8 Essential Website Integrations to Secure More Salon Bookings

Severine Hierso

No website is an island.

We all understand the necessity of staying connected. Whether socially or in business, an entity with no outreach will often wither. A website can offer miraculous solutions to all manner of pressing needs and be just what a customer is looking for. 

Yet without the connectivity to ensure that the customer knows about it, a business will be left with no customers. When it comes to business objectives, achieving visibility must be a priority.

Thankfully, some integrations can help achieve business impact, and the world of salon bookings is no exception. As far as business sectors are concerned, salons offer a great model for integration. 

If it feels daunting, don’t let that put you off trying. Most great haircuts get worse before they get better, to provide a relevant, if slightly dubious, analogy.

Remember, there is no single ideal option for all businesses. It's a good idea to comb through what's available and settle on a blend of what works for you and your business team.

What are website integrations?

Website integrations are ways of connecting a website to another mechanism to heighten visibility and usability. This can be another website, an app, or SMS service.

CRM tools, such as Hubspot, can be integrated with your website to do tasks such as automating your marketing, saving time and money being spent on getting staff members to do this type of task manually.

Call tracking software that works with your overall call system and links directly to your primary website in a way that suits the needs of your business can also be a useful integration to use as it helps you track data that is crucial to your business’s success. 

The current market means that custom integrations that suit your business are readily available, and any additional features you need are easy to acquire.

The internet thrives on connectivity, so the more you do it, the more your online presence will grow. Interestingly, business thrives on connectivity too, so what feeds your online success will also help you reach your business goals.  

Back to basics

When deciding what integration platform is best for you, you need to take a look at what your business is all about. OK, it’s about delivering killer hairstyles. But what’s your capacity? How much action can you deliver? Are there particular times of the day, days of the week, or seasons in the year when, for reasons to do with staffing or other mishaps, you’re likely to have reduced capacity? 

Conversely, are there times when you will be firing on all cylinders?

You need to be sure you have the answers to these questions before you introduce the type of integration that will result in more salon bookings. There would be no point in bookings going through the roof if most of your staff are on holiday that week. 

Once you have a clear idea of exactly what you have to offer and what your potential maximum is, you will be well-placed to go get those customers. You can do that by choosing from the list of website integrations.

1. Salon scheduling software

Appointments aren’t always easy to stay on top of. If your business is utterly dependent on appointment-based commerce, you better find a bulletproof way of managing your appointments. 

Thankfully, there are a number of good packages available that will help you keep track of all your appointments. They take the drudge out of bookings and do the basic tasks, leaving you to concentrate on the necessities. 

For instance, you could invest in a virtual receptionist service. Leveraging the power of live agents and artificial intelligence (AI), such a service means leads can call in and set their own appointments thanks to smart integrations with calendar software. What’s more, these receptionists can be on duty for your clients 24/7.  

You could take this even further by integrating your salon scheduling software so it’s connected to your website. The software will automatically apply the right time frame to the process required. It will also squeeze shorter treatments into particular areas of the salon when they become available.

It will then enable credit card payments and take care of the whole transaction process, including securing client email addresses and phone numbers. Everyone, regardless of technical experience, benefits from the simplicity that’s delivered. 

The truth is, online booking is now an expected part of the customer journey. You face losing a lot of business without it.

Some packages give great online booking-page design possibilities. Others still allow for a great deal of customization. Some of the things you need to consider when choosing your package are:

  • Is it designed to cope with the priorities of your business? 
  • Can it deliver what you need without the need for a massive amount of technical knowledge? 

Make sure you’re choosing one that matches your needs and capabilities.

Shop around and see which software suits your business best. Remember that your business is all about style, impact, and appearance. The website should be as impressive to look at as your work is, so choose a suitable package that caters to this.

2. Let people know about your online booking system

Many businesses commit the cardinal sin of investing in a fabulously effective process with an amazing user experience but then fail to tell anyone about it. Make sure you spread the word to your client base. Why not give them an incentive to give it a go? A discount or an added treatment can entice customers. It’s important to get traction immediately so you get a nice quick ROI.

How you achieve this greatly depends on your usual means of communication. Posting something on Instagram may do the trick. Or you may discover that email is king with your customers. A lot depends on your target audience; feel free to mix and match a number of different approaches. Sometimes, the best marketing strategy is a varied one. 

3. Encourage your customers to spread the word

Integration doesn’t stop with what you can directly affect. Your clients’ social circles are a huge resource that you can benefit from by encouraging them to spread the word. 

This is where salons are in a class of their own. Unlike, say, accounting, the fabulous customer experience you offer is instantly visible and self-promoting. Somebody compliments your customer on their new style, and, just like that, your business has been granted some free and very lucrative marketing.

You can do your best to encourage this by offering discounts on the strength of referred business. When a new customer mentions an existing client in the online booking process, a voucher can be sent to the referring client. Automation features with salon scheduling software  can be set up to do this. Your prospective customer pool will then quickly grow.

Another integration approach is to use the advantages that a prominent public profile yields. Ask delighted customers with the most followers on social media to promote your work in return for discounts on future treatments. Customers with significant followings can be asked if they approve of being featured on your website. The more ways you can integrate like this, the better. 

4. Confirmations and reminders

Oftentimes, a customer will book and forget the appointment details within minutes. It’s a symptom of the modern world. Many of us are overloaded and overworked. It’s important to plan for this, and automation can help by sending instant confirmation emails at the conclusion of every scheduled booking. 

There’s a subtle benefit to your business here. It means avoiding lost customers through missed appointments, but it’s done under the guise of benefiting the customer through a convenient means of reminding them of their appointment information.

Reminders can then be set up which is a practice that is becoming common as can be seen in the image below:

A reminder sent the day before will be appreciated by the customer. Just remember not to overdo it. Hourly reminders throughout the week leading up to the booking are likely to be irritating, no matter how charmingly written they are.

How you send these out is a matter of personal preference. Again, your target audience means a lot. Outreach calls and SMS messages are popular ways to send appointment reminders, as are social media messaging. 

The integration you select should be able to merge seamlessly with the communication mode you favor. It will also give the capacity to automate these processes so the effort you put in is minimized. And anything that cuts out tedious administrative tasks has to be good.

5. Other automated communications with existing customers

People love to feel special, and, surprisingly, automation has many ways to help you to make somebody’s day. For example, customers appreciate birthday messages, especially if they come with a deal attached. Customer relationship management would allow you to wish every customer a happy birthday.

The process is simple. Integrate your booking system, customer relationship management (CRM) database, and outgoing communications, and you will have everything that needs to be automated. It’s an easy process that has massively disproportionate benefits. For this reason, it's one of the most popular integrations.

Applying more imagination, you could even send out messages on the anniversary of a customer’s first visit, celebrating the beginning of your relationship. Just remember to choose your phrasing carefully. It’s easy to sound over attentive or even slightly predatory if you’re not careful. Nobody likes to feel that they’re under observation.

On the other hand, a message highlighting an addition to a product range that the customer has used before is perfectly acceptable and could be warmly received. This could then entice the customer to book sooner than they were initially planning. 

6. Marketing and promotion

Worldwide, hair and beauty salons are doing well and are set to do even better over the next few years.

You need to be a part of this growth. To do this, you need to make the most of whatever marketing you can do to attract new customers. 

You can use your contact lists to send out announcements whenever you feel this will be advantageous in terms of converting potential customers. The arrival of a new stylist who has recently arrived from the hottest salon school in the land will be well worth trumpeting to your clientele. 

But news as general as new ideas and trends in hairstyling can also be worth sharing. Customers will generally value this kind of inclusion. It makes them feel part of a privileged sector, which can translate into more bookings for you.

It’s likely that your customer database will contain fields giving information on preferences. This could assist you in directing news of particular products and services to them.

As before, you need to decide on which methods are best for communicating with your customers, whether it’s email marketing or another method. It’s a great idea to establish customers’ preferences in this regard when you first capture their contact details.

7. Links with suppliers

A great integration can be achieved by working with your suppliers. Start by approaching them via email or phone. Then progress to setting up a virtual meeting, using whatever video and audio conference solutions suit everyone involved. See what you can come up with that will be of mutual benefit. 

Provided you both have permission from your contacts, you can get great results by cross-promoting and using email integrations. Your business will really benefit from the association with a trusted brand name. 

You can opt for advertising integrations if you so choose. Again, make sure that, whatever association you’re forming, the brand name has real appeal. Advertising integrations flourish when brands are in harmony. You may, as part of the ads integration, be able to achieve content integrations between the involved parties. 

You may be able to engender other party integration, such as sales integrations featuring a cut and a take-home product, for instance. If there are bargains to be had, here you will get a lot of delighted customers. 

The more good integrations you have, the more your business will grow. 

8. Using touchpoints

Wherever customers hit on a specific part of the process of interacting with your business, consider introducing automated messaging. 

These can be purely welcoming, at, say, the initial stage of booking. Or they can be informative, giving the details of your cancellation policy at another stage. Or they can just solicit further contact - ‘Got any questions? Click here’ etc. Customers value being attended to, so this sort of interactivity can add to customer experience in all sorts of ways and can certainly assist with achieving a lower exit rate from your website and business in general.

Why wait?

You need website integration solutions that will give your business a beautiful result and a real bounce. Something that will take the tangles out while leaving you free to restyle your business in whatever fashion you choose. With these website integrations, you can cut the mess and give both flat performance and dubious analogies the permanent wave goodbye.

Severine Hierso

Severine Hierso is EMEA Senior Product Marketing Manager for RingCentral Office, the leader in cloud communications solutions that offers IVR phone system.

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