Have you ever been late for your doctor appointment and they cancel or reschedule it for another day? Because of the demand, doctors are going to continue having new patients walk in and wait so they have a higher level of certainty that their patients whose appointments they cancel due to lateness (or even those they make wait) will come back. But what about the struggling salon owner who can’t seem to get new people in the door? Whether you are the professional who can't seem to perform a service during your client’s booked window or you have customers who are always late, causing you to keep pushing your days longer, here are a few ways you can regain control over your time.
The first thing you need to do is train your mind and start approaching the windows of time our clients book with us as reservations vs. appointments. The people who walk through your doors should go from being customers to becoming your clients. When clients are reserving your time, a mental shift happens: we stop thinking about the client as the one taking our time (like with an appointment) and, instead, start treating each window as time we are happily offering the client. Using “reservations” (just like using the “client” instead of “customer”) shows that we value the individuals we serve and our time together. This is how you start to build mutual respect for time between you and your client.
This can be handled a few different ways. The first step is understanding why they're late. If this is the first time your client is late, don't feel pressured to be tough on them. Things happen- we'be all been there. You do, however, have to communicate with the client why running late disrupts not just your schedule, but the amount of time you have to create the client's desired look. If your client is habitually late, you need to put a system in place for them. One way to do this is to have all clients provide their email and credit card information prior to booking any service and remind them that should they cancel within a certain time frame, they might be charged a fee or get dropped to the back of your appointment book. Clients must have an accountable way of knowing times are accounted for and it's imperative that they communicate with you. The opposite approach is to reward clients when they're early, on-time, or consistently reschedule. Studies have shown that when a person is recognized, there is a boost of pride within them that keeps the energy flowing in the direction of the recognition. You might do this by throwing in free product samples or have an awards card that gives them small discounts every so often.
So, what happens if you're late? That's when you need to keep one phrase in mind: “When we’re late, compensate.” If you're running behind, consider taking 5% off their service bill. Another way is $2 off or even a free haircut voucher for a new friend. The key to this strategy is not to lose money, time, etc. but to focus on building a solid timing structure that does not allow for your day to become manipulated with compensation. It also role models to the client that you hold yourself accountable to being on-time (just as they should.) This doesn’t mean you need to overcompensate or have a negative outlook on the situation. It simply means that everyone- artist and client- need to be held accountable for being late.
It takes time to create good habits and build good time management skills so when you first start implementing these changes, don't be too hard on yourself. With time you'll learn and stressing over lost time will be a thing of the past.
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At 15 years of age with an opportunity to apprentice, Cifrèdo's first assignment was tearing down & restoring every pair of clippers in the drawer of his barbering mentor. After 7 years of hands-on experience, Cifrèdo humbly ventured off to open his own first two chair location. Now in year twelve, Cifrèdo'zTM Barber Saloon offers world-class services for their diverse clientele with a fashionable standard of excellence & experience.
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