To operate a successful business requires that you pay some attention to the mundane details. Details like client contact information, appointment scheduling, clients’ color formulas, financial record keeping, and more.
Apps shine in the arena of the mundane. A scheduling app, for example, can save you the back-and-forth conversations that happen when a client wants to set up an appointment with you but you’re not immediately available because you’re busy working your magic with another client, and you don’t have a receptionist or trusted co-worker to set the appointment for you.
A scheduling app is also convenient for the client, who simply calls up the app on his/her phone or computer and chooses a time slot from the ones you’ve made available.
This all takes place “in the cloud,” which is a collection of remote servers accessible via the internet, so you don’t have to worry about your computer crashing and having all your scheduling data die with it, because it’s not even on your computer.
Some scheduling apps even take a deposit for you, which goes a long way towards eliminating no-shows. It would be a rare person indeed who would no-show for an appointment they’ve already partially paid for.
Some of these apps integrate with the calendar app built into your smartphone, so you always have your schedule with you and can set an appointment on the fly without having to check back with the salon to see what’s in the book.
Scheduling apps are just one example of how app technology can make your business life easier. And that’s only the beginning.
Apps exist that keep digital records for each of your clients — contact information, color formulas — everything right at your fingertips. No more running around in a mad search for a misfiled record card when it’s time to retouch somebody’s color.
And what about doing your taxes? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to call up all the necessary information with a few clicks of a mouse?
Well, the right apps can make all this happen for you, provided you’re willing to do a couple of things. First, you have to be willing to put in the time and effort to get them set up and keep them current. For example, with a scheduling app, you need to go through the settings and indicate what time slots you’re available to work. You don’t want someone scheduling you to cut their hair at a time when you already have prior commitments.
The app will do the scheduling work for you, but you have to tell it what slots are available for its use.
The setup required for a record-keeping app requires some data entry. You have to enter the data manually before the app can keep track of it, and as that data changes, you’ll need to update it manually as well.
The second thing you need to do is keep backups of all the data that’s stored on your own computer. Computers are not infallible. They do crash occasionally and when they do, you’re going to want to be able to restore your data in just a few clicks, instead of having to re-do the entire setup again. The few extra minutes it takes to back up your data is nothing compared to the hours of setup needed in case the unthinkable should happen.
But as great as apps are for handling the mundane aspects of your business, they’re never going to replace your magic. After more than a year of social distancing, I’d be very surprised if we weren’t all suffering some degree of human contact deficiency.
Computers and apps make your business more efficient, but that’s not why your clients come to you for service. I believe there’s a point of diminishing returns ongoing digital. The quality of your service can start to suffer when you spend more time recording the service in the computer than you do actually delivering the service.
People don’t come to you because of how high-tech your business is. They want a comforting presence and a sympathetic ear to go with their scalp massage. No mere app can let a client know they’ve been heard and can prove it by giving them just what they wanted in a hairstyle and making them feel good about themselves in the process.
So, by all means, use apps to make your business more efficient. Delegate the mundane to your apps, so you can free yourself to pursue the magic that is your core competency.
We all need more magic in our lives, and you’re one of the people who can deliver it.