Plenty of research is now showing an increase in online reservations for a variety of services. Many of us are likely used to booking plane tickets and hotel rooms online at this point. Some of the slower-moving industries include health-care and automotive repair.
There are many good reasons to do this for your pet-services business:
- It's what people want. - One study of service-business customers showed that 59% of customers wanted to schedule online if able. People like convenience and success. When they can make an appointment request on their own terms (say, after hours) and feel successful in 'getting it done', they are happy doing business with you.
- Younger demographics prefer it. The Washington Post reported that 75% of folks currently in their 30s have dogs. These 'millennials' also prefer things like technology, smart phones and making reservations online.
- New customers seek it out. Up to 63% of new customers in one study were seeking out the ability to do online scheduling. You want new customers? You need to serve these folks.
- Talking on the phone is expensive. When customers aren't able to schedule reservations themselves, they rely on your staff to do it. Track how long a typical call (or series of returned calls) it takes to make a typical appointment appointment or reservation. (Let's use 5 minutes for example Now multiply that by the hourly wage you pay an employee (plus payroll taxes, say $15/hr). Now multiply that by the number of reservations you do by phone each month (say 25/day, or 500/month). You'll get a sense of the monthly cost of those phone-made appointments. In this example: $1.25 per call * 500 calls = $625.00. And that doesn't include follow-ups/return calls!
- It shows your customers you are 'in with the times'. Your customers' perceptions of you are important. If you show them you are using modern technology, they will trust you with other things, like caring for their pets and managing their accounts correctly. Honor your customers by showing them their time is valuable, and increase their confidence in your business as using the best available technologies to provide the best service.
- Reduce frustration and surprises. Self-service online scheduling reduces errors, transaction time and can reduce 'no-shows', thereby reducing frustration among your customers, staff and you (and perhaps even the pets!). Make it easy to do business with you, and make it easier to work for your company!
- Up-sell add-on services in advance - Show your customers add-on services when they are scheduling, so they can select these services in advance. Even if they don't, they'll know in advance of the option, and then you can up-sell them at check-in. Among all Gingr apps, 21% of self-made online reservations have add-on services. That compares to 15% of all reservations having add-on services. The average add-on service value is over $24.00.
Imagine at least 50% of your appointments/reservations being made 'self-service' online by your customers, and at least 20% of those appointments having an added value of $24.00. If you do 500 reservations/appointments in a month, you've saved over $300.00 and generated over $6,000.00 in added revenue. How would that help your business?
The success of online reservations depends on the user-interface being USER-FRIENDLY. Ensure that your prospective software solution actually gets used by the end-user customer for online reservation or appointment requests. Ask the sales folks for the software, and if you are already a Gingr user, now might be the time to use this functionality!
Do you have any other good reasons to accept online reservations? Or any concerns that are preventing you from allowing this 'self-service' booking model?
Let me know, and here's to your success in business. - Andy