Salons survive by a hair: How Irish salon owners are tackling the staffing crisis
It’s been a pretty rough couple of years for the Irish hair and beauty industry - and it seems that it’s not over quite yet.
Having been put through the mill with closures and restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, salon owners are now facing a new crisis - that of staffing shortages.
The perfect storm: In the latter part of 2021, a worryingly large number of salons have had to turn away customers due to staff shortages - a loss which they can ill-afford in the wake of the pandemic. It’s thought that a combination of three factors have created the perfect storm when it comes to devastatingly low numbers of staff.
The Furlough Scheme: These payments have meant that a significant number of salon staff did not return to work once salons were once again able to open their doors to the public.
Brexit: Uncertainty as to what a Brexit-shaped future will look like has seen high numbers of people relocating away from Ireland.
Black market: During the pandemic, many people in numerous industries worked on the basis that the rules didn’t apply to them - and the hair and beauty industry is no different. Some hairstylists and beauticians decided to serve customers in their own homes during the lockdowns and, while this is bad for the industry and the economy, many continue to work cash in hand rather than returning to employment in salons.
At half staff: With salon staffing at an all-time low, salon owners are having to turn to technology to help them manage their businesses and stay afloat. Lots of these salons, including some top high street names, are signing up to Booksy - AI-powered management platform to help them through this latest crisis.
While Booksy started as a simple appointment booking system in 2014, it quickly grew into an international salon management system with over 15 million users worldwide. This innovative platform offers a number of fabulous features, including:
Appointment management: Booksy’s star attraction is its appointment booking feature which allows customers to book and manage their own appointments in just a few clicks through a mobile phone app. No more phone calls and no more dodgy hold music. This also helps with staffing issues as it removes the need for the traditional salon receptionist.
Salon management: The all-singing, all-dancing Booksy platform is able to manage salon space and staffing much more effectively. During the staffing crisis, salon owners are relying on Booksy to help them maximise the staff that they do have, as well as maximising space and time within the salon in order to serve as many customers as possible, all while adhering to Covid-19 distancing guidelines.
Payment management: With cash and cards rapidly becoming a thing of the past for some - particularly with the latest news from Amazon - Booksy comes to the rescue by utilising online payments for customers through the app. Salon owners are also able to use this feature to request prepayment from customers, which helps reduce the number of costly no-shows, and the paying of under-utilised staff.
Sales management: The selling of products in-salon has always been a popular way of adding a revenue stream to a salon business. Unfortunately, the current advice for salons is to remove retail walls to cut down on hand to hand contact but, never fear, Booksy is here. Salon owners can now sell products and upsell services to customers directly through the app for a safe and lucrative business.
Staffing and marketing: Booksy features a suite of marketing tools that make reaching out to customers and potential staff really easy. This suite of tools features flyers and email outreach, allowing owners to quickly find those all-important customers and staff members.
If you’re still unsure about Booksy, then perhaps its excellent customer service will help you change your mind. Traffic data from Number For Live Person proves that Booksy’s representatives are some of the most effective. The sentiment towards Booksy is also mostly positive, as proved by Brand24’s sentiment analysis.
By looking into hundreds of mentions of Booksy online, they have determined that over 80 per cent of them are positive.
While the staff shortage is no doubt devastating for Irish salons, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Booksy can help salon owners make the most of the staff that they do currently have, as well as help find new ones through its marketing materials. As we head towards 2022, we’re hoping that the new year brings better news for the hair and beauty industry - and the country as a whole.