We spoke to industry legend Jo Burgess, co-founder of Shortcuts Software, about industry trends and 30 years of Shortcuts.
INSTYLE: You’ve been at the helm of change in the hair and beauty industry for almost 30 years. What are some of the notable changes you’ve seen in client behaviour in recent years?
Jo Burgess: We’re having a ball unpacking the data with our research team here at Shortcuts; we’re digging into client behaviour to shape the problems we want to solve for Shortcuts customers. I’m delighted to share some intel here.
Speaking to salon owners and clients alike, everyone’s schedules are far more hectic than they’ve ever been. We’re constantly battling a barrage of information, and we’re all tired from constant decision-making. We’re seeing more and more people who don’t know where they will be tomorrow, let alone in six weeks when you want to get them in for their next appointment.
Gone are the days where the gold standard was to rebook a client in whilst they were in salon; we can see the reality of clients rebooking in-salon is now under 50 per cent, and we expect this will decrease further. Pair that with the fact that 40 per cent of online bookings are now being made out of business hours; if you miss those calls or streams of messages, it’s more effort than ever before to get clients back in.
The average rebooking cycle is now sitting at ten weeks on average, and getting longer, as combined with the worry of rising operational costs.
IN: What do you think is behind the shift in this behaviour?
JB: For the most part, people’s purse strings are stretched and cash flow is harder to predict, for business owners and clients alike. Clients want more control on when they book, how they book, and how often they come in. In Australia, over a third of clients book within only three days of their appointment. Over half of clients are booking within seven days of their appointment. We’re seeing a rise in popularity for walk-ins and the need for last minute appointments across all hair and beauty businesses.
We know that with working-from-home policies and remote work, many clients also have far more flexibility and less structure to their routine than ever before. Clients just have far less predictability week to week, and want to have more ownership and control in how services fit around their busy lives. Speaking to salon owners, clients are changing the dynamic of the working week for hair and beauty businesses, as they no longer want to spend their precious weekends getting pampered but instead slotting it in-between meetings, study, or looking after the kids midweek. This new cadence is likely to continue and reasonable accommodations, personalisation, and flexibility is going to be key to client devotion going forward.
IN: What does this mean for hair and beauty businesses who know they need to adapt?
JB: For your returning clients, make it easy and simple for them to control when they book in, without contacting you. It saves pain on both sides.
First impressions matter, and that starts way before they visit the salon. For new clients, the brand experience starting from your social media and website, and online booking is the first step to creating an excellent client experience for long-term devotion.
Clients these days expect to pay a deposit or pre-pay to book your services, and our research suggests they’re fine to take on transaction fees too. Shortcuts customers are receiving an average of $3,653 per month from deposits that hits their bank account before the clients even visit the salon. We’ve got to protect our cashflow, dead time, and significantly reduce no-shows, so we have capacity to figure out how to offer flexibility and personalisation in other ways.
These are some things we’re acting on here at Shortcuts ahead of our next phase.
IN: Shortcuts has a milestone birthday coming up this year, tell us about that!?
JB: Yes, we’re turning 30! This is big news as a software company, we’ve seen it all, and we’re excited to celebrate with the industry next year – watch this space! The guts of passion for me personally is helping our customers achieve their goals – it is at the heart of everything we do. Now we have an opportunity coming up to celebrate with them!
After all, Shortcuts is our customers – we’ve all been ‘Shorties’ at some stage of our professional life, whether that’s as a newbie using it for the first time in school, as an employee or industry partner, or as a seasoned business owner in the industry. Everyone’s a Shortie, and we wouldn’t be here without our amazing customers.
For more information visit www.shortcuts.com.au/the-cost-of-not-using-online-booking
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