Early this year, my studio switched to a brand new online booking system after a decade of using another system. It was time to update and keep up with the times! My team spent months researching, testing, planning and implementing the conversion from the old system to a new system called Timely with a seamless crossover. The change wasn’t easy but it was totally worth the effort! Here’s why:
Easier Online Booking Experience
Although we already had the option of online booking through our website, we wanted to update the software to reflect our style. Our clients provided feedback on what an amazing experience they have at our studio so we wanted our online booking process to mirror this. Timely offered us a smooth, easy-to-use system with the option of adding multiple artists and services. It even allows us to use our own brand colours which helps us to create a beautiful aesthetic on our website. Most importantly, we can link a specific service type to particular service pages on our website, making the online booking process easy and quick for our customers to use.
Our studio coordinator works non-stop looking after the studio, taking bookings over the phone, in person as well as liaising with our everyday customers and our artists. We get a lot of online bookings but the phone does not stop ringing - it’s constant! Without online booking, we would probably need to hire a second receptionist. Timely also gives our customers the option of 24-hour online booking. We understand our customers are busy and not everyone has the time to make a phone call during office hours. Our clients can browse our availability online at any time and have a look at the dates and times that might suit them. We believe that when our customers book online, they are more inclined to book an appointment that suits their schedule perfectly, rather than feeling under pressure to quickly choose a time-slot over the phone. This has a huge effect on our no-show rates, rescheduling, and our cancellation rates. On that note - no shows and cancellations can be demotivating for our artists. They have targets to meet and they want to do well!
Another fantastic feature is that Timely allows us to take deposits for every booking. This helps to reduce cancellations drastically. We have the option of setting our deposits at fixed rates or as a percentage of the service cost. We can choose a set-rate deposit for one service with a different deposit amount for another. Securing a deposit helps to ensure against no-show clients makes our everyday work environment run smoother. We experience virtually no cancellations and minimal rescheduling thanks to our amazing system.
Integration with other Systems
Timely integrates with many other systems we use, including Instagram and Facebook. This means that our clients who find us through social media can book directly through the app they’re browsing through. It couldn’t be easier for them. Want to manage your business’s accounting and marketing? Timely works seamlessly with software like Xero, MailChimp and more. We love that Timely constantly evolves and develops new features to make our lives easier. Their dedication to improving their software means a lot to us as a business who relies heavily on their efficiency.
Reports, reports, reports!
What our team loves most is Timely's extensive reporting function. Our team can access a long list of reports from business performance to finance to customer retention and everything in between. This allows us to monitor, review and improve our business from every angle. It makes cashing up at the end of the day super easy, along with checking in on the weekly, monthly or yearly percentage increase of service or product sales. We can even see the percentage of clients who rebook appointments after their first experience with us. The Timely dashboard allows us to quickly get an overview of how the business is performing. Every week we have studio and management meetings and clear, concise and easy-to-understand reports really help with that.
Automated messaging - the time saver every business needs
Automated messaging means we can check in with clients after a procedure, send appointment reminders, or remind clients to book for their yearly touchup - all without lifting a finger. This saves hours every week and reduces no-shows as well as increasing customer happiness and returning client bookings. Clients really feel looked after when they receive helpful notifications from us. Many of our customers comment that it helps them to remember when their appointment is along with notes on how to prepare for their upcoming appointments. Automated messaging means that our clients receive a rebooking reminder a year after their last appointment, which is a great prompt to remind clients to book in for their touch-ups if they haven’t booked yet. Automated messaging works both ways too. Timely allows us to set up instant alerts so that our staff will receive notifications to their preferred email address or phone number if a client makes any changes to their appointment.
Powerful automated marketing
Timely enables us to grow our brand and our reputation by allowing us to send automatic follow-up texts and emails to clients following an appointment at our studio. This way, we can check in on their experience and request that they leave a review on our Google Business or Facebook page. Alongside this, we can quickly create strong SMS and email marketing campaigns that we can use to spread the news about special offers, promotional deals or even to help fill last-minute openings. We can even segment our marketing offers to specific clients based on their past appointment types. This means that our clients aren’t spammed with irrelevant offers and we’re not spending money on messages that won’t provide returns.
Timely has ready-to-use templates for emails and SMS which means we can quickly set up beautifully clear marketing assets. Another great feature is that we can sell and redeem gift vouchers. This helps to attract new clients to our business and makes it simple for existing clients to give the perfect gift to their friends and family. We can also attract new clients online by adding our online booking form to our Facebook, Instagram, and website.
Timely is like a studio coordinator, receptionist, accountant and stock assistant all in one
Timely really helps us to run the show! It manages our bookings, calendars, lunch breaks, stock, emails, and reminder messages. We can access information on our computer or through the Timely app on a phone or iPad on the go. We have the option of managing the levels of stock we use to deliver our services in our studio, including ordering new stock from our suppliers. Because I perform procedures on clients every week as well as running the 8th fastest-growing company in Canada, Timely has helped me to delegate the important everyday tasks to my team. Timely's help guides assure our staff to feel confident with the system, allowing me to focus on my clients and on developing amazing products.
Amazing customer service
One enormous task that Timely could help us with, that no other software company could, was to import all of our previous client data from our previous provider so that we did not lose any information. Our client profiles and future bookings migrated seamlessly, meaning we could easily and quickly access information about our customers without having to cross-reference old systems. Surprisingly few software companies will do this so we are truly grateful to Timely for their assistance with this major chore.
Timely's customer service and support have been excellent since the get-go. They have a live chat support feature and their staff is always friendly, non-judgemental and respond in a timely (get it?) manner with helpful information to answer any questions our own staff may have. We began our relationship with Timely through a free two-week trial and from the first interaction with their staff we knew we had the best team to assist us with any issues. They even have an online help section with video tutorials so we often do not need to inquire at all - the answer is usually easy to find with a quick search on their website.
Organization is key
In the business of beauty, especially when you have a client list of over 10,000 customers from almost 20 years in permanent makeup, organization is the key to success. We like to ensure that we have up-to-date information on our customers along with some notes about any particular cases we experienced with them or any references we may need in the future. On Timely, each client profile has unlimited room for details in a simple layout which means that our front-of-house staff has easy access to past appointment information. This means that if a client who last visited eight years ago calls us and asks about her last appointment or what pigment was used on her eyebrows, our staff can easily assist any client with promptness and ease. You can effortlessly upload many kinds of files to each customer’s account. This means you can upload before and after images or you can even scan copies of consent forms directly through the Timely app to the customer’s profile, making it quick and easy to follow-up with clients after a procedure. Along with this, you can make booking notes under each individual appointment as well as on the customer’s own profile. This will really help us a few months or years down the line making it easier to remember why a client paid $x or why an appointment time was adjusted. Each customer’s case is different and having references in one place is key to providing excellent customer service.
Staff access restrictions mean increased client confidentiality
Timely can be set up so that each staff member has their own login which means you can restrict certain staff members to access specific information. This means we can grant our accountants access to financial reports, but not to customer data. Similarly, we can choose who has access to rosters and timesheets which means our staff can adjust their own working hours or vacation days if necessary.
Ultimately, the success of your studio may depend on the quality of the software you choose to run your business. Excellent software makes looking after your studio so much easier and will pave the way to both profit and a healthy work/life balance.
Book a call with Timely's team to talk about your business needs or sign up for a free 14-day trial and see for yourself how Timely can handle your admin, so that you can spend more time doing what you love.