Online Booking?

I wonder what’s the turn out if we enable online booking. We are probably one of the few salons that do not have the 24h booking service available. Note: Online bookings that we are referring to here are those with instant confirmation.

I remember those days when we were writing appointments on paper. Each customer had to repeat their phone numbers EVERY SINGLE TIME! The rules were obvious: 1) Write within your own column 2) No striking; erase mistakes, changes and cancellations. Everyone need to be able to understand what’s written. It was epic remembering the amount of holes and tears we made just from rubbing!

In year 2012, I started to transfer bookings on excel spreadsheet. It should not have been a big change but for many of us that are so used to holding scissors and hairbrushes, the keyboard was a challenge. The most important knowledge I impart to everyone at that time was… the shortcut to copy and paste! It was absurd, I know. But, the last thing we want to do was to get phone numbers wrong!

In year 2015, we integrated fully to an online appointment system. Our favourite feature is the SMS reminders that are automatically generated 24 and 3 hours before clients appointment time. It reduces the number of no show appointments and allow us to focus better working. So, wouldn’t it be a lot more efficient to enable online bookings as well? It does sound like the most apparent thing we should do! But, what’s going to happen to personalisation in service?

If you have ever contacted us to arrange your bookings, you may have noticed that you get to do a pre-consultation first before confirming a time slot, especially for chemical services. It is literally a consultation before the actual consultation. This helps us to facilitate work better because it allows us to gauge the right amount of time we will need to do your hair while at the same time giving you a clearer idea of the amount you will be spending at the end of the service. That is clearly something online booking is not able to do.

Presently, Facebook has an interesting feature to allow customers to request an appointment outside salon operating hours. With some customisation, Instagram and WhatsApp can do the same effectively. Again, they are all request that will still need some waiting time for our confirmation. But, think about this. Online bookings will give you that instant confirmation you need but it might not give us enough time to prepare to receive you. Although we can be quick at work, we would not want to rush behind your chair.

We have not completely chuck away the idea of online booking. I think there is still scope for improvements on scheduling. Perhaps, for different productivity goals?