While 2020 may finally be behind us, the decisions made throughout the year will last into this year and beyond. If anyone knows this, it's Finley's Barber Shop. The Texas-based barbering franchise invested heavily in the business in 2020, including doubling down on Mindbody’s salon software and developing a new customer service approach.
Refreshing the classic barbershop
Finley's Barber Shop was founded in 2008 by Scott Finley and Darren Peterson after Finley approached Peterson to reimagine barbering to focus more on customer experience. Finley saw an opportunity to blend classic barbering hallmarks like hot towels and lathered neck trims and high-end touches with beverages and TVs mounted at each chair. The idea worked, and Finley's Barber Shop grew to 14 locations in Texas and Colorado over the next decade.
Then, everything came to a screeching halt in March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to adapt. Finley and Peterson were left with questions about how they could keep customers engaged with the brand within pandemic-related guidelines and how the business could continue its upward trajectory.
Pivoting the plan
At first, Finley's closed all locations. When Texas allowed businesses to reopen, Finley's opened shops with a systematic approach—opening at a reduced capacity to allow social distancing and minimizing business loss, and then looking at data within the software to determine if they should reopen more locations and appointments. This process took time—and the brand is just now reopening its last location nearly ten months later.
While the approach took time, it was not without advantages. Finley's was able to reimagine its experience, including requiring online or pre-booking for all appointments. Due to these changes, Finley's has seen business return to its shops.
"There is a very small uptick, monthly basis that we're seeing," Peterson said. "And hopefully, as we get further in the next year, we're going to see even more."
Forward to the future
But reducing walk-ins and requiring online bookings were not the only steps Finley's took in 2020—the brand also ditched the traditional model of front desks managing appointments for each location. It developed a new calling center structure that allows customers to call into one centralized location to making bookings or reschedule appointments.
That call center can then book clients at any location—all run through the software's centralized booking system for the Finley's franchise. The idea started with a desire to further invest in the customer experience. "Our goal was to have persons on staff that can answer these calls and spend time with the client and answer their questions," Peterson said. "Having the experience of the client being able to feel as though they've been taken care of was a direct result of COVID."
The initial results have been successful as Finley's has improved the booking experience for customers. "We've been really happy with it," Peterson said. "It is something that we are going to continue to improve on, make better, and keep in our tool kit for that customer experience. Overall, I think the call center is probably one of the largest and most long-term new technologies that we've implemented that I think we're going to stick with."
With these systems in place, Finley's is set for a bright future. And as the brand continues to grow, Mindbody will be there for it.