We're all looking for ways to save time and money but we don't always take advantage of the solutions that are staring us straight in the face.
Online Bookings unlock a world of new clients and opportunities.
But rather than hearing it from us, we've spoken with our brightest businesses directly, who have taken their business to the next level by unleashing online bookings.
We've captured their insights and outlined the top 5 reasons online bookings changed their life:
1. Cut your workload in half
You’re in the business of making peoples’ days. Your clients know you for your high-quality services and an unforgettable experience. It's what they come back to you for! And yet, you seem to spend so much of your time answering the phone or responding to emails instead... Enable online bookings to free up time and focus on what you do best.
One business owner based in London told us she spent nine hours a week managing her calendar. That’s nine hours she could have spent on her craft helping her clients become happier and healthier. When she enabled Fresha online bookings, those nine hours reduced to just one. She saved an entire day’s worth of work per week.
Time is not only reduced but also much better optimized. Blake who runs Flappers & Gentlemen in Leicester said his front of house staff are able to spend more time greeting clients and preparing appointments because "the phone has gone quiet but the calendar is still just as full."
Another merchant said that while it's hard to admit, her own receptionist position has been made almost redundant.
2. Keep your business open 24/7
Enabling online bookings means that your clients can book with you 24/7, based on your true availability. Clients have the freedom to book at their own pace, on their own watch. Bookings are often made outside your working hours, so you’ll boost sales by staying “open for business” even when you have finished working for the day.
Lesley from The Therapy Hut said that she used to spend her evenings following up on missed calls, texts, and voicemails, time she'd much rather have spent with her family.
"People still ring up the phone a lot but since we've included a message suggesting they book online in our voicemail, there's no need to leave a message or call us back. I'm able to clock off completely at the end of the day and spend more time with my family. As well, we tend to find that when we wake up in the morning the calendar is full with new appointments"
Life gets in the way sometimes, especially for busy people. Having the option to book on their commute home or before bed brings a level of convenience clients didn't previously have.
3. Grow your online presence
Due to its convenience, industries that used to rely heavily on the telephone for booking appointments have been disrupted by the Online world in the best way possible. Of course there will always be a place for the telephone; sometimes a human’s voice just cannot be substituted... However, businesses can make the entire booking process easier and more streamlined for clients to free up the phone line for the more important conversations.
The Speakeasy Barbershop in Prescot caters to a younger age demographic that owner Lesley says has abandoned the telephone altogether;
"Society, in general, seems to be steering away from phone conversations. If they don't have to, they won't call. They'd rather text or "like" something instead. So online bookings have made it super easy for the younger generation, who we're seeing schedule appointments with us more and more."
Making an appointment via social media is a piece of cake now as well, sync your online system to the likes of Facebook, Instagram, and Google Reserve to give your clients the ability to book from a platform they’re familiar with. They can also share your business directly with their family and friends. Word of mouth on a much grander scale; social media has become an essential marketing tool in the Beauty and Wellness industry. Lesley told us;
"We're covered on all social bases. The over-60s who aren't generally as tech-savvy can still navigate to the book now button on our website (usually). Instagram is great for the younger age group and those that want to scan our haircuts before they book, and Facebook brings a mix of all ages and preferences too."
4. Tighter security, fewer mistakes
With billions of dollars worth of services booked and transactions made online every day, online bookings and payments are now more secure than they’ve ever been. Client details are protected by fortified networks, so clients are more comfortable putting sensitive information such as credit card details onto their Fresha profile. All for a secure and faster checkout at the end of their appointment. Clients benefit from the convenience, and so can you. Ensure that you're paid on time and set up features like no show protection policies that are actually enforceable because now you have payment details securely on file.
Andreea from Blush + Blow says taking payments is so much easier now that client card details are already in the system;
"The payments system is amazing. Being able to charge for no shows is more convenient for us, and the client benefits as well because they know our policy."
No shows and last minute cancellations are the worst. It's an industry-wide problem that Fresha is tackling from the source.
There's always at least ten things happening at once when you're running a busy salon or spa. Mistakes sometimes happen so it's no surprise that appointments are sometimes scheduled for the wrong time or service and a phone number or email address is taken down incorrectly.
At Daniel Rymer Hair, Daniel said they had their clients messily organised on paper before they made the switch to online bookings. Now he says everything is kept track of. "It's all there for us, black and white. Now we can concentrate on cutting hair."
When customers have the ability to book themselves, they can make sure all the details are accurate so you can be confident that confirmations and reminders are being sent to the right address. A cleaner client base gives you a better return when you launch marketing campaigns and automated messaging tools. They're less likely to arrive in your client's junk folder too. Names, addresses, and contact details are secured and protected at all times with an online system.
5. Smarter insights
One of the best things about enabling online bookings is it's completely in sync with your business calendar and management system. All bookings, clients, and sales automatically appear in your system, so you'll know who booked what, and where they came from. Andreea (Blush + Blow) says
"We use everything in Analytics, it's so easy to see who has made a payment and how much we have made in sales over the month. We take tips too, and our old process involved recording everything on a piece of paper. The paper always went missing... Tips are so much easier to keep track of now so our team is happier."
Up-selling extras and add-ons is easy when clients can see everything on offer right in front of them, and online service descriptions give customers more clarity about what they're booking.
Perri from the Revitalize Beauty Salon found that by letting clients book in their own time and by crafting the perfect service menu, they're discovering new treatments and products all on their own.
"In the salon, we would be throwing a million options at them for treatments. Now clients don't have that same pressure and they actually end up buying more because they can see all our services in front of them with descriptions, so they know exactly what they need."
And there you have it. The 5 reasons merchants have given us for activating online bookings. We can't wait to hear from them again soon as they continue to boost their business to its full potential. Sky's the limit!
Thank you to those that we spoke with!
The Therapy Hut/Speakeasy Barbershop, Prescot
Blush + Blow, London
The Painted Lady, London
Flappers & Gentlemen, Leicester
Revitalize Salon, Kent
Daniel Rymer Hair, Bristol