Why online booking for salons doesn’t work

Why online booking software costs you more than just money.

The promise of time-saving technology combined with its ability to earn you more money. Have you salivating at the thought of finally getting a lunch break at work. But whose time are they saving anyway?

We have all seen them (imagine Batman sound effects)


Grow Your Business More Easily With The Online Booking System for Hairdressers!


Appointments & clients. Control appointments, clients and notes at the touch of a button.


Never Miss A Salon Client Booking Again … Booking A Hair Appointment Online.


Boost your customer loyalty. Download us today etc.

But do they deliver on what they promise? 

I don’t think they do and here is why.

1. They can create twice as many communications for you and your customer.  

2. They often create gaps in your diary.  

3. They may tempt your customers away from your business and straight to your competition.

Are they providing you with a real solution or are they costing your reputation?

There is a thing called Hicks law, it describes the time it takes for a person to make a decision as a result of the possible choices he or she has: increasing the number of choices will increase the decision time. It’s why for me shopping at Tesco’s takes an hour compared to shopping at Lidl. (There’s one type of ketchup compared with Tesco’s 19 different brands of ketchup)

Whose time is it anyway?

When the software companies mention the time saving aspect of their genius spreadsheet. Are they not just putting the work or admin onto your customers. Like a self service checkout at Tesco? I ask myself when did I start working for Tesco’s?

1. They can create twice as many communications for you and your customer.

There are 300 plus software companies that offer online booking services for hair and beauty businesses. For a fixed monthly fee you can get your customers to book online and get data and analytics to help you grow your business. 

“Online Booking” for hair and beauty isn’t a perfect science. If it was receptionists wouldn’t need to exist. And do the data analytics give you any real insights that you aren’t already aware of?

Online booking for restaurants and cinema tickets and flights work. Why because it’s a simple process that doesn’t have nuance.

“Table for 4 at 7 pm on Friday please.”

Reserving a table at your favourite restaurant is easy to do online. Takes a few seconds.

Think about your client looking to book in “online” they are confronted with multiple options what stylist, what service, what time, what date, which type of colour, toner, treatment etc. Does your client know all of these terms? Is it jargon to them? Do they bail? The difficulty to get through the multiple-choice questions leads to the customer calling the salon anyway to double-check. This is frustrating because the whole point of “the software” is to save you time and be convenient for your customers?

Like when you have to do anything twice it’s frustrating. When you pay to do things twice it’s even more so. This booking process malarkey should be seamless and simple. 

2. They often create gaps in your diary. The Gaps, What are the Gaps?” 

Online booking allows your client to have control of your column. Is it correct for someone who doesn’t know exactly what service they need, to be in charge of your diary?

What I hear from salon owners is that online booking creates a gap in the column where you don’t have clients. These gaps are almost impossible to fill once the day has begun. The idea that online booking generates you more income yet creates gaps in your column doesn’t make sense. This flaw has the potential to cost business hundreds of pounds every week. This issue is created because the customer is in control of your column. Why would you let someone with ZERO salon experience become your receptionist? Do they know the difference between a root tint or an ombre? Do they know the time difference between a half head of highlights or a full head? a line-up? a fresh fade? Probably not. And yet they dominate your column.

3. They try and tempt your clientele away

So this is the sneakiest trick of them all. You pay them a monthly subscription for a diary. Then they get somebody else to pay them for access to your database and they can share your clients with their new clients. Just process that for a second. From your data, they can create 3 revenue streams. One from you, the subscription, one from the “third party company” to shill there wares and one from your competition who will pay to access your customers. 

When you use online booking software. You share that data with the company that you pay to provide you with software to manage your database. We have evidence that some of these companies are emailing your customers behind your back and enticing them to try another salon, stylist or barber. By offering discounts or other benefits to try someone new. I know it’s shocking. I couldn’t believe it. Do you know what they email your customers on your behalf? Do you know what they email your customers without your knowledge? Please ask your customers to get them to show you the emails they receive from your salon software provider. You’ll be surprised.

What is the solution? 

We have to turn everything on it’s head. We have to build from within our own salon network. We have to strengthen the bonds we have with our existing staff and customers. The pre-Covid promise of supplying you with new clients to grow your business, has not changed for a post Covid world. Regulations, health and safety practices have changed. No longer can anybody walk into your salon and book in. And the battle for online supremacy is so noisy that no one person can win. To build a business takes one customer. That one customer can share you with their nearest and dearest. These principles seem to have been thrown out of the window with social media. Many have lost their focus. We have to get back to basics and we build a solid business with solid foundation. It’s a principle of life.

How do we do that? To control your column is even more important in a post corona world. The huge rush when we re-open is going to be difficult to manage. We have new protocols to develop and guidleines to work within. We have to reset the business and make changes that will have long lasting affects on your business. We have to increase prices, increase appointment times. This will lead to a decrease in customers.

GoSalon is a good first step to reset some of your businesses outdated protocols. GoSalon provides all of the tools you and your customer need to grow your business. Securely, efficiently and effectively. 24/7 

GoSalon is a peer 2 peer network that helps you build within your existing customer base. It breeds customer loyalty in a way that is unique and in a way that all of the other competing software providers do not.

For starters they do not sell your information with any third party which is a plus, They provide a bespoke shortcut solution that lives on your customers’ phone that links directly to you. Think of it as your very own Bat Phone. (I knew the batman references would come in somewhere)

GoSalon makes booking appointments easy for your customer and reduces the chance of mistakes. 

GoSalon does not have to be downloaded from an app store, it links them from your chair. 

GoSalon provides a genuine retail solution for your customers that they will use and earn you a referral fee.

GoSalon provides a payment solution that will eradicate your bank fees. Instantly modernise your salon system with GoSalon. Free to join and easy to love. 

Why? as a hairdresser myself I wanted to solve two things, How to sell more retail and how to stop the phone ringing. It just so happened that in the process of building GoSalon we solved three, The third was keep more of the money I earn and I believe that’s useful for everyone. 

About the author @aarondornhair
Aaron Dorn is a hairdresser with twenty years of experience. A background in finance and computers. He continues to cut hair and is a consultant for several companies within the hair and beauty industry.

Gosalon GoSalon is a platform that enables you to sell via recommending whatever you want to your customers. We make it easy for you to earn money from your favourite products. It’s brand new & It’s free to join and is available by reserving your namespace here

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