Being a small business owner means you’re often filling the role of an entire team of employees. Whether it’s booking appointments, meeting with clients, or answering emails, it’s tough to manage everything while maintaining great customer service and keeping stress levels down. If you need a hand getting it all done without compromising on customer care, making a few simple tech upgrades can be a great place to start.
Here’s how 3 simple upgrades can help your business increase sales, while still having the best customer service in town:
Give customers the freedom to book online
I recently visited my hairstylist who moved to an online booking system, which I love. Now, I no longer need to schedule time in my day to call and make an appointment during their business hours. I simply visit her website, look at her schedule, and book an appointment. There’s no risk of calling the salon once it’s closed, or worse, calling and having nobody answer.
I asked my stylist what she thought of the new booking system, and she said it’s been fantastic for business—it has not only increased her sales, but she finds her clients are booking more frequently, too. And, because everything is stored in the cloud, she can manage her own schedule from anywhere. From approving appointments at home, to updating her schedule at demo shows, the online booking app makes day-to-day business much easier.
If you’re a service-based business, here are 3 scheduling apps to consider:
- Salon Monster
Salon Monster allows you to set up different services, the time each service takes, and the cost, so that customers can book appointments for the correct time frame. The app also sends out email or text reminders to your clients, and has different options for both a single business owner and a full team to utilize.
- Front Desk
Front Desk is an online scheduling system that lets you, your staff, and your clients easily manage your schedules, attendance, billing, and much more—all while on the go. Designed for any lesson-based service business such as music, art, or fitness, it helps reduce time spent on administrative chores so you can spend more time building customer relationships.
- Open Table
Open Table is a popular app that allows your customers to make online reservations. They simply select the time, the number of diners, and the app will let them know if there is a reservation available. It also allows them to find new, local restaurants and book a reservation immediately. You can also add the booking system right to your website, so customers can book there as well.
While my hair salon has made great strides towards improving their customer experience, there are several other technologies that any small businesses can use to make the customer experience even more convenient. Here are two more options to consider:
Accept debit and credit card payments anywhere
Once a haircut is complete, the customer may love their new look, but hate having to wait in line to pay. If their appointment ends at the same time as other clients, for example, the line at the front desk can be quite long. This not only sets your customer’s schedule back, but it sets yours back too, because the time you’ve allotted for each customer has now run over.
By using your tablet or smartphone with the Dream Payments mPOS unit and app, you can accept all forms of payments, including cash, debit or credit cards on the spot. Or, in this case, the salon chair. With the Dream Payments app, you also have the option to add in other products such as hair styling supplies, or even add in a discount if you’re offering a promotion to new clients.
With the Dream Payments Debit and Credit Card Reader and app, you can get to know your business better through detailed insights. Your personal dashboard allows you to view your transactions and best-selling products. This will help you know how to staff your business and prepare for busy periods. Making your client’s life easier and respecting their time in and out of the chair only adds to the customer experience.
Never miss a phone call, wherever you are
With older phone systems, you’re tied to the front desk, meaning a hairstylist may need to step away from a client in her salon chair to help out with managing the phones, while there’s a line-up of customers at the front desk waiting to pay and book appointments. This isn’t a great customer experience for the client in the chair, but if she misses that customer’s call, that frustrated client on the phone is going to call the competition for an appointment. To help manage all these aspects of customer service, you don’t have to hire more employees—you can simply upgrade your phone system to the cloud.
TELUS Business Connect™ is a VoIP phone system that allows businesses to go beyond the basic landline or mobile phone services. It has a plethora of functionalities for greatly improving customer experience and increasing sales. With this cloud based phone service, you can have your calls sent to several different devices. If my hairstylist is busy cutting my hair, for example, or if the desk assistant is with another customer, another team member can take that call from her mobile phone in the lunch area. This also means that you can use a single phone number for your customers to reach you while you’re at any of your store locations, or while you’re at home or on the road—so there’s no need to give out two different phone numbers.
If you’re looking for ways to create the best customer experience possible, my recommendation is to start with your technology. With just a few minor tech upgrades, you could set your small business apart from the competition by providing customer service that goes above and beyond.
Did you know that WIBN Members Save with TELUS?
Get $200 off the price of any smart phone on a two year term with TELUS. To redeem please email Maninder.Chauhan@telus.com or call (416) 937-9182. ( Please note: For current WIBN Members Only – Membership will be verified)