Always On — why instant service equals instant profit. Meet Lily - the first-ever AI salon bot
Dec 2, 2019 · 7 min read
Always On — Why Instant Service Equals Instant Profit
As salon owners, we all know the feeling. That heart-stopping moment when you realise you’ve lost a potential customer. 😱😱😱
It happens, unfortunately. You’ve missed a call or overlooked an email request or your booking system hasn’t confirmed an appointment.
In a world of instant gratification, being tardy just doesn’t work for your customers. They want it, and they want it now. (And why shouldn’t they???)
Modern customers are fast becoming used to living in an always-on society. As a salon owner, you’ve tried to move with the trends. You’ve left your paper appointments book behind, set up an online booking system and you check the salon emails last thing at night and the moment you wake up. You move heaven and earth to squeeze in those last-minute appointments and extra, last-minute service additions for your customers.
In fact, 90% of customers rate an immediate response as ‘important’ or ’very important’ when they have a customer service question. (Source: Hubspot).
But what constitutes ‘immediate’? According to the Hubspot study, it’s 10 minutes or less. The clock is ticking. 🕐
Gone are the days when you had the luxury of shuffling through your appointment book to find a customer a slot for a week next Tuesday. Those days are over.
Thankfully, there’s a good reason to make the change to being an ‘always-on’ business.
It’s great customer service.
And great customer service earns you money. Customers are willing to spend up to 17% more with businesses who provide outstanding customer service. (source: American Express.) That’s 17% more cold, hard cash towards your bottom line.
Besides cloning yourself and your front desk team so that they are always around and available, one way to engage with customers is socially.
💁 You knew that, right? Your Insta is on fire and your Facebook is blazing with beautifully curated posts and glowing endorsements. 🔥
Sure, you reply to your DMs and your IMs the minute you see them. But is it really immediate? Probably not, if you’re with a customer, or on a call, or sleeping, or at the gym, or generally having something bordering on a life outside of work.
Twilo surveyed 6,000 customers across seven countries and determined that 89% of consumers would like to use messaging to communicate with businesses. *Nearly everyone. *Who wants to waste time making a call during working hours and having an actual conversation? 💁 Nobody. We all want to do it when we want to do it.
Facebook Messenger. The world’s largest social media platform, with over 2.4 billion users. People can communicate by messenger, add comments to posts or comment directly on user’s timelines.
**Instagram. **The world’s fastest-growing social media platform with over 1 billion users each month. People can communicate by Instagram direct (private messaging), or by commenting on posts.
Google Talk. Users can communicate with other Google users by instant message either by typing or voice memos.
More and more, people are turning to these channels to reach not just their friends, but the business they wish to connect with, too.
Your clients are clearly open to booking appointments, inquiring about services, checking your hours and your location using messaging services. But, how do you manage that? Employ a full-time 24/7 responder? Well, it’s an option, but let’s face it, it’s expensive and not going to work when everyone decides to message your business the minute they get out of work or take lunch.
But 35–50% of clients choose the business which responds to them first. (Because we already know customer loyalty is transient, at best, right?) Yet, 90% of companies take at least 5 minutes to respond to a customer message. There’s simply no easy way to do this with humans. You’d have to be a robot or something…
Bingo! Ladies and gentlemen… enter the chatbot! 🤖
A chatbot. You’ve probably seen them before. You know… those little message boxes that pop up on certain websites to answer your questions? Yeah, that’s a chatbot.
It’s all powered by something called AI, which, unless you’re a sci-fi nerd, probably doesn’t mean much. It’s Artificial Intelligence, which is changing the way we live all around us. Self-parking cars? AI. Smartphone check depositing? AI.
AI is also behind chatbots, you see. 💡 And they are coming, or already in, a salon or spa near you. Sure, using a salon chatbot isn’t going to necessarily give the same human experience as chatting with your front desk team, but it can be there when your customer needs answers and it’s outside of your regular hours.
Of course, a bot isn’t (at least not yet) going to give an identical service as your desk team. So, don’t go laying anyone off straight away. But they can take some of the pressure off.
The benefits of using a chatbot include:
They can provide basic information
They are available 24/7
They respond in less than a second
They always know their customers
They remember the preferences of clients
They are always happy to help
But isn’t having a chatbot going to be a lot of work and programming and stuff you’re not nerdy enough to understand? Not to mention the cost….
The good people at Retention Force have created a bot, but not just any old bot. She’s a salon chatbot specifically created for you, the busy salon owner! 🎉
Created just for you, Lily is a bot for salons and spas. Lily salon bot takes the hard work out of automating your business messaging.
Lily makes it easy to instantly reach out to customers who message you, saving you time and helping make sure that lost bookings are a thing of the past.
👋 Greet and welcome customers who message you
💅 Showcase your services and prices
📅 Automatically book appointments
💡 Give directions and answer other FAQs
⏰ Advise on opening hours
🗺 Provide directions to your business
☎ Provide contact details, in case someone wants to talk with you
💳 Confirm whether you take cash or card and other payment options
🚗 Advise on nearby parking and transport
💬 Keep conversations going, and remembering to be polite, saying hello and goodbye, greeting your customers by name
🔗 Link with your salon booking system to ensure there’s no double bookings or schedule conflicts
All while you don’t even break a sweat. (Unless you’re working out at the gym, with all the extra time you’ve just freed up.)
Is Lily difficult to set up?
No, in just three clicks, you can be up and running! 💗 Lily salon bot takes the majority of its knowledge from the information you’ve already got on your Facebook page, meaning there’s very little to do before you’re in business.
What’s extra special about Lily is that she has a personality! Warm, welcoming and friendly, Lily doesn’t need three espressos before it starts to be a good day for her. She’s always ready and willing to help, even at the times that you’re not.
Yes, you heard us right. Lily is*** completely free*** for salons. Having a salon bot of your very own will cost you nada. Zilch. Zip. That means from the minute Lily goes live, she’s earning you money with no return on investment to consider.
Maybe you’ll be able to make that 7 pm gym class, after all…
Lily, your salon chatbot is already fully operational on Facebook Messenger and due to launch for Instagram any day now.
Interested? (And why wouldn’t you be?) Sign up for free now!
Digital Marketing Specialist, Strategist, Content Writer at RetentionForce.