When it comes to running your salon, there are so many ways to go about it. Whether you rely on a trusty salon appointment book or the latest management software, you need to make sure you are operating as smoothly as possible.

So, in this week’s blog, we are going to take a look at one of the latest salon management tools – booking apps.

Booking apps offer benefits for both salons and clients. Sign up and you can add you salon to the directory of businesses, where clients have 24/7 access to your menu and can book at the tap of a button.

But, you might be wondering if it really is worth it for your beauty salon or barbershop. What is there to gain? And, are there any downsides?

We take a look at the benefits and possible negatives to help you decide what is right for your business..

What are the benefits of using booking apps?

1. They can save you time…

Booking apps allow clients to manage their appointment times themselves. They simply log in, choose from your available appointment slots and fill in their details themselves.

This means you can free up time spent on the phone and invest it elsewhere in the business – whether this is on actual appointments, managing your staff or simply allowing yourself more time to get to know your clients.

2. …AND save your client time

Another big plus for booking apps is that they can save time for your clients. For many people these days, being able to quickly book online is a huge advantage – just look at how quickly takeaway ordering apps took off!

For clients who value their time over anything, a booking app could make them more likely to become a loyal customer, as they know they can quickly and easily arrange their next appointment. This could put you at an advantage over your competitors.

Related: How to Build Loyalty With Your Salon Customers

3. 24/7 booking system

As we mentioned in our last point, many clients find themselves stretched for time. Between work, looking after families and squeezing in socialising, they might not have time to give you a call during your salon opening hours.

Booking apps mean your clients can arrange their appointment whenever is most convenient to them – whether this is when they’ve finished a late shift or just put their kids to bed. Making yourself available for your clients whenever you need them is a brilliant benefit of booking apps.

4. You can attain new clients and grow your business

There is a whole host of potential new clients available to you when you use a booking app. They are a great way to put your salon out there to a new audience and get new faces through the door.

Plus, if you don’t have a website yet, your app page can act as your digital shopfront, which can really help you market yourself online.

Related: How to Attract New Clients Through Social Media with Not Another Salon

6. You get verified reviews

Reviews are so important for growing businesses. However, getting them out there can be hard. Most booking apps encourage clients to leave reviews and rate your salon for everyone else to see. You can also be assured that all reviews will be verified, so you don’t have to worry about receiving fake reviews.

Related: How to Deal With Online Reviews & What to Do About Negative Ones

Are there any downsides of using a booking app?

1. You lose out on speaking to clients first

We know how important it is for salons to have a strong personal relationship with their clients. While booking apps are great for getting new business, it misses out one of the main points of contact your have with your clients.

Be aware that when one of your new clients who have booked on the app walks through the door, this is the first time you will have spoken to them. If you prefer to have a quick chat on the phone first, this might not be something you are comfortable with.

2. You rely on the app for your salon running

Some booking apps offer a number of features that allow you to manage your business. This includes your finances, staff and appointment diary. For some businesses, this is just what they want. Others might prefer their own tried-and-tested management systems.

Make sure you really take a look at what your chosen booking app offers and put some thought into how it will integrate with your business.

3. Would your clients use it?

Booking apps are an investment, so be aware of the costs involved. While the potential for new clients is great, think about whether your business offers the type of service that is in demand on booking apps. Can you benefit from this?

Take a look at what other salons in your area are offering on the app and whether you think you can compete successfully with them.

4. Can you capture some loyalty?

If you prefer to focus on client loyalty, you will need to make sure you pull out all the stops to get your new app-bookers back in the salon!

With an array of hair, beauty and barbershops all competing for clients on the app, many will offer discounts and deals to lure them away from you. If you aren’t in a position to do this, you will need to make sure your new clients receive the best possible service to keep them coming back.

What are the best booking apps available?

Are you thinking of signing your salon or barbershop up to booking app? Here are some of the leading options available now:

Treatwell

Treatwell is great for all hair and beauty services for both men and women. As one of the leading booking apps, you can set up an attractive information page to show off your pictures and client reviews. They also offer Point of Sale salon software which you can integrate with the app.

Booksy

Booksy is a particularly good option for barbershops, though it also caters to most other beauty services, too. They also offer a full management software tool, so you can check up on your business performance easily.

MINDBODY

MINDBODY is more geared towards the health and wellness market, with most services being yoga and fitness classes. However, it does cater to hair and beauty services, too. If you offer massages, aromatherapy or other wellness based treatments, this could be a good marketplace for you.

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Time for more? Visit the Salons Direct blog for more help and advice…

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