Industry • Best Practice
Feb.18,2022By Boulevard Staff
What’s the number one thing you can do to keep your clients coming back? Get slick online booking software. That’s at least what 24% of the 800 beauty business clients we recently surveyed told us. The booking process is the tip of the spear for the client experience — setting the tone for the entire appointment — so it pays it get that first impression right
If you’re shopping for new online spa booking software, start here. From smart timing to easy tipping, this article reviews the key features you should look for in a winning platform.
If your online booking software doesn’t allow your customers to buy gift cards, then you’re closing the door on an excellent revenue stream. Gift cards get your clients thinking beyond their immediate needs, inspiring them to make someone else’s day with a stop at your spa. To get the most of this tactic, don’t just look at this as a checkbox feature. Find a platform that allows clients to personalize gift cards through custom designs, messaging, and more.
The more purchase options you can give your clients, the bigger an impact online booking will have on your bottom line. Platforms that support memberships and other service package deals give your clients the option to get more for their money — and give your spa a sturdier financial profile.
Everyone knows the beauty business is about relationships, so make sure your online booking experience supports your client relationships by allowing them to book with the staff member of their choosing. Elite platforms put a premium on this feature, even allowing you to customize how your employee names appear to clients so that there’s never a missed connection.
In the world of doing things online, few things are more annoying than having to reenter your information repeatedly. So don’t test your clients’ patience during booking by forcing them to rehash their name, contact information, payment details, and more. Instead, choose a platform that allows them to use a saved client profile to expedite the process.
If you’re running a multi-site business — or if you plan to — you simply must invest in a platform that gives your clients the ability to book at any of your locations This requirement may narrow your options a bit, but there are plenty of top-tier booking solutions that cater to the needs of spas at scale.
An essential feature of the client profiles should be robust social media integration: You want your staff to have quick access to each client’s online footprint to understand how to tailor the experience to their tastes and personality. The more data your online booking platform can provide for your staff, the better the appointment is likely to be.
The paradox of choice is a psychological concept that tells us that consumers get anxious when facing a wealth of options. Consequently, optimal customer experiences limit choices down to a few good options. Our online booking platform uses our proprietary Precision Scheduling™ technology to prioritize the timeslots it shows clients, streamlining their decision-making and maximizing the revenue potential of your schedule.
While some no-shows are unavoidable, there are steps you can take to keep that number to a minimum. One strategy is to use an online booking platform that allows you to require a deposit from clients to finalize a booking. This feature not only boosts the probability they show up, but also protects you in case they don’t.
Probably the best way to make sure clients make their appointments is through automated follow-ups. Ideally, your platform should be capable of sending an email confirmation after the client books, then a series of reminders via email and SMS. Clients may forget to check one of these channels — but they’ll rarely neglect both.
Payment tech companies have changed the gratuity game, dramatically increasing the take-home pay of service industry workers. The introduction of the custom tipping feature, for instance, has increased the likelihood that credit orders will include a tip by over 100% for quick-service restaurants. This is a big reason you want your online spa booking software to allow clients to tip: It’s almost guaranteed to boost staff earnings.
As we covered above, your online booking software is an integral piece of your business, and you want to make sure you invest in a solution that will evolve with you. A sure-fire sign of a good tech partner is one whose platform features innovative tech like booking algorithms and other automated processes. If your platform isn’t already on the cutting edge, chances are it will be even further behind soon enough.
Don’t just turn away clients when key slots are booked up! No-shows and cancellations are always on the table, so allow your customers to jump in when one of these inevitabilities inevitably happens by finding a platform that supports waitlisting.
Beautiful client-facing tech is just good business. Research has shown that aesthetically pleasing UX makes a significant impact on business performance, increasing conversion rates by 200-400% and inspiring 80% of clients to spend more. So while the pragmatist in you might believe that looks don’t matter when it comes to online spa booking software, your inner statistician knows otherwise. So choose a platform with an undeniably slick interface.
Client control has been a theme throughout this checklist — and one of the most critical ways web-based spa software provides this is through full accommodation support during booking. Your clients should be able to choose the best timing, duration, and pricing available before they confirm. If your platform doesn’t offer this feature, you’re not providing your clients with an optimal experience. Period.
Like any substantial purchase, finding a booking solution with everything you want can seem like wishful thinking. This is exactly why we built Boulevard. We were tired of waiting for the booking platform of our dreams, so we developed it ourselves. From algorithmic optimization to gift card customization, Boulevard has everything we’ve covered here — and more.
Boulevard was built to help your business achieve profitability at scale without losing an inch of sanity. See for yourself! Get a free demo today.