Find out how to have an employee who answers all the inquiries on social media platforms in seconds, never sleeps, and never misses a chat.
Dec 15, 2019 · 8 min read
10 Reasons Why Your Salon Needs a Chatbot
We live in a culture of supply and demand, but unlike past eras, that supply and demand need to be immediate, to satisfy customers who have become used to not wanting to wait for things.
The era of salons operating a 9–5, Monday — Friday operation is well and truly finished.
And sure, salon owners have known that to be true for some years now. It started with one or two late-night openings during the week and the obligatory Saturdays. Then it moved to even later nights from Wednesday through Saturday. We told ourselves we were going above and beyond for our customers, and our sales during non-working hours backed up our beliefs and made the griping of our estheticians who didn’t want to work until 10 pm on a Friday bearable (just). 😅
Then came Sunday opening. These days, if you’re running a successful salon, every night is a late night and while our teams work on shifts and rotas, it’s the salon owners and managers who find ourselves working virtually around the clock to keep our businesses moving. ⏰
While the human element of running a salon business has been forced to keep up, until recently, it was the technology that was letting us down. We saw the advent of online booking, which took some pressure off front desk staff. Finally, we were able to take bookings out of hours and for clients who were at work but didn’t have time to call to book. Getting the system up and running was a drag, but our bottom line proved it was worth it.
It was around that time that we’d all started using Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Salon owners were told how important it was to connect with customers on the platforms they hung out on. So, we started posting and tweeting. But this caused as many problems as the benefits it brought. We started needing to field inquiries, not just from our website and emails, but from our social channels too, day and night.
While social platforms brought us work, they also created work. Most social conversations happen outside of working hours, when there is no front desk team ready and able to respond, so the brunt of the out-of-hours responding had to come from the salon owners and managers. And there were still missed conversations happening because even the superwomen and men who run these businesses need to sleep occasionally too. 😴
It is also not easy to answer *ALL *the inquiries on social media at working hours, as sometimes there is a new message every two minutes.
As a salon owner, nothing is more frustrating than seeing a missed sale slip through your well-manicured hands, because you weren’t there to close it.
🥤 Well, you could find a way to keep yourself awake 24/7, glued to social media. That way you’re sure to not miss a single opportunity, but all the coffee in the world isn’t going to make that fly.
👷 Employ a social media manager. Someone who is dedicated to manage your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (and who will probably convince you that you need to be on 10 other social channels too). The trouble is, they only work limited hours too — usually the same as your front desk, or even less. Another problem with social media managers is that a good professional wants a decent salary.
🕒 Have a rota for who in your team handles social stuff at different times. But who is truly going to be working at 3 am? Can they still do their day job brilliantly? And does the cost justify the revenue returns?
💁 Just deal with overnight inquiries the next day. People are too demanding. Except that studies show that 35–50 of customers choose the business that responds to them first. If your competitor opens at 8 am, and you don’t open till 10 — guess who got the customer?
💡 Automate the process. Get a salon bot. But that will take time and it’s only for big corporations who can afford it.
… Except it isn’t.
What if I were to tell you there’s a salon and spa chatbot that’s been specifically designed for salons like yours, which is completely free to use?
That’s right. FREE.
Okay, so Lily is a chatbot for salons and spas — she’s designed for businesses just like yours. Lily takes all the information she needs directly from your salons’ Facebook page. So you don’t have to waste time populating information you’ve already posted online. Lily can tell people about what services they may be interested in, give them more information on different treatments or deals, tell them where you’re located and how to reach you, and prompt them to book online.
Lily makes it personal too, greeting your customers by name and remembering them on their next visit. She’s always on, round the clock, to automatically handle any customers who visit your Facebook page, with a friendly greeting and a can-do attitude.
With Lily, you don’t have to be the richest salon in the world, but you can be one of the smartest.
**Customers don’t want to wait: **You know how it is. Customers don’t like to wait, and if have to, they will go elsewhere. Facebook tracks how quickly business pages respond to customers, and a business that shows as being ‘Very Responsive To Messages’ gets a special badge to prove it. To get this badge, your salon or spa needs to respond to at least 90% of messages, typically within 15 minutes. Lily makes sure you get — and keep — that badge — responding instantly each and every time.
**Redirect human resources. **With Lily, you don’t need one of your front desk team checking Facebook every 15 minutes. Lily chat bot answers those trivial questions instantly on your behalf, leaving your team to fully focus on the customers that are right in front of them.
**Lily is free. **Sure, there are other free chatbots available nowadays. But Lily is not only designed specifically for salons and spas, but she has way more features available (not just greeting and booking — she can even tell customers their nearest parking and which payment methods you accept). And she is super-easy to get running. You never again have to face the nightmares you had when you moved to an online booking system. Lily simply takes all the information you already have on Facebook to populate her database.
With Lily, there are no limitations: If you’re still having humans handle your social inquiries, you’re limited to communicating with one human at a time. Customers don’t like to form an orderly queue to wait to speak to you. A salon chatbot like Lily can quite literally have a thousand conversations with a thousand people simultaneously.
**24/7 availability: **Being available 24/7 tells clients that your business is receptive to their needs and is always available to help them out. And that’s a really good look to have.
**A fully integrated system. **Websites link with booking systems that link with your front desk. Back in the day, it used to be three separate things, with three separate processes and elements to oversee. But the social world is growing and merging and overlapping in one big Venn diagram. Lily directly plugs your Facebook page into your booking system, rather than it remaining a standalone media outlet.
It’s something new to talk to customers about. Clients love ‘the latest’. The latest treatment, the latest color, the latest, well, everything. They want to feel that ‘their’ salon (that’s you) is ahead of the curve. Not just ahead — it’s actually defining it.
Finding balance. Lily enables you and your management team to take an evening off from repeatedly answering the same question on social media. Reclaim that weekend. Make it truly yours.
The power of perception. We live in a society which is obsessed with looks. (It’s how we make a living). How a company is perceived is based on those first impressions too. If you have a crappy website or an out of date Facebook page, you’re going to be judged. The fact that you offer the best blow-dry this side of Hollywood counts for nothing if people don’t get past your online shop window. Having a salon and spa chatbot presents to the online world that you get trends, you know what time it is and you’re on it.
Lily salon chatbot generates revenue you would otherwise have possibly lost. Let’s face it, any good business decision comes down to the bottom line. There’s no way in hell you’d have captured that 3 am booking inquiry without her. Or answer 10–15 inquiries simultaneously. Your salon and spa chatbot has just put dollars in your pocket, and you don’t even have to pay her.
Ready to give it a go? What do you have to lose? Request your very own online angel now 👉 https://www.retentionforce.com/lily-salon-bot
Co-Founder/Customer Happiness Manager at RetentionForce
Always On — why instant service equals instant profit. Meet Lily - the first-ever AI salon bot
Dec 2, 2019 · 7 min read