So I’ve been using Nearcut in my business since the middle of June, now and below I want to explain why it has been one of the best and valuable additions to my business in 25 years.
Why After 25 years of walk-ins I decided to go to an appointment system
So in the 25 years I’ve been open, the thought of going to a full appointment system never entered my head. Although we have been doing appointments on a Saturday, the rest of the week was strictly a walk-in service. But with the situation with Covid 19, social distancing and the track and trace requirements, I soon realised that this tradition was unsustainable and things would be very different for the foreseeable future.
Why I started using Nearcut.
So with this in mind I posted a message on the Barber Banter Facebook group, asking for recommendations and the overwhelming response was for Nearcut. And after a quick Google search I soon realised that if I wanted an easy to use system and a great customer service, this was the one I needed.
“Made My Shop Busier Than It Was When I Just Did Walk-Ins!”
Laura Pettifer – Gateway Barbers
The initial set up and what you get.
As the Nearcut service was offering a three month trial period, I felt that this was a reasonable time to test out their booking system and to find out if it was going to be a good fit for my business. But how hard is it to set up?
The process is very simple and straight forward. And you just go through the online registration adding your business hours, prices, services and how long you need for them.
Help is on the end of a phone
After doing this Dale rang me to explain a bit more about the app and how it can be adapted to your own personal needs.
This time on the phone allowed me to ask certain questions, such as how easy it to book people in manually who just turn up at the shop? (very easy as it turns out and takes around a minute) and a few other things such as how to change the profile photo and things to really personalise the app.
Knowing he was available at the end of the phone or a Facebook message was a great help. I was then sent a demo of what my site would look like and once I’d checked it out, to make sure neither of us had made any errors, I gave him the go ahead and my site was live.
Testing the process with one customer
So once I’d set up the app and my site was live I needed to know how hard it was for customers to navigate. So I messaged one particular client who I knew from past experiences was not great at technology.
I told him about the appointment system and asked him to try and make a booking. Two minutes later my email popped up telling me that a customer had booked in. So I thought if he can do it anyone can and we were off and running.
Letting the customers know
I then spent the next 2 or 3 hours personally messaging every person who had liked the Facebook site and also those people in my phone who I knew were customers, telling them about the service.
I woke the next morning to find that over 50 people had booked and bear in mind this was during lockdown and we wouldn’t be open for another three weeks, so it was all looking good.
“I’m Fully Booked All The Time… I Actually Love My Saturdays Now!”
Charlie Topham – Charlie Browns Gentleman’s Barbers
The first few days
Over the next days and weeks the appointment kept coming and a quick visit to my shop to put some posters (supplied by the guys at Nearcut) in the window advertising the app, kept the bookings coming in at all hours.
Some customers were booking it at 2 or 3 in the morning (I’m assuming after a night shift or a very heavy box-set session) try doing that with a pen and paper!!
And many people have found that they can cancel and rebook their appointments should the situation arise, without having the inconvenience of having to phone the shop.
Customers love the app
Since I have reopened after the lockdown, the feedback I have had from customers is nothing but positive. They often mention that the email reminder (which comes free) is a great touch and I feel that this alone reduces the amount of no-shows you normally get with an appointment service.
Using it in the shop
In the shop I have two ipads with the website opened up so we can see at a glance who we have coming in.
And if anyone phones the shop it takes around one minute to book their appointment and take a contact number. If they don’t know their number I tend to take a postcode and house number
The only issue I have found is that some people mis-spell their email so do not get the email conformation (I can do this for them within the app)
The only other problem is that some of our older clients struggle a little with the technology, so I give them my mobile number and ask them to ring me in the evening when I can book them in manually ( I can do all of this from my mobile) and record their details for the trace and trace.
It allows you to ‘stalk’ your customers
Occasionally I get a client book through the app and I don’t recognise the name. Many times a quick Facebook search tells me who is coming in and this allows me to address them by name when they arrive.
The app was free for a 3 months trial and after that for my one shop with 2 barbers it is £37.50 +vat. The 3 months trial is great to test the water and enough time to convince you whether it is right for your business or not. I have already recommended it to two other local barbers and they seem to be loving it also.
“I Would Never Ever Go Back To Walk-Ins…
Best Decision With The Shop By A Mile!”
Dale Tomkins – Hipster Hideout Barbershop
What it can do for your business
Some of the additional benefits that I didn’t realise at the time are that we always now finish on time, knowing that the last booking will be the last customer.
And if you need to pop out for a couple of hours or you need the occasional morning off, it allows you to block out those times, which doesn’t then put extra pressure on your colleagues and the customers looking at the app just see you are already booked for those times.
Should the situation arise that you need to leave the shop, when you have appointments booked in, you can tell them by email that their appointment needs to be rescheduled due to unforeseen circumstances.
It’s also a nice feeling when after you have finished the haircut, the client books in again for a few weeks time. This is especially satisfying with a brand new client.
So at the time of writing I have been using the Nearcut app for just over two months and I love it. More importantly my customers love it as well and I’ve had nearly 1000 customers register on the app.
The very nature of booking an appointment in a barber shop, which pre Covid, would have seemed alien to me, now gives me a sense of control and freedom over my business and also my earning potential.
This system is made by barbers for barbers so every eventuality has been thought of. If fact it offers so many other features that I haven’t even touched on.
Many people lead very busy lives and having the ability to book an appointment from their phone or their laptop fits their 21st century lifestyle extremely well.