How can a custom-made software solution be a remedy to bad hair days? Read the story of BarberBooking, a project we successfully carried out with one of our key customers from the Netherlands.
Clients demand instant communication
Do you know what troubles hairdressers and their customers these days? Would you believe they may have difficulty getting in touch to make an appointment? How come, you would ask? Well, in fact it turns out to be quite a problem. Here is a story of how one of our key business partners from the Netherlands, Da Vinci International (DVI), decided to respond to the needs of their target group. Goyello’s role in the venture was significant. We let DVI’s idea turn into a reality.
What’s the big deal?
Today’s fast moving world makes customers expect a prompt answer from their service providers. If they do not get it in a flash, they immediately start to search elsewhere. So, if you want to keep your customers and win new ones, you have to be available.
As former hairdressers and having a long experience in the industry, DVI knows the practical side of the business. What they found out about problems their target group had to face, was that customers often have trouble making an appointment with their hairdresser. The latter, being busy with his/her current clients, simply does not pick up the phone. It also turned out that quite a number of customers want to get in touch with their stylists outside the salon opening hours.
Ok, one may say. If they cannot get through on the phone, they can always drop their hair specialist an e-mail. So what’s the big deal? Well, indeed, they can send an e-mail. But they cannot immediately check whether the hairstylist they want their hair to be done by is available on the day they wish to come to the salon. They have to wait for the reply and if the person turns out to be unavailable, arrange for another date of the appointment or pick another stylist. Quite a fuss, isn’t it? Especially when you are having a bad hair day or desperately need your hair to be done for an important business lunch, date or family meeting.
What’s the solution?
DVI’s aim was to free both hairdressers and their customers from that fuss and provide them with a solution enabling easy and quick appointment booking. That is how the idea of BarberBooking came to their head.
BarberBooking, a versatile yet easy to use online booking platform, enables clients of hair salons all over the Netherlands to check their hairdressers’ availability and book their appointments online.
BarberBooking has enabled thousands of Dutch hairstylists to take their business to the next level. Each hair salon available on BarberBooking has its individual profile. It provides users with useful information on the salon’s opening hours, services it provides, prices and staff members availability. As soon as clients have gathered all the necessary data, they can book their appointments online instead of making a phone call or sending an e-mail.
An important feature of BarberBooking is that it brings considerable benefits to both hairdressers and their clients. Clients have gained easy access to their favourite hair specialists and have no problem making an appointment. Hairstylists win more clients and can simply focus on their job ensuring great customer service at the same time. They do not leave the clients they are currently serving to pick up the phone. They do not make those willing to schedule an appointment hold the line for ages either.
Want to succeed? Start with a good plan
DVI has been our long-time partner. We had already completed several projects together. So when they approached us with the idea of the online platform for Dutch hairdressers and their customers we knew they expected expertise, consulting, support and creative ideas on how to turn it to a reality. We also knew they placed much trust in us.
We started off with a precise identification of the target group. We invited the client’s representatives to a workshops during which we worked out several user profiles and defined the direction the project should develop towards.
We are Agile developers. So for us there was practically no other method that could be used for the execution of the project. We managed to convince DVI that Agile is the approach that guarantees success in that particular case.
Agile methodology comes in handy when you are not able to define all the requirements your client may have and to predict all possible scenarios at the beginning of the project. It lets you split your project into smaller chunks and create fragments of software in subsequent stages of the development. Each stage, called sprint, ends with a working solution ready to be tested and evaluated. In this way your client can see the actual progress in the project and gets truly involved in it due to the fact that he/she has to provide the developer with immediate feedback after each sprint.
How did we achieve the planned result?
A team of software developers was allocated to the project and we split the development into several stages. The product owner proxy was appointed at our side. He was responsible for regular communication with the client’s product owner.
Every two weeks we presented the outcome of the subsequent stages to the client. After each sprint we provided the stable, working software, ready for testing. Thanks to instant feedback we were getting from the client we were able to immediately implement all the suggested modifications.
During the development we run some user testing sessions, which let us learn more about end-users’ needs. We could take them into consideration at the production stage. As a result we came up with a product adjusted to its future users actual expectations.
To make the platform truly flexible and reliable we employed a number of technologies to develop it, namely ASP.NET, MVC 5, Entity Framework and Elastic Search.
The outcome of the project is a fully-fledged online solution that 6 months after the launch had over 2000 users.
Da Vinci International (DVI) is the Netherlands based family business with tradition. The company was established by Gert Heersink in 1945 as a hair salon. Today, with the third generation of Heersink family at the helm it still operates in the hairdressing industry. Its business domain is now software development. DVI provides hair salon owners with comprehensive work automation solutions. About 2000 companies from the industry use their software. Over 9500 Dutch hairdressers use it every day.