Hot take: the most overlooked part of the client experience is checkout.
We understand why you might not spend that much time thinking about how to make the payment process better. You spend your resources marketing to new clients, finding ways to retain current business, planning new services and add-ons, hunting down unique inventory — and your payment system does its job just fine.
So why think too much about those final few minutes when clients are already one foot out the door?
…Because no Academy Award-winning movie ever blew our minds without a killer ending. (Remember There Will Be Blood?) The truth is, your clients will remember those last moments as much, if not more, as they did the preceding hour.
Here’s our best advice for making the payment process as unique and pleasurable as the experiences your business offers.
Support Their Preferences
Some clients love paying in advance when they book, others like tapping their rewards credit cards, and then there are the ones who still hand write you a check (and we love them for it!).
One of the best ways to make payment feel as relaxing as your services feel is to give clients plenty of options to pay however they need — and however they prefer! For most businesses, that means offering the following payment methods:
- Cash or check
- Online prepayments
- Standard credit card transactions for all major credit cards (we’re lookin’ at you, AmEx!)
- Contactless methods (“tap” functionality and/or payment by text/QR code)
- Auto-billing, package deals, and/or monthly memberships for the people who want to set-it-and-forget-it
Pro tip: With Schedulicity’s built-in payment processing, you can provide all these options from the same account you use for online booking. We offer the same low rate for every type of transaction, plus next-day funding and reporting.
Whether you offer haircuts, massages, music lessons, or barre classes, no client wants to spend extra time or energy figuring out how to pay at the end of their session. Simplify it for them by cutting down on all the back-and-forth. Offer prepayment when they book or encourage them to add a card to their account, so you can charge them in one-click — or instantly send the bill to their phone!
We all know how stressful tipping can feel! By using a service that auto-calculates tips at checkout, clients won’t have to awkwardly multiply in their heads with you standing there. It also saves you from having to ask, which always feels a little awkward. (Schedulicity offers built-in gratuity suggestions on services).
By using the latest payment technology, you also give your business a more professional feel. Businesses tell us that when they use Norm to send the bill to a client’s phone, they often hear, “Just like Uber!” or “Just like Postmates!” Not a bad comparison when you’re trying to grow your small business or salon into the most talked about place in town.
Often, businesses know that upselling is an essential part of raising their revenue — but they don’t always realize that upselling can also delight customers.
Each client walks into your business because they trust you as an expert. By building an educational component into your sessions, you can sell more product and help give your clients the guidance they need for their home routines.
Often, you won’t even need to make a hard sell at checkout. You can prime clients to ask for the products during the service or session itself. If you’re a facialist, give them advice on how they can take care of skin concerns at home between appointments, mentioning any products you’d recommend.
Then, when it comes time to pay, they’ll likely ask you to add something you mentioned to their total. Same goes for hair products in salons or even protein powders in a fitness studio.
Sephora provides samples at checkout for a reason — the world loves them. If possible, give your clients’ something small to try each time they leave your business. This adds an element of surprise to their checkout process, and it encourages them to try — and later buy — the products you’re carrying (see our last point on upselling).
Loyalty Cards and Promotions
One final way to add delight to the payment portion of your client’s experience: loyalty deals. As you say goodbye, offer a “book 10, get one” punch card or hand them a couple of business cards as you remind them that you offer a referral bonus. If you’re running any seasonal promotions, mention them! You can slip any information into the bag with their…samples. (Hint, hint.)