New innovations to streamline your appointment bookings
We’ve come a long way since the ways of salon bookings in 1994, the year Shortcuts began, when paper appointment books were used, marketing meant paper flyers and ads in the local newspaper and the world wide web was positively futuristic.
But the world lives online these days, from apps that track your sleep to online cookbooks and technology to diagnose sun damage and skin conditions. According to a 2020 survey, the average person has access to more than ten connected devices in their household.
We’re a connected society, and competition for business in the online and offline world has never been so fierce. For a business in the hair and beauty industry, it’s more important than ever to be front and centre when your clients want to find you. Serving an experience that is seamless from booking, to service, to back out the door is the top priority for savvy salons.
That’s why Shortcuts have introduced a combined single view of clients’ booked appointments and walk-ins to make managing your appointment book easier than ever, with intuitive design changes to the appointment schedule, the appointment touch tip and more.
Incorporating technology for a seamless guest journey
These days, your clients expect to not only be able to make a booking online but, in many cases, they want to be able to reschedule, confirm appointment details and even pay for services through their devices before they reach the salon. Once in the chair, they want your undivided attention – checking client cards at the front desk or leaving to rebook their next appointment at reception is a thing of the past.
“Think about the guest journey when you have a client sitting in the chair. A break and disconnection in this journey happens when you leave the client to check their client card or book their next appointment at the reception desk computer,” says Jo Burgess, co-founder of Shortcuts. “These little moments break the flow of the appointment and interrupt the guest journey."
She continues: “This shift towards a guest journey, facilitated by technology, prompted us to change our perspective and create software to suit everyone in the salon ecosystem.”
In Shortcuts 8.1, you can now access a client’s profile card directly from the newly updated Appointment Touch Tip by clicking on the client’s name. A fresh look and feel means at a glance, you can easily confirm a client’s appointment, arrival, or check them out with a few quick clicks. Additional actions have also been made accessible through the new and improved Appointment Touch Tip including reschedule, change service, and access client history or appointment notes.
A blended model is best
“The biggest change we’re seeing in the industry today, is the shift towards a more blended model, especially in the way people are booking appointments or walking-in. In the 80’s and 90’s, clients would commonly book their appointments six weeks in advance. That’s just not the case anymore. There’s a growing trend towards booking far closer to the appointment time,” says Jo Burgess.
This poses a real challenge to salons – how can you predict the future of your books, and know how busy you’ll really be? A chain of salons in the US have leant into this change, and now only take bookings three days in advance. But it’s not only salons that have had to make changes based on client behaviour.
Barbers and other walk-in businesses are finding more and more clients actually want to be making appointments, where typically they wouldn’t. Clients in 2021 are time-poor – waiting in a queue at a barbershop just doesn’t fit their lifestyle and, since the outbreak of COVID-19, there are new public health requirements for businesses that mean client details need to be recorded, and the potential of large groups of people should be avoided.
A blended model allows salons and barbers to cater to all these new factors, build their rosters appropriately and retain the culture in their business they’ve worked so hard to build.
“At Shortcuts, our focus has really centralised around the blended model and creating a more user-friendly experience for salons and guests alike,” says Jo.
Shortcuts have since built a single view Appointment Book that combines a mix of appointments and walk-in visits, so that all your guest services appear in the one place. An enhanced Walkin Manager syncs to the Appointment Book to update estimated start and finish times, for simple visibility and guest management. Walk-in services are easily identifiable and can be adjusted using the Walkin Manager.
Additionally, they’ve ensured that when staff aren’t on the floor, the Appointment Book displays this with an “Away” time slot, meaning that staff on breaks can’t be accidentally booked for service through Online Booking, Self Check-in or Walkin Manager.
Intuitive design, made to make business easier
While Shortcuts’ developers have been tinkering away making the new innovative blended Appointment Book, they have also made some stellar changes to the design that make it much easier to see important info at a glance, or a quick click, including:
- Employee level indicator – you can now identify employee levels by referring to the coloured bars underneath their names (rather than behind their photos)
- Appointment schedule – this has been updated with a new clean look and feel, as well as some small changes. Client contact details have been moved to the top of the appointment schedule for easy reference, and the date will now display in local date format. We’ve also swapped “work phone” details for “email”.
- Appointment Touch Tip – this feature also has a new look and feel and has been updated with a whole heap of helpful “at a glance” info to it, like booking source, resource (room or equipment), REQ when a client has requested a particular staff member, and appointment status.
Jo Burgess is the co-founder of Shortcuts, which began in 1994 when she collaborated with two software developers. Now, Shortcuts can be found 14,000 salons and 45 countries across the world.