I can manage just well without an online booking system, I have my paper calendar and that is all I need”, a Helsinki-based barber friend told me two years ago. Well, she doesn’t have a booking system yet set up on her webpage or anywhere else. But she indeed has a website, of which she gave a similar statement five years ago: “I don’t need it.” And she is right, she does not need a website, but she did set one up pretty soon after that comment. And two years ago she did tell me that she has accumulated many new customers through it.
Some might consider it bold to compare a website to a booking system. But I tend to think that for small businesses they are similar steps in catering to their customers’ changing behavioural patterns; a fast growing segment of customers want to manage things online with the least effort they can: flight and hotel reservations, restaurant bookings etc. are already managed that way, so why not beauty parlours and therapists too?
Holding on to old customers and getting new ones is what keeps a small business alive. An online booking system helps with both goals; anyone can book a time for your e.g. beauty parlour with a few clicks of the mouse.
If a booking occurs, you have:
- generated business
- made your customer’s life easier
- made your life easier and
- improved your productivity.
All this by making your calendar available via a system that let your customers book your services online anytime. For businesses, websites were a revolution, and online booking systems are evolution. Small businesses can either choose to stay behind and lose touch with the online generation, or it can stand out by offering the most convenient way to reserve a time, an online booking system.