Client Scheduling and Rebooking
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When you emphasize the importance of routine beauty and wellness maintenance, you set the tone for your clients and their attitude towards rebooking. This guide focuses on the importance of organization and client communication as well as “asking for the sale,” which in this case, is asking them to rebook. We also cover strategies to improve service times and correct poor time management.
How To Improve Your Time Management
Spend any amount of time in the beauty and wellness industry and you’ll find, more times than you care to count, you are running late. There are many reasons why you run late, sometimes it’s your fault and other times it is the fault the client. We at MiladyPro asked our Facebook fans why they run late and here is what they had to say.
Why Beauty and Wellness Pros Run Late
- Late Clients
- Add on Services (clients getting more than they booked)
- Poor Time Management
- Client Indecision (they just couldn’t make up their mind)
Nestled right in the middle of the top responses is time management. Every reason for running behind in this list is some way tied to time management (either your lack of time management or your client’s.) Whatever your reason for running late, the fact remains: time needs to be better managed. You may not be able to always control your client’s time, but you can control yours and you can train your clients to respect your time.
Time management in the beauty and wellness industry is a sticky and sometimes slippery slope. You may have the best intentions, have your day appropriately scheduled, arrive 15 minutes early and run ahead of schedule but your great day can still be thrown off if your 1:00 pm client is 20 minutes late. What can you do to improve your overall time management?
Educate Your Clients
You’ve got to go back to the beginning. Take the time to let your clients know how their tardiness affects your entire day. Own your responsibility in not communicating your expectations first. Tell them you want to do your best to ensure everyone receives “your time, on time.” In order to do that you need to tell them directly that they must arrive on time for their appointment. If they are a repeat offender, then ask them nicely how you two can work together to start on time. It is okay to rebook a client who is more than 20 or 30 minutes late. It can be scary setting boundaries, but if you don’t your client will continue coming late because she/he thinks they can. You must be willing to lose it all to get it all. Constant tardiness is an indicator they don’t respect you or your time and you do not have to accept that behavior. The more you communicate your expectations without wavering, the more your clients will respect you and change their behavior. Stop allowing them to be late.
Once you’ve built a clientele you’ve got to give yourself the ability to serve your clients the way they need to be served. A client may book an appointment for an all over color, only to realize when they are talking with you, they want highlights. If your day is booked with back-to-back clients, you are never going to be able to do add-on services. If you are seeing an average of 8+ clients a day then consider adding two 30-minute time blocks. These “empty” time slots are meant to open your day and free enough time for you to be flexible. If you are worried about marking time off during your day and not adding anything on, be flexible. You can move your time around if needed. That 30 minutes is typically eaten up quickly and the benefits outweigh the fear. Something instinctively happens when you know you have the freedom to upsell additional services- you consciously make more recommendations because you know you have the time to get them done.
How To Improve Your Service Times
As a beauty and wellness professional, sometimes it can feel as if you have no control over your time. This is especially true on the days when clients arrive late or their service takes longer than you anticipate. Though there are some elements in life you can’t control, you can put a system in place to help navigate the challenges of time management when they arise.
Look At Your Schedule
Most time, issues can be extinguished before they happen if you do a little preparation. Plan to arrive each day 15 minutes early. Review your day, your schedule, and the flow. If you notice potential problems cut them off at the pass. Call a client and ask that they arrive at a different time. If you have a client you know is always late, shoot them a text and let them know you have a tight schedule and confirm they can arrive on time. You may even see someone who is booked for the wrong service. Call them up and confirm what they were booked for. If it’s not correct, move them to a better time. Don’t stop there. At the end of your day take an extra 15 minutes to look ahead in the books. You will be amazed at what you see and the scheduling problems you can fix just by looking ahead.
Do Service Prep
Once your schedule is secure, then prep yourself as much as you can for the services that are scheduled for the day. Preparing yourself and your supplies at the beginning of your day for all scheduled appointments can be the calming component to any upcoming task, situation, etc. Preparation is not limited to only services but to the essentials needed to help you manage those services. Things like having combs ready, towels warm, and stocked, areas clean & sanitized all play key roles in taking control of your time management. Another factor is knowing how your tools function, where they're stationed, and knowing how quickly and efficiently you can clean and sanitize them in preparations for the next client.
Understand Your Business
There is a great advantage to repetition- whatever we do repeatedly becomes ingrained into our subconscious and we begin to learn. Learning and understanding the who, what, when, where, how, and why of your business, whether you are solo, commissioned, salaried or an owner, should always be on your mind. Write down the different timeframes of each service. This should include prep, consultation, service, finish, close with client, and clean up times. This will help you build up your memory muscle of how much time a service will take. One way to do this is to write down the exact time each task takes then create a "cheat sheet" of how to execute those tasks with different services. Studying these repeatedly will help you build the muscle memory you will need to complete these services quicker.
Look at the Clock
The clock is one of your best friends! There's absolutely nothing wrong with subtlety looking at the clock and telling yourself, "You have 5 minutes to complete this; you have 10 minutes to complete that" etc. This habit will help you train your hands & mind to learn new ways to create the desired result for your client in a timely manner.
Less Pause, More Work
Stopping during services to talk or making too many “tool” stops during the service can be a major factor in keeping you from completing in a timely manner. Learning to be efficient, smooth, and consistent as possible is one part of the task but the other is to make sure you're pausing only when needed. Learn when it's a good time to have your client eye-to-eye engaged in conversation versus the best time to turn them away and just listen. Try not to get in the habit of talking too deeply when performing services. This can very distracting for both you and your client and often affects the outcome of the service. Think of it as a dance and take the time to listen, pause, and move when necessary.
Implement A Cancellation Policy
Many salons, spas, and shops have a cancellation/no-show policy in place to discourage clients from the last-minute cancellation. There are many ways to implement such policies. Some policies require a 24-hour notice for cancellations, otherwise they reserve the right to charge half of the service cost. Some cancellation policies embrace the three-strike policy. If a client violates the policy more than three times, they are required to provide a credit card to reserve a new appointment. Your salon/spa/shop should absolutely discuss adding a cancellation/no-show policy if you don’t have one.
The Cost of Not Preparing
Time is money, so when you are wasting time, you are wasting opportunities to serve clients and make money. What will you (or could you) be missing for not preparing your time as effectively as possible? If the tools you need are not in stock, the product you need is not available, or the service you provided is limited due to the equipment not being readily accessible or available, then you are leaving money on the table. The small amount of time you spend upfront being proactive in setting your day up for success will pay for itself with more satisfied clients and less stressful days for you.
Ask For The Rebook
Building your book to full capacity is an achievable goal, and if clients prebook, you have a better understanding of what your schedule will look like. There are many ways you can increase rebookings, but one of the best, is to ensure your current clients are rebooking every time. That may sound unrealistic, as most of us can’t plan next weekend let alone next month, but if you don’t “ask for the rebook,” chances are your clients won’t either. While performing a great service is important, it is not enough. You must reach outside your comfort zone and talk to your clients about your availability, upcoming events and classes you both are taking. Here are some questions you can ask your clients to make rebooking easier.
Are you normally (off/off early/free) on this (day/at this time)?
By asking them about the current time they are in your chair, it allows you to position yourself as a permanent fixture in their weekly or monthly routine. If not, following up with any of the other questions below will help you to shift gears while keeping the focus of the conversation on the re-book.
How often do you get your hair/skin/shave (cut/colored/facial)?
What we're looking for here are the habits of the client. How often are they maintaining their looks? Is it every 6–8 weeks or 12 weeks? This gives a framework from which to set future dates. It helps you to format a plan that works with their habits and/or increases the frequency of their visits. It should be noted the earlier you have this conversation in the service, the more natural it becomes in closing. One of the keys to successful rebooking is confidence and authority in your recommendation. This does not translate well when you wait until the very end of the service to have this conversation. It may come across scripted and clumsy, especially if you are not comfortable with asking for the rebook.
What are you working towards with your hair/skin/scalp?
This is usually covered in the consultation and if it is, you can weave it into the rebook conversation throughout the service and especially at the close. Are they growing it out or maintaining it? You want to know what the client’s beauty and wellness goals are, and if the answer is nothing, you want to know what you can suggest for them. Is it a different haircut or updated color? What about a cutout barber technique or a series of treatments for anti-aging? Giving the client something to look forward to and be excited about keeps the relationship interesting. This is a conversation that needs to be on-going with every visit and every milestone in a client’s evolution. Like goal setting, when a goal is reached, and another does not take its place, complacency may set in. The last thing you want is for your client to be indifferent. Like any relationship, when we continue to provide the status quo, other options may start to look more attractive.
I've/it's been getting busy lately, let's make sure you get the time that works best for you.
This is one of my favorite conversations to have. Whether it's true or not in the current moment, having this conversation consistently will make it true soon enough. It puts your services in demand in the eyes of the client. Supply and demand can either decrease or increase the value of your work. When the demand is greater than the supply, that’s when your value goes up. People will want to make sure they get their time with you. Walking into the salon, spa or shop to a busy service provider confirms the notion the service provider is in demand, and their unique experience and service is valuable.
(Insert holiday or event) is coming up soon! Let's make sure you get your next appointment on the books.
This conversation can be a follow up to the previous one as most people are busy for the holiday. Listen intently for special events coming up in your client’s calendar, such as weddings, vacations, and reunions. These special occasions are a great opportunity for rebooking. Position yourself as their solution to their beauty and wellness needs. Offer to rebook right before the big event and consider sweetening the offer by planning something different. Giving your clients something to be excited about increases the likelihood they'll take you up on the offer, and if you're consistent, it may become a regular thing.
It's important to keep in mind not everyone will bite. Some people really do have crazy schedules that does not allow for them to rebook. It’s important to be persistent and consistent in addition to being professional and doing stellar work. Condition yourself to accept the “no thank yous” and the “I just don't know my schedule” as a part of the job. Every “no” gets you a step closer to a “yes,” and every “yes” makes you a busier and happier beauty and wellness provider.
This is your business. It is time to establish boundaries. You are responsible for your success; own it! Respect yourself and your client’s time and you’ll be amazed at how time issues just disappear.