As a salon or barbershop owner or manager, you know that a good appointment and waitlist system is essential to keeping your business running smoothly. In our increasingly digital world, creating a cutting-edge (no pun intended) customer experience for your business is crucial.
A waitlist and appointment management system helps keep track of customers and staff to ensure that everyone gets the services they need promptly. Whether you take appointments only, walk-ins only, or both, a digital solution will help centralize all of your client activity while delivering a convenient experience that’ll have your customers coming back again.
If you don’t have a system to effectively manage your appointments and walk-ins, it can lead to customer frustration and, ultimately, lost business.
Benefits of waitlist and appointment apps for salons and barbershops
A digital salon scheduling and waitlist app that’s accessible from anywhere will save you time and keep your business organized. The best appointment apps out there will not only automatically manage your staff’s calendars, but they’ll also allow you to manage waitlists for walk-ins.
Here are the core benefits of a queue management system like Waitwhile:
- Centrally manage calendars. Many salons and barbershops have multiple stylists managing their own calendars. With a digital solution, you’ll be able to manage all calendars in one place. Staff can set their own hours and make edits to their availability. Managers can see the full picture from anywhere, on any device.
- Virtual waitlist. Allow customers to join a virtual waitlist from anywhere for walk-in services. Customers will be able to see how long the wait is and show up when it’s their turn, eliminating the idle time spent sitting and waiting – and reducing crowds in your business. Learn more about how virtual queues work.
- Save time. Salon and barbershop owners can save time by managing their appointments and waitlists all in one place. Tedious tasks like calendar management and appointment reminders are automated, giving you more time to devote to delivering an excellent customer experience.
- Reduce no-shows. Customers will receive automatic reminders via email or text message. They’ll also be able to cancel or reschedule on their own.
- Stay connected. In addition to automated messaging, you can send custom messages at any time using your scheduling and waitlist app. Customers will be able to respond or ask questions, too, opening up a vital two-way communication channel.
- Customer retention. Haircuts and salon services are cyclical. With a queue management system, you can message customers on a set schedule to remind them to schedule their next appointment or to check-in on how their latest trim or dye job is keeping up.
- Increase customer satisfaction. Digital waitlist and appointment booking systems are convenient all around. They make running your business easier while delivering flexibility and ease to your customers.
How to choose your salon’s appointment app
Now that you know the benefits of using an appointment app at your salon or barbershop, it’s time to choose one. Here are a few factors to consider.
The user experience
Appointment apps should be user-friendly – that goes for both you and your customers. The app should be easy to navigate and understand. Apps that are slow or difficult to use will add to your stress levels and deter customers.
Be sure that you choose a solution that doesn’t require your customers to download any additional apps. Cloud-based solutions like Waitwhile run in a browser and will work on any device with an internet or cellular data connection.
The hardware required
Go with an app that can run on any device. This will ensure that you can use the devices you already have (like tablets, computers, and phones) and that you won’t incur any additional costs in purchasing new equipment just to run your virtual appointment book.
The ability to work efficiently on cellular data
Some people have spotty internet connections. Others may try accessing your appointment booking app or virtual waitlist while not on WiFi. Choosing a solution that can work quickly on cellular data means that you won’t lose out on customers who get frustrated and decide not to book.
The number of staff members that can be accommodated
Customers should be able to see which stylists or barbers are available at any given time. You'll want to ensure the app you choose can connect to multiple calendars and have individual profiles for each staff member. If you run a large business, be sure there are no caps on how many staff members your system can handle.
Robust business analytics
It's crucial to be able to track how your business is doing. Look for an appointment app that provides robust business analytics, such as:
- Appointment & walk-in volume
- Average serve time by staff member
- Average waiting time
- Customer retention rate
- New booking rates
- Cancellation & no-show rates
You’ll also want to make sure your virtual appointment book has note-taking capabilities. That way, your stylists or barbers can make detailed notes about each customer (e.g., preferences, personal stories, etc.) so that you can deliver a personalized experience every time they come in for a service.
How to reduce wait time friction at your salon or barbershop
If you take walk-ins (and even if you don’t), waiting is likely a part of your customer experience. But most people really don’t like waiting. In fact, a Waitwhile consumer survey revealed that 75% of people associate waiting with negative emotions like boredom, annoyance, or frustration.
A poor waiting experience can derail an entire visit for a customer. A queue management platform allows you to make the wait a much better experience by keeping customers in the loop and providing regular updates.
Here are a few ways you can reduce wait time friction at your salon or barbershop.
- Provide regular and reliable wait time estimates. When customers know how long they'll have to wait, it takes guesswork and frustration out of the equation. The best way to do this is to provide regular and reliable wait time estimates. Barbershop waitlist apps like Waitwhile use machine learning to deliver the most accurate wait times possible and send automatic updates to customers to keep them in the loop.
- Offer virtual queuing with a waitlist app. Prevent your salon or barbershop from getting cramped by offering virtual queues. Customers will be able to wait anywhere they want, and you won't have to worry about manually managing a waitlist.
- Allow customers to book appointments online. Appointment scheduling software can help customers access your salon appointment books online. Be sure you choose a solution that will allow you to easily add appointment booking to your website. With Waitwhile, you can even allow customers to book an appointment or join your waitlist from your Google Maps listing.
- Use an appointment reminder system. An appointment reminder system can help reduce the number of no-shows and late arrivals. Customers will automatically receive text or email reminders about their upcoming appointment. In the best apps, you’ll be able to customize messages and specify when they’re sent.
- Make it easy for customers to cancel and rebook their appointments. Customers should be able to cancel and rebook their appointments easily. Ideally, they’ll be able to make changes on their own without needing to call or visit your business.
- Use a queue management app to manage appointments and walk-ins at the same time. Managing both walk-ins and appointments manually can get very difficult, very fast. A queue management app will handle everything for you automatically, allowing you to deliver accurate wait time estimates for walk-in services while still taking pre-booked appointments. You’ll also reduce wait times for both types of customers.
Waitwhile: The virtual appointment book for salons and barbershops
In today’s digital-first world, consumers have become accustomed to the convenience that comes with tech-driven experiences. With a virtual appointment book and waitlist app, you can drive customer satisfaction by offering your salon or barbershop customers flexibility, personalization, and a better overall experience.
Waitwhile will allow you to easily set up appointments, manage virtual waitlists, give accurate wait estimates, and save customers the pain of waiting in line. Try it free here.