An incredible amount of research has been done concerning how to create and keep better habits. Part of the interest in the topic stems from a desire to optimize what we are already doing, and become more efficient both at work and at home. But what you might have realized through experience, and what research supports, is that it can actually take a long time before something new becomes routine—66 days, in fact. Setting up systems and using new technology can involve a significant investment in time up front, but making the investment now will save you time and money in the future. Here are two key ways that putting in that effort now will exponentially benefit your business in the future.
Automate Scheduling to Save Time (and Keep Customers Happy)
Operating under the “don’t fix what isn’t broken” mentality, some business owners still do manual spreadsheet scheduling, which often leads to lost time and, ultimately, lost revenue. According to a study done by the Aberdeen Group, automating scheduling and payroll results in reduced time spent on workforce management for 39 percent of those surveyed. These businesses incurred a reported 36 percent reduction in clerical error—which means more time to spend on another part of the business.
Automated scheduling is also more staff-friendly. Much of the current software on the market has features that can make your stylist’s lives easier, like mobile access to schedules, and calendar syncing. In another study conducted by the Aberdeen Group, organizations with automated scheduling solutions were more than twice as likely to provide the feature of self-service access to employees, meaning they could correct a scheduling problem in advance. Just this little change leads to greater employee satisfaction by allowing everybody to feel their voice is heard.
Finally, automated scheduling increases customer satisfaction. Many scheduling tools offer your customers the ability to book online or receive a text reminder, cutting down on the back-and-forth that can lead to missed appointments. The same Aberdeen Group study shows that automated scheduling lead to a 7 percent improvement in customer satisfaction and an 8 percent improvement in customer retention. While setting up and learning how to use a new tool requires an initial investment of your time, an automated scheduling solution can lead to an increase in organizational efficiency, the quality of your customer’s experience, and ultimately, an improvement of your finances by using your employees’ time efficiently.
Use Existing Data to Improve Customer Relationships
Understanding the numbers behind your business gives you a benchmark to move forward. This data could be just about anything, from the number of appointments you are booking in a week to the success of a Mother’s Day promotional email campaign. But many businesses don’t capitalize on the information they could be collecting: 46 percent of small businesses don’t track inventory, which is just one source of information that can impact your margins and your ability to forecast demand.
Businesses can also track email marketing campaigns, which have a return on investment of up to 3800 percent, or collect data using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool. Customers are the most important part of your business, and as consumer choice continues to grow, maintaining these relationships is more important now than ever. Nearly half of small businesses surveyed said that improving existing customer experience and retention is their primary focus for 2017.
One of our customers at Cue keeps brief notes on the personal conversations she has with each client, along with records of the client’s appointment history and preferences, allowing her to develop a truly unique and personal client/stylist relationship. While it may seem like software applies only to internal procedures, dialing in your data and automating your scheduling can help you keep your customers happy—and, ultimately, keep them coming back.
About the Author
Fiona Foster is the marketing and product development specialist at Cue, which helps you find, purchase, and manage the software solutions you need for your business — all in one place.