Industry • Best Practice
5 Ways Self-Care Businesses Can Start Using AI Today
Oct.26,2023By Boulevard Staff
The robots are here to help — find out how AI can give you more time to care for your clients
As a self-care business owner, you have to be more than just a manager. You need to be a social media expert, a digital marketer, a client service expert, an accountant, a business development specialist … the list of hats you have to wear goes on and on. Juggling so many roles can be overwhelming, but they’re the reality of managing a successful salon or spa in the 21st century.
Have you ever considered letting a robot lighten your load? ChatGPT, chatbots, and other AI-powered tools can help you manage and automate many of these crucial tasks, reducing the mental load of managing your business while giving you more time to care for your clients. They may not be able to drive you to work (yet) or make your lunch (yet), but AI assistants can help smooth out your day in plenty of other ways. Let’s look at a few.
Brainstorm and craft social media posts
Maintaining an active social media presence is crucial for a number of reasons. Your profiles are a window into your business, allowing you to further craft a digital extension of your brand. They allow you to engage with your local community, show off stylist work, and hype up special sales or events. And they give the public a chance to connect directly with you to make appointments or send feedback.
However, coming up with new content day in and day out across a half-dozen social media platforms — each one requiring a unique approach to maximize the impact of your message — can be exhausting.
This is where tools like ChatGPT or Bard can help. If you’re looking to brainstorm campaign ideas, you can type in a prompt that will generate dozens for you within a few moments. Or if you know what you want to cover but are running headfirst into a bad case of writer’s block, ChatGPT can help write those posts for you. You can even specify which platforms you want the text to appear on for custom posts, cover your chosen messaging, get recommended hashtags, and more.
Optimizing web copy
Much like your social media presence, your website acts as a digital representation of your physical presence. It provides another avenue for booking appointments and making sales. Plus, deft use of search engine optimization can help your business appear more prominently in Google search results, increasing your visibility and organic conversion rates.
However, not everyone is a writer — and just like how it can help you brainstorm social media posts, ChatGPT can help here, too. While the copy it writes won’t be 100% usable right out of the gate (and will likely be missing that special human touch), you can use its output as a jumping-off point for your own ideas.
Automate personalized welcome emails
Clients want to feel welcome, whether walking into your location for the first time or signing up for your newsletter. In fact, nearly three-quarters of people expect a welcome email immediately after subscribing, and almost 50% of welcome emails are opened after they’re received.
With this kind of engagement, you need to ensure you have an automated system in place to reach out. The catch? These messages also need to be personal, addressing readers by name and speaking to your new contact’s specific needs or situation.
As lovely as it would be to write each welcome email yourself, that’s not realistic, so why not get a little help crafting and sending these personalized messages? Tools like Boulevard can help you automate email campaigns, like personalized welcome messages or birthdays, and algorithmically filter and send them to the right people at the right time.
Let chatbots answer client questions for you
From phone calls to text messages, how clients get in touch with self-care businesses continues to evolve. The latest method is the chatbot: An AI-powered messaging system that can help answer routine questions or take care of menial requests that don’t require human intervention.
Before you feel guilty about not having a genuine person answering each and every inquiry, you should know that chatbots are rapidly becoming an expected form of communication. Gartner predicts that a quarter of all global businesses will implement chatbots by 2027. And according to HubSpot, 40% of consumers are ok with AI tools helping them out as long as their needs are met.
For self-care businesses, one of the most essential ways chatbots can help is to lighten the load of your front desk, especially when it’s under a deluge of phone calls — just like they did for the Orlando, Florida-based Mosaic Hair Studio. The AI-powered chatbot True Lark (provided through the Boulevard service suite) automatically texts callers back with simple queries to find out what they need, whether that’s to book an appointment or simply find out what your operating hours are. True Lark integrates your branded language, suggests services, and can even make upsells to generate additional revenue — all while allowing your staff to address the needs of the clients they’re currently serving.
Filling in the gaps
Optimizing your booking schedule is the key to maximizing revenue. However, manually creating the schedules for your stylists and specialists is a chore, especially as your operations scale to address more demand. Plus, accounting for emergency bookings or cancellations is difficult without a fuller picture of your staff’s workload, and accidental double bookings increase with manual intervention.
AI-powered booking engines like REACH.ai can help you fill those gaps to maximize your staff’s productivity and earning potential. It’ll automatically scan your schedule a week in advance to find any last-minute openings or unexpected scheduling gaps and reach out to clients who are most likely to return for an upcoming appointment. And when integrated with booking platforms like Boulevard, client bookings will automatically appear in staff schedules, leaving you with one less thing to worry about.
AI’s role should be to make you and your staff’s lives easier while optimizing and automating critical workflows. By examining where blocks exist and implementing the right tool, you can alleviate these pain points and focus more on what matters to your clients — whether you’ve got one location or 50. And maybe someday it will handle lunch, too.