Annie Banville is a cosmetic beautician who’s been passionate about cosmetology for more than 20 years. A make-up artist recognized by APESEQ, she opened Maquillage Permanent AB salon in 2010, fulfilling a long-time dream. And she’s been living her passion ever since! She specializes in permanent and professional makeup, and her delicate touch and experience lets her offer personalized service to each and every one of her customers.
Today, Annie tell us how booxi helps her run her salon and be a more efficient businesswoman.
What made you try booxi in October 2016?
“10 years ago I wasn’t very good with technology; I worked on paper a lot. My calendar, my customer files, even my accounting – everything was on paper. But in permanent makeup, customers can come back 10 years after an appointment to get a retouch, for example, so I could never destroy any files. As a result, my files quickly piled up and took up a ton of storage space. I had to find a solution.
That’s why I wanted to try booxi. My challenge was to find an effective way to manage my customer files. I heard about booxi through APESEQ, and I saw that they had a “Client Files” feature online. I signed up for the free trial and that’s when I realized online appointment booking could be useful, too. I found it interesting because as a self-employed professional, I don’t have a receptionist working for me, so when I’m with a customer I don’t answer my phone.
That’s why it sometimes took me up to 3 days to book an appointment with a customer. Everything went through voicemail: the customer would leave me a message, I’d call her back to give my availabilities, then she’d call back to let me know that the dates didn’t work for her…sometimes it would take a few days to find a date that worked for both of us.
It made me realize there was a problem. That’s why I decided to give online booking a shot during the free trial. Right away, I saw how much it simplified my life.
As soon as I launched my online account, a customer booked an appointment without having to call me. And then the bookings just kept on coming. It was incredibly convenient.
At the same time, I started transferring all my paper client files to booxi.”
How has booxi changed your daily routine?
“Before using booxi, when I was still working with paper, I’d spend one or two evenings a week calling all my clients to remind them about their upcoming appointments. Now I don’t need to do that because they automatically receive a reminder.
Beyond the huge time savings, it also eliminated a task I didn’t like doing. People don’t really like getting phone calls in the evening, so I sometimes felt it wasn’t the right time for my customers. Besides, I didn’t necessarily want to make phone calls at night, either.”
“When I started using booxi, I thought it would mostly interest my younger customers. But I’ve noticed that my older clients use it, too, and they like receiving text reminders. I was surprised that people use online appointment booking as often as they do. Because I’m in permanent makeup, I assumed that people would rather meet me or talk to me before booking an appointment, but that isn’t the case. Many women that I don’t know personally, who haven’t necessarily been referred by one of my customers, book appointments online. They find it convenient to know my availability so quickly. It’s a comment I hear all the time.”
“I spend a lot less time on the phone thanks to online appointment booking. Before, I used to listen to my voicemails at the end of each appointment, and I always had a ton of them. I rarely have to call back clients anymore, yet my calendar is fully booked for the next two months. In fact, I have more appointments than I had last fall, before I started using booxi. ”
“Another thing I noticed, and it’s something that I found very surprising, is that I used to have a waiting list. So if I ever had a cancellation, some clients asked me to call them and offer the available time slot.
Now when I have a cancellation, another appointment quickly replaces the time slot that became available. I realize that my customers are often on the lookout, and they’ve started going to my website to see if there are any available time slots. They have the opportunity to book their appointment before I even have time to call them back. It’s wonderful.”
“I even had to make small adjustments to the way I managed appointment bookings. I offer a free retouching session, 4 to 6 weeks after the first appointment. Before using booxi I used to schedule the free retouching, directly with the customer, during the appointment. Today, because I’m booked two months in advance, I encourage my customers to go online and book their free session immediately. This way they’ll get a spot as quickly as possible.”
Do you have a favourite feature?
Because I can link a customer file to a photo in just a few clicks, it makes it super simple to do follow ups. When I was working with paper files, I had to print my pictures every week and file them without making a mistake, which took a lot of extra time.
Now everything is easily and quickly within reach: photos, notes from each appointment and even notes from conversations. It really helps me with my follow-ups. I can easily remember all my customers and the treatments they’ve had long before they arrive, even after several years. Obviously, I was keeping tracking of all this when I was using paper files, but today it’s more visual and I can access everything much faster and remember the face of every customer before their appointment. This helps ensure a much personalized customer experience.”
“Another feature that saves me a lot of time is the ability to link a health form in a confirmation email. It’s sent automatically and my customers can fill it out before their appointment. Again, everything is online, so it’s helped me eliminate paper completely, which in turns helps me save lots of space. What’s more, when customers arrive for their appointments, the form is already completed. That saves about 20 minutes, which used to be spent at the beginning of each appointment.”
“Finally, I really like the thank you message that’s automatically sent to my customers once their appointment is done. It really puts a bow on the customer experience.”
How was your first experience with booxi?
“booxi got me out of my comfort zone. At first I was uncomfortable without my paper agenda, but I knew I had to do it. I was super comfortable with paper, but I read an article that said by 2020, more than 80% of all people will shop and book online. I was well aware that this was the future and I think it was important to face up to it. Of course it was uncomfortable to change, but the feeling was very temporary and the results have definitely been worth it. Really, it’s only been positive since I made the switch.”
“It was very simple to set up the account and I liked doing it. It was really easy to understand. It took me about two weeks to set it up, but I’m very perfectionist, so I spent a lot of time choosing photos and thinking about what I was going to write in my descriptions. Only when my account was just right did I put it online.”
“All my customers, whatever their age, love using it and tell me that it’s part of the customer experience. Even customers older than 60 use it. They all arrive at their appointment very satisfied. The confirmation message, the reminders and the thank you message all have a positive impact. Being self-employed, I really feel that it sets my business, and my service, apart.”
“There’s no way I’d be able to work without it today. I’m so happy I took the leap. When I hear people having doubts about using this kind of system, I think to myself “if they only knew”. I feel so much more zen since I started using booxi. It reduced my workload and allowed me to really focus on my passion and creativity.”