Prompt Service, Personalized Attention for Patrons at Hair Salon



Pigtails & Crewcuts offers a range of hair-care services and products catered specifically to children and families, and the Charlotte, North Carolina, location is one of the busiest salons in the hair-styling franchise family. But with a manual sign-in system in place, there was room to improve efficiency when it came to checking customers in.


  • Employees were spending more time checking in customers than actually serving them, leading to long queues.
  • After QLess, employees could get back to helping customers instead of managing the lines.

A solution from QLess now allows patrons to sign in via iPad upon arrival at the salon or via text message in advance, streamlining the process and providing swift service. In addition, salon employees now spend less time managing the sign-in process and more time on personal service for customers.

“It was immediately obvious that our manual sign-up system had limitations. We needed a technology solution to better serve our customers,” said Drew McWilliams, owner of the local franchise in Charlotte. “I looked at a number of queuing systems, and QLess best met our needs.”


The Charlotte location of Pigtails & Crewcuts has been operating since 2009. When Mr. McWilliams and his wife purchased the franchise two years ago, they realized the customer sign-in process could be enhanced. As patrons entered the salon, the receptionist handed them a clipboard with a sign-in sheet. As the clipboard was passed around the waiting room, the receptionist would often have to locate and retrieve it for new patrons.

“There was no question: with improvement, the customer sign-in process could make our salon run more efficiently,” said Mr. McWilliams. “It was clear that we needed a new system to assist our staff and to serve our customers, as well as to drive more revenue for our business.”

The salon features two different sized chairs for patrons: a regular size salon chair for older children and a booster seat for younger ones. The manual sign-in system did not account for this variety, so having the right sized seat available for the next patron in line was a challenge. Customers were often seated based on what was open instead of order of sign-up, creating the illusion of line jumping, making some patrons unhappy.


After several months of researching different technologies for managing salon sign-ins, Mr. McWilliams polled colleagues from other salons and learned they were facing similar challenges with the appointment systems they employed. Upon discovering QLess, Mr. McWilliams concluded that the QLess platform for retail businesses and restaurants could be customized to meet his needs.

“We had a great dialogue, and QLess did a fantastic job of responding to all my questions. What they delivered meets about 99% of my initial needs, and we’re continuing to tweak the application to make it even better.”

By the summer of 2015, Pigtails & Crewcuts implemented the QLess solution, which allows customers to sign-in via iPad and specify the age of the child to ensure the correct chair size is available when it’s their turn (the solution effectively creates and manages two separate queues based on chair size). The receptionist oversees both queues from a touchscreen monitor at the front desk – no more hunting for the clipboard or explanations to concerned customers about the order of service. Since the successful initial rollout, the salon has added the capability to allow patrons to check-in from their mobile devices via text message.

“With the QLess solution we have seen an instant improvement in the speed and efficiency of check-ins. Customers love it, and our staff is more productive. Now that our salon staff spends less time administering the waiting area, they are able to focus on better serving customers,” said Mr. McWilliams.

Further functionality will be soon be added, such as remote check-in through their website, mobile phone feedback surveys, and reporting to gain valuable insights to improve the business.


Overall, the QLess solution advances operations at the Charlotte Pigtails & Crewcuts, making it more efficient and profitable. One month after installing QLess, the salon set a new national record for the chain, reporting 171 haircuts in a single day. They beat the previous record by 10 haircuts.

“Setting a national record is a very big deal for us, and I give QLess a lot of credit for delivering a system that could manage a high volume of customers at such a critical time,” said Mr. McWilliams. “The efficiency of my reception staff is greatly improved. Previously, they spent a considerable amount of time checking people in and monitoring the queue, but now they can focus on more essential tasks, such as billing and collecting payments.”

The franchise headquarters for the chain and fellow franchisees are very interested in the success of the Charlotte location using QLess, and Mr. McWilliams expects that as he adds more functionality and shares positive results they will want to adopt QLess solutions at other locations.


Serving customers more quickly with the QLess solution is going straight to their bottom line. Each store is seeing an increase of $1,200 in profits each month from the mobile queuing feature alone. In addition, the reduction of no-shows and walk-aways resulted in more than a 600% return on investment.

Empower your customers to wait wherever they want with QLess.