Q: We experience several no-shows each week. Our receptionist tries to make reminder calls, but when things get busy it either doesn’t get done or she doesn’t get through the entire list. How can we reduce our no-shows and recapture some of that lost revenue?
A: Once a client fails to show for an appointment, that time is lost and so is the revenue that the missed appointment promised. Contact your software company and inquire about what options they have for appointment reminders. Some send out e-mail reminders to clients. Others upload client lists to a company that calls each client with a voice recording. Others issue text messages. While your preferred method may mean an additional cost per contact, most likely it will be less that what you are losing on those no-shows. Choose a system that requires clients to issue a reply whether they will or will not be able to keep the appointment and send your reminders a few days before the scheduled time. Then you have some time to fill the openings. Send out e-mail newsletters with daily specials advertising open times and offer a discount to those who fill the slots.
Q: My top stylist is leaving. How can I keep from losing all her clients?
A: Market to her clients. Using the database marketing features of a modern software package, you should be able to send a customized e-mail, generate a set of mailing labels or print a direct-mail postcard. The message and possible promotional offer should match the goal you have. If you goal is to outright retain her clients, then it needs to be bold. For example, “Return to the salon and experience the same great customer service from another stylist. If you aren’t completely blown away by your service, then your next visit is on us.” If you wish to keep the auxiliary business, let’s say nails, so that you don’t lose all of her clients’ business then try, “Our nail technicians are the best in the business. We want to keep you coming back. Have a free upgraded manicure next time for the price of a manicure.”
Q: I don’t have the technicians to handle the walk-in business at the right times, and I end up turning business away.
A: To maintain a successful salon, you need to manage your staffing so that you are maximizing resource and are available when your clients want you to be. The best software will include traffic reports that detail how your salon traffic is shaped by hour of the day. It also should include details of when walkouts occur and the productivity the employees have by hour. With this data, you can determine when you are over and understaffed.