Need to get in for a haircut? There's an app for that.
Great Clips has just launched an online check-in feature, where customers can use a computer or mobile device to check on wait times at Great Clips salons and add their name to the waiting list at the salon of their choice.
Whether they check in remotely or at the salon, customers are taken in the order they were added to the list.
"It's to help clients save time," said Abby Perez, manager of Great Clips in Mitchell. "It's more convenient for our clients, especially businesspeople or for those on their lunch break."
Great Clips is a walk-in salon, so the business does not take appointments for haircuts.
Prior to the online launch, Perez said customers could wait an hour to an hour and a half for a haircut.
Great Clips began the online check-in in April. Perez said she's seen an increased use in the program with businessmen and families heading on vacation, who will be passing through Mitchell.
She does stress, though, that the online check-in is not a scheduled appointment, but rather it holds the customer's place in line for a haircut.
Adam Torgerson, of Moorhead, Minn., a Great Clips customer, said the online check-in is a convenient feature that saves time.
"You can hop on the computer before you leave home, check in, and each time we've done that, when we get to the store, we don't have to wait," he said. "It's a unique idea."
Emily Wilcox, Great Clips franchisee, who owns eight Great Clips salons in Fargo, Moorhead, Grand Forks and Bismarck with Cary Schilling, said customers like the convenience of not having to guess how long they'll have to wait for a haircut.
"We are a fast-driven nation now, and we want things quickly, and we want things to be convenient," Wilcox said.
Wilcox also uses the feature to shuffle staff to salons with longer wait times.
"We don't want the customer to have to go to another Great Clips," she said. "We would rather send our employees to the salon that's busy and have them service the customer where it's most convenient for that customer."
While other salons take online appointments, Rhoda Olsen, Great Clips CEO, said the company is the first in the haircare industry to introduce this online check-in technology.
"We've always been focused on keeping wait times low, but with online check-in, we can make our customers' wait even shorter," she said in a news release. "Our test markets show about 80 percent of folks who check in remotely wait less than five minutes on average once arriving at the salon."
The online check-in feature is powered by ICS Net Check In, a patent-pending, Internet-based technology platform developed by Innovative Computer Software.
"As businesspeople, our heads are in the sand if we don't recognize that customers use mobile devices for services," said Peter Kaiser, Innovative Computer Software CEO and creator of Great Clips' Online Check-In, in a news release. "Online check-in gives Great Clips franchisees the competitive advantage because customers will choose a salon that gives them a time commitment."
Great Clips Inc. was established in 1982 in Minneapolis and has 3,000 salons throughout the United States and Canada.
The Daily Republic's Jennifer Jungwirth contributed to this report.