users and can represent a significant cost saving over SMS/Text messaging.
Many salons run loyalty schemes or recommend a friend scheme and traditionally they use printed cards for this. A Mobile App allows you to transfer your loyalty scheme to an App based system reducing the need for printing cards. The same is true of recommendation cards, an app can be set up with a recommendation form giving clients an easy way of recommending friends and family.
How many times have you had a client call a few hours before an appointment and cancel, lots right? Every salon business suffers from cancellations and they are notoriously difficult to fill. A Mobile app which utilises push notifications and allows you to promote last minute times can make a significant difference to filling these slots in your diary. Just imagine being able to send out a message to all of your clients saying that you had a free slot come up knowing that the message would be read by 90% of them.
Over 80% of adults now own a smartphone of some kind, nearly 80% of smartphone users look at their smartphone within 15 minutes of waking up and on average mobile users open their smart phones 110 times every day. Having your business logo as an icon on a clients phone is an incredible way of staying in a clients mind. With the addition of Push Messaging, Loyalty Schemes and useful information and functionality such as opening hours, click to call functionality, online booking, offers etc. A mobile app will help to keep clients aware of your business in the gap between appointments.
New client retention is a particularly important when a client initially starts visiting a salon as they are most vulnerable to leaving before they have visited you 3 or 4 times. Being able to run a New Client Loyalty scheme as well as other loyalty schemes you have going can improve retention rates of new clients.
How easy is it for clients to find your telephone number, book an appointment or get in touch with you? In most cases its not that easy. Often the first port of call is the web, but do you have a website? Is it easy to find? And once found, is it easy to access the information? A Mobile App can help in all of these areas, once a client has downloaded your app they have the ability to call you with a single click, find you with GPS navigation, find out your opening hours and make contact with you easily. In addition you can give access to your social media pages and your website content.
It’s not easy keeping staff motivated or providing a consistently high quality service, however, a Mobile App can help. A review system allowing clients to review their service by staff member, that the salon control and which has a reporting system to monitor the reviews staff get, can help greatly. Reviews can be used as a Key Performance Indicators and a criteria for promotion or rewards. Getting a 5* review will start to become a priority for staff and will create healthy competition in the team. As well as the obvious motivational benefits the ability for new clients to see which staff get the best reviews will help staff to become busy with full columns as a direct result of doing a great job, overall you, the client and your staff benefit.
I’m a Hair Salon owner, every day I get bombarded with rubbish email offers and telephone calls from people trying to sell me stuff that I don’t want and don’t need. They waste my time and take me away from the important things in my business and importantly my staff and clients.
However, back in January 2015 I learnt a massive lesson…amongst the long list of spam emails and rubbish I received an email from a company called Bright Salon, I glanced at it as it had an interesting subject line and quickly thought it was just another online booking software system, I have one already so did not think anything of reading past the first line which said “Salons required for FREE trial of salon specific marketing system” and just deleting the email, which I did as I do with most emails I receive.
A couple of weeks later I received a phone call from a man called Ross Kernick asking why I hadn’t taken up his offer, I did not know what he was referring to, however, after explaining the email I did vaguely remember it. I said, oh no, I’m not interested in that as I already have a software booking system. I felt good being able to knock him back and get him off the phone as quickly as possible, however, he replied.
“It’s not about a booking system, although your booking system can be incorporated into it, the email was offering you the chance of trialling a new salon system completely free of charge forever with a lifetime of free updates and enhancements when they are developed.”
Now, as you can imagine this caught my interest so I asked him to explain again what he was doing. He said he had developed a smartphone app system for salons and he was looking for salon businesses local to him to trial it. He said in return for trialling it if I wanted to continue using it he would provide it to me free forever and with free updates and enhancements for as long as I wanted it too. All he asked was to get feedback, to work with me to make it better and to use my salon for any photography and filming should he need to in the future to promote the app. After explaining what the app did and the opportunity, I had no hesitation in saying yes.
Ross was quick to say that he was surprised at the lack of response to his initial email. He had sent the email to 10 well-known decent sized salons in the area and had no replies. I was the first one on his list and if I had not answered his call another salon would have certainly gained this offer before me.
I have now had the app in its current version for nearly 12 months. Over 1800 clients have downloaded my salon app and they love it. I love it too as it is saving me a staggering amount of money. Ross asked me to put my experience down for him to use to encourage others not to be so quick to delete emails after we spoke about how lucky I felt I had been in getting the call after initially deleting the email and how easily the offer could have slipped through my fingers.
I now spend a little more time looking at emails as I don’t ever want to miss out on an offer like this again, it’s made a huge difference to my business and I would have no hesitation in recommending any Hair or Beauty salon, manicurist or clinic in taking on the Bright Salon smartphone app. At the very least get some more information about it before assuming you don’t need it, every salon in the UK can benefit from this smartphone app, it’s brilliant.