With Christmas parties in full swing and the smell of chestnuts roasting on an open fire in the air, it’s natural for people to want to put a little more pep in their step with a great holiday look.
For salon owners like yourself, that means big business and a lot of new faces coming in your door.
As an experienced salon owner you will know how to properly manage your salon bookings BUT if you have just started out, then you could be missing out on a lot of potential opportunities.
On top of that, if you are struggling during the Christmas period, your stylists may be frustrated if bubbles of inactivity are created in their schedule due to improper bookings. A stressful workplace and puts a damper on holiday cheer.
To make sure everything runs smoothly around the holiday season, check out the following tips – perfect for new startups or a refresher for experienced salon owners!
1. Never Double Book Your Salon Appointments
Optimally, you would use the holiday season as a way to pamper and reward your long-term customers, while welcoming in newcomers with open arms.
When someone calls up a salon to book an appointment, they expect you to have a decent amount of availability for stylists of varying skill levels at a wide selection of times throughout the day.
While this expectation is manageable for many businesses throughout the year, around the holiday, salon bookings tend to get more challenging. The temptation is to start to nestle people into small gaps in your stylist’s schedules and double book.
Seems obvious but if you aren’t careful, these practices can force you to lose loyal customers who would have been with you for the long run with long wait times.
2.Colour Code Everything
Another seemingly basic tip but one which can sometimes be forgotten – if your booking system is going to function properly, then you need to make sure your stylists are able to easily read and access the details of their schedule in real time and that they don’t mistakenly look at someone else’s column.
The last thing you need when you are overbooked with holiday appointments is to have to work another stylist’s clients in throughout the day because someone thought they had the day off.
To avoid any potential confusion, whether you use a computerised booking system or the classic pen and pencil, you should have your columns colour coded.
This makes it easy to glance at a busy week and easily pick out who will be there and when. It will also make it easier for your appointment setter to see who is available to book.
3. Create a Waiting List
Most experienced salon owners already do this but if you want to maintain your customer base through the holidays, you need to realise that they don’t want to be told that you don’t have any appointments. If they are forced to go somewhere else, they may like it.
You need to have some sort of waiting list system, but you also need to be respectful of their need to be styled.
Try to reserve some appointment times for “emergency” appointments for some of your best customers to ensure you don’t have to let anyone down who never lets you down. If Mrs. Buchanan comes in every other week for a blowdry and can’t get in before her work’s Christmas party, it’s a lot more loss of potential revenue than a one time customer.
Beyond having VIP appointments available, simply create a waiting list. There are bound to be people that call and cancel their appointments and if you implement a cancellation policy, you will have time to rebook those time slots.
4. Consider Using Technology
There is no reason your salon should still be using pen and paper to set up a schedule. With the advancements in apps and technology, there are a ton of booking applications out there that you can use to streamline your process.
If you have an app based system, then your customers can set up their appointments online and agree to your cancellation policy (while providing payment details) when they schedule.
You will save your receptionist a headache and open yourself up to more potential customers since many people find it intimidating to phone a business and set up services for themselves.
5. Enforce Your Cancellation Policy
Many salons have cancellation policies in place, but they don’t use them. After all, it’s not very customer friendly to fine someone who doesn’t show up for their appointment. It certainly doesn’t build goodwill with them to get them to reschedule.
Your goal needs to be to create a cancellation policy that encourages people to keep their appointments but is still forgiving, and one that helps to get them in the door at a later time.
Consider letting your customers know that during the holiday season, you are implementing a cancellation policy for the benefit of all of your customers. Make sure you drive this point home when they are booking the appointment. This is for their benefit – to ensure you have enough time to see everyone.
If they miss the appointment after agreeing to a cancellation charge, then you need to go through with charging them. To recapture their business, consider offering them a discount of that cancellation amount off their next scheduled service. This will show that you aren’t trying to make money off their inconvenience.
More Tips for Salon Owners
This festive season, as you see a swell in your business, take advantage of these tips for your appointments.
By using a digital booking solution, enforcing a strict, but forgiving cancellation policy, and staying well-organised, you will be able to impress your regulars and gain new business. For more helpful articles to help you get ahead, check out our blog today.