There are many ways that you can streamline the workflow in your salon. Although salons are a consumer-facing business where personal interaction is key, nothing says that you can’t automate specific repetitive tasks. Automation is a way to take back valuable time that could otherwise be spent with your clients. So, by extension, automation can actually help improve your customer service.
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.Source: Sugar Market
Not sure where to start with your salon task automation process? First, look for daily, weekly, or monthly repetition in your salon’s activities. Identify what you or your employees manually spend time doing that could be set up with some form of automation.
If nothing else, think of your tasks list as the salon owner or manager: bookkeeping, payroll, inventory management, marketing, and client acquisition and retention, as a start. Next, identify what your receptions do daily: answering phones, booking or confirming appointments, sending out thank-yous to new clients, tracking retail sales, taking payments, and more.
Now, 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.
12 ways to save time with salon automation:
1. Automated Bill Pay
A great place to start with automation is with automatic bill pay. Take a few minutes to set up your vendors on an automated bill payment system through your bank. That way, bills are submitted and paid electronically without you having to worry or take the time to find the invoices and make payments.
For vendors that cannot submit or receive payments electronically, consider setting them up with automatic payments using your salon’s credit card. From there, you can just set up your credit card for auto-pay. That way, you don’t have to worry about paying bills on time.
2. Automated Payroll
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, access W-2 and 1099 forms, view their dedications, and more. With your staff involved and responsible for their own data and banking preferences, it will free you up to do other things.
3. Human Automation
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.
4. Client Scheduling
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 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.
Having an online booking system increases the number of customer appointments by an average of over 20%.Souce: Rosy Salon Software
5. Automated Confirmations and Reminders
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…
Automated email and text-alerts reduce client cancellations and no-shows from 8% to under 1%.Source: NLM
6. Marketing on Auto-Pilot
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.
7. Lead Generation
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.
There are several great ways to automate operations when it comes to selling salon retail:
8. Suggestive Selling
Look for salon software that automatically recommends products at checkout. You want one that automatically knows past products your clients have bought and takes their current services in mind to recommend products. It’s just a subtle hint to the receptionist to make a recommendation at checkout.
9. Product Reservations
When your clients use online scheduling, you want a system that matches the services being scheduled with the client’s retail history to make meaningful product suggestions. The client can then reserve those or other products for their next appointment. The reserved products would show up on their service ticket the next time they check out. Products reservations are another ideal way to help increase sales, all while giving you an indication of what supplies you need to have on-hand.
10. Online Retail
Another way to automate retail sales is through an online store. By setting up and recommending products through your store, your clients can order as they please. However, you’ll want to encourage them to take advantage of product subscriptions for the best possible chance of recurring income. That way, they can set the duration between shipments, which keeps them stocked, and you are earning commissions without having to do extra work.
11. Automated Ordering
Salon ordering is yet another helpful automated feature. You just set your minimum stock for your inventory for both retail and back bar and have your distributor automatically fulfill your orders without having to count bottles, call your DSC or distributor or fill out forms. The system automatically lists the needed products and quantities and sends the order in for you.
12. Rewards Programs
Reward client loyalty using a system that can automatically accumulate rewards points based on pre-set parameters. For example, add rewards points to clients that refer others, use your online scheduling feature, or even buy products from your online store, for example. Essentially you want to create a loyalty program that encourages frequent salon visits and increased spending.
Rewards program members are 7x more likely to spread positive word-of-mouth marketing to family and friends about their experiences than the general population.Source: BrandonGaille
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.