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From Stress to Success: How Software Solutions Can Streamline Holiday Operations
Oct.09,2023By Boulevard Staff
Leave more room for festivities by perfecting your schedule, improving your client experience, and beyond
Though they’re a time of wonder and joy for many, the holidays are a busy, stressful time for the self-care industry. Appointments pick up as clients want to look and feel their best for holiday gatherings, demands build across the board, and it’s a little too easy to find yourself on the verge of a breakdown when the gift card system crashes again with a line of clients waiting to check out. That’s why it’s important to find software solutions that make your holidays more manageable instead of just adding to your workload.
Maybe this sounds like too much to ask for, especially if you’re used to dealing with software that wasn’t purpose-built for self-care businesses — or your digital solution of choice was state-of-the-art the first time chunky highlights were in. But it doesn’t take a holiday miracle to make this hectic season less stressful; you just need smarter technology.
5 ways self-care software makes your holidays brighter
Before you plunge into another holiday season with software solutions that make growing your self-care business harder instead of easier, remember — you still have time to make the switch to something better. And if you do, here’s what you have to look forward to:
Intelligent scheduling optimizes overstuffed calendars
The problem: One of the worst parts of dealing with the holiday rush is, well, the rush. All of your regular clients have somewhere to be, and so do all of the newcomers pouring in for a quick moment of self-care between baking cookies and wrapping gifts. The same goes for staff; there’s a unique feeling of dread that comes with trying to make a working schedule from a patchwork of PTO requests and national holidays.
The solution: Computers are really good at building efficient schedules that make optimal use of everybody’s time as long as a) they’re programmed well and b) they have the right information. For instance, Boulevard’s Precision Scheduling uses the estimated times you provide for your services and staff availability to automatically build optimized schedules, complete with built-in accounting for transition, processing, and finishing times.
It even automatically clusters appointments for fewer gaps and higher productivity. In other words, fewer late nights struggling to turn a confusing patchwork into complete coverage, more kicking back in front of the fireplace with a mug of hot chocolate (or flopping on the couch and watching holiday Hallmark movies, we don’t judge).
Client management reduces prep and improves experience
The problem: The other issue with having too many appointments and too little time? It’s easy to let all those little touches slip that make clients feel special and valued. But if somebody’s taking time out of their busy schedule for some self-care, they don’t want to feel like another widget on an assembly line.
The solution: Client management software can give your staff members everything they need to make each client visit feel bespoke — even if that particular staff member narrowly escaped the in-laws’ festive brunch party five minutes ago. By automatically saving and collecting client details, such as previous appointments, staff notes, links to social profiles, and suggested products, employees can instantly get up to date on where the client is in their journey with your business and where they need to go next.
Marketing keeps your shop top-of-mind with minimal overhead
The problem: When you’re busy putting out fires (hopefully not literally) everywhere else, it’s all too easy to let your marketing efforts slide. But the self-care industry has never been more competitive, and sitting still means falling behind other businesses that make the time to stay connected to clients both old and new.
The solution: Create more results with less work. Email marketing is one of the most powerful means of building business out there, and marketing software can make it simple to create beautiful, on-brand campaigns that will turn visitors into lifelong clients. One-time blasts are perfect for spreading the word on your hot holiday promotions, retail sales, and gift card deals. And with automated campaigns, you can send reminders to book before those pre-holiday slots are gone, give clients dibs on last-minute openings (ideal for the holiday crunch time!), fill slow days, and more.
Dedicated customer support keeps your team full of good cheer
The problem: When your whole business is under extra pressure and strain, something will inevitably go wrong. That could mean being left scrambling at the worst possible moment: “Sorry for the long wait, our schedule’s full but the system’s down and we can’t see any of the appointments right now — oh, and did you bring cash?”
The solution: Don’t go it alone. Look for a software solution with a one-on-one support team dedicated to keeping your business running smoothly. And the best kind of support doesn’t come from just anybody on the other side of the phone call or text: look for real-time responses from a team with its own self-care industry credentials. That way you know you’ll get exactly what you need and how you need it.
Automated reporting helps you do it even better next year
The problem: You’ve survived another knock-down, drag-out holiday season. But now you’re way too exhausted to start combing through countless spreadsheets to see what went well and what has room for improvement. Maybe you’ll find some time for a strategic review in February, or Q2, or… Oh. Oh no. Is that Mariah on the playlist again? Already?!
The solution: Use a software solution that helps you track your progress and align on goals with powerful built-in reporting. Instead of starting from zero with a spreadsheet full of data, use templates that were built to bring you closer to data gold, then customize them to perfection for all the unique details of your business.
Remember, it IS possible to find the resources you need to handle your holiday season — and optimize your schedules, improve your client experience, bolster your marketing, and lean on best-in-class customer support — with less stress and better results. And you can start doing it long before Ms. Carey returns from her seasonal slumber by switching to software that helps you work smarter, not harder.