There is nothing more disappointing than expecting to enjoy a few hours at the salon only to discover you’ve been double-booked and you’ll have to reschedule. Not all salon owners are the most organized with their businesses; in fact, many can become overwhelmed by success and lack the necessary tools and tactics for managing a large, enthusiastic clientele. This results in double booking, schedule gaps, dissatisfied clients, and eventually low profits.
Instead, salon owners need to be particularly prudent with how they do scheduling. The following tricks will transform any salon into a well-oiled, scheduling machine.
Use Appointment Software
Pen and paper worked wonders for humankind in the past, but these days, scribbling notes is less efficient than digital alternatives. By using devices to organize appointments, salons can share schedules with workers and clients alike, and they can avoid common problems like double booking. Still, not all scheduling software is the same; salon owners should strive to find digital with the following features:
- Customization options. Not every salon is identical, so a one-size-fits-all scheduling app probably doesn’t have the capabilities you need. Your book should be as distinctive as your salon.
- Online scheduling options. Fewer clients want to waste time calling to make an appointment, so software that syncs with online scheduling options is a must.
- Auto-confirmations. Most clients like reminders about upcoming appointments, and some software will automatically send emails or texts to save salon assistants’ time. Further, happy clients might request recurring appointments, and your software should be able to accommodate them.
- Easy UI. If your salon assistants prefer pen and paper to your software, it is likely too glitchy or complex. The user interface should be intuitive and responsive.
Keep in Contact With Clients
Good business marketing strategy dictates near constant communication with customers. Through social media, direct marketing, and more, businesses must to remind them of available products and services and retain their patronage.
Salons are no different: To continue setting appointments, you should keep in contact with your clients, especially those who have been loyal in the past. You might ask clients to sign up for email newsletters, which will keep them abreast of stylist availability, new services, and other important information.
You might ask clients to subscribe to social media for interesting salon events and tips. You might even send them postcards or schedule check-up calls to remind them how much time has passed since their last appointments. Anything you can do to keep in contact with your clients makes for smarter scheduling.
Be Aware the Season
While salons are open year-round, in many ways they are seasonal businesses. When important holidays are looming, more people want to look their best, so fast. Using your communication methods, you should remind your clients that the holidays are looming, so those most interested in booking services will be sure to acquire appointments. You might also urge your stylists to pick up more hours, so you can have more slots available during your busiest times of year.
Know Who Can Handle More
Regardless of how busy the salon is, clients should never feel rushed. Therefore, you must understand which stylists can shoulder more work without neglecting clients eager for high-quality services. Usually, salon assistants have some experience performing salon duties, such as rinsing hair or sweeping debris, and asking them to perform less complex tasks will free up stylists’ time for more appointments. As in any workplace, teamwork helps everyone be more productive, so your schedule can stay full without becoming overwhelming during busy seasons.
Allowing non-appointment holders to receive services is a controversial issue in the salon scheduling community. On one hand, walk-ins can fill in the empty spaces in your schedule, ensuring that your stylists receive as much work as possible. On the other hand, during busy weeks, walk-ins can complicate your books, and those walk-ins who are unable to be seen might leave with bad feelings about your salon. If you are pro-walk-in, you might consider mandating a certain number of walk-in ready hours from your stylists every week. If you are anti-walk-in, you should make your policy well-known so walk-in clients aren’t too disappointed and are more likely to make an appointment for the near future.