Salon scheduling is not the easiest task. However, the success of any beauty business depends on its ability to book services for its clients.
In the case of salons and spas, hair stylists and colorists, nail technicians, lash experts, estheticians, waxing specialists, and even massage therapists rely on having a full schedule to make their living.
It’s crucial to schedule clients for the specific services that they want with service-providers without over or underestimating what’s needed. Sounds simple enough, right? In reality, salon scheduling is a balancing act. It takes a certain level of skill to put all of the pieces of the puzzle carefully into place.
To help your beauty business make the most of its bookings, here are the best ways to optimize your salon scheduling:
There’s a Science to Salon Scheduling
With salon scheduling, the trick is to fill each service provider’s available hours with the right balance of desired services for their clientele. In reality, it all comes down to increments of time.
Timing is why it’s essential to examine all of the services your salon or spa offers. You want to ensure that your rates reflect the amount of time that goes into providing that service. Once you have a good understanding of that fact, you’ll start to see the potential for optimizing your salon scheduling.
Before breaking down an individual service provider’s available time, start with the resources you have on hand. How many stations or treatment rooms do you have available? Can you run multiple shifts to maximize the footprint of your salon or spa?
Are there any obstacles you need to take into consideration? Do you have limited resources that may prohibit the number of bookings at one time? Can you add resources to help make your salon or spa run more efficiently? Optimizing your resources to increase bookings will help make your salon scheduling efforts that much more profitable.
1. Use Technology to Help You
Step away from that old paper and pencil method of booking. Instead, move into the twenty-first century using software.
One way to optimize your salon scheduling is to go digital.
There are many options for salon scheduling software that will help streamline even automate your booking process. The specialized functionality of salon software is designed to help you become more efficient. It will help increase your income and service more clients by becoming more efficient.
The great thing about salon scheduler software is that you have a system that does much of the work for you.
For example, it can help you make appointments quicker, using just a few taps/clicks to make a booking. When pre-booking the customer’s next appointment at checkout, the system should populate their most recent services for the next visit.
Another feature you’ll want to look for includes cluster booking. This feature will automatically book secondary services along with the primary service.
For example, with a color service, you’ll want a blow-dry and finishing service added automatically. Otherwise, the client is walking out with wet hair. Not a standard you wish to set in your salon.
With salon scheduling, you should also keep resource management in mind.
For instance, if you only have one treatment room, you shouldn’t be able to book two facials simultaneously. In this case, your treatment room is the resource.
The ultimate salon management system offers an integrated solution that includes booking, automated communications, and payment processing. If, for example, you’re using Google calendar to schedule, Square to process payments, and a third-party to send email or text reminders, know that you can do better. You won’t have to remember to take the next step, because, with the right software, it’s all integrated.
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2. Take Your Salon Scheduling Online
A great time-saving way to schedule clients is through online booking. This feature is used when your customers go online through a link on your website, social media channels, or salon scheduling app to book their appointments.
Hair salon online appointment booking scheduling gives your clients satisfaction because they can make a booking 24/7 using any device
People expect to book their flights, make a doctor’s appointment, or even order food on their phone. It makes sense that they’d want the convenience of scheduling with their favorite salon or spa the same way. That’s why online salon appointment scheduling software makes sense. Online salon scheduling will save you time and help streamline your business.
The great thing about having your clients book their appointments online is that it takes the pressure off your staff. Look forward to fewer calls, less checkout time, and a reduction in client data updates. With their information in front of them, your clients are more likely to make corrections to their profile. So, if they’ve moved, have a new cell number, or want to change their payment method, they can do that in the safety of their own home.
3. Use Communication Tools
Using communications tools can also help optimize your salon scheduling. For example, sending clients an appointment confirmation and a reminder is proven to keep them on time and virtually eliminate no-shows.
To make the most of your efforts but not take up your time, you’ll want to look for automatic communication methods. With integrated salon scheduling software, certain booking functions should trigger automated texts and emails. For example, finalizing a client’s appointment. Whether it’s done at the salon or online by the client, it should prompt a confirmation communication. And, a pre-set reminder should automatically go out days or hours before the actual appointment.
The best thing about automated communications is that they eliminate the need for confirmation calls. A huge time-saver for your receptionist.
You might also want to find salon scheduling software that allows service instructions.
This feature can communicate a special requirement for a specific service. Instead of calling and letting the client know about the requirement, you set up a note within that service. That way, when someone is booked for that service, that message is automatically included in their confirmation email or text.
4. Make a Waiting List
Having a waitlist for your salon is always a great idea. It helps keep your schedule filled. Should a cancelation occur, you have a better chance of filling the spot. You would simply slide the next person in line into that spot, assuming that the service they want takes the same amount of time (or less) than the original booking.
Whether you’re using salon software or a scheduling book, creating a waiting list is common sense.
Start a list of clients waiting for a schedule opening:
1) Add their name and contact information
2) Indicate the services they want
3) Indicate their preferred services provider
4) List any time or other restraints – for example: is this client only able to have evening appointments? Do they have a complicated set of services that need a certain amount of time to complete or that only certain service providers can achieve? Do they have a physical limitation that should be taken into consideration? List anything noteworthy — that way, when a service provider has an opening, they take all of these things into account.
With salon scheduling software, look for a waiting list feature that sends a notification or pops up the next person in line automatically should a cancellation occur.
5. Double-Book Whenever Possible
One way to optimize your salon scheduling is by double booking whenever you can. That’s when you or your salon scheduling software take color or texture processing times into consideration.
While one client’s chemical services are processing, a quicker service on another client is booked in between. For example, a men’s haircut, bang/fringe trim, or lip wax may fit perfectly in that half-hour time slot. Granted, the example only works if the service provider offers these services and has no issue bouncing between clients.
6. Require a Credit Card on File to Book an Appointment
Consider adopting a cancellation policy to keep people from skipping out on their appointments. To do so, you’ll need to post your policy clearly. You’ll also want to require a credit card on file for any client to book services at your salon or spa.
First, find PCI-compliant payment processing that integrates into your salon scheduling software to be able to store credit card information on file legally. Once you do, your cancelation policy will be much easier to enforce.
7. Make the Most of Marketing Tools
To help fill your schedule, take steps to market your business. Create and send regular text and email campaigns designed to keep your clients interested and engaged.
Use a mass email program to create and send announcements and newsletters to segments of your client list. That way, you can keep them updated on the latest trends, promotions, and other topics of interest. Use the same content on your social media channels to gain more attention.
Also, set up automated communications to try and bring clients back into your business. Between automated text and email due back and drive back campaigns, rescheduling reminders should be a breeze.
For those running behind in their normally scheduled appointments, use an automated due back reminder to get them back on the books. For anyone who has been out for more than two months without scheduling an appointment, send a “we miss you” communication that entices them to come back in.
Once you’ve taken the time to make the most of your salon or spa resources and the available hours in a day, you’ll see an increase in productivity and income.
So, what have you done to optimize your salon scheduling?
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