For businesses affected by a COVID-19 closure or shelter in place order, maintaining and strengthening your client relationships and is more important than ever. Even if you’re not seeing clients in-person right now, it’s still important to keep your scheduling skills sharp, to meet the surge in demand you’ll have when you re-open. If you’re in an area where you’re still able to book clients, instead of double-booking gap times, use the same strategy to stagger bookings to minimize person-to-person contact. Click here to read a letter from our CEO, detailing how Vagaro is here to help your business get through this crisis.
Is scheduling making you crazy? In the beauty, fitness, and wellness industries, your professional freedom and flexibility are dependent on the ability to book clients efficiently. When you have a strong client base, it can sometimes be a little tricky to accommodate your clients and make the most of every working hour. Luckily, online scheduling makes booking 24/7 a snap and gives you the tools to give great customer service, every time they visit. Here are four ways to leverage the Vagaro tool suite and schedule like a rock star!
Make Your Calendar Work for You
The first step to scheduling like a rock star is to make sure you’ve got your calendar set up the way that best suits your lifestyle, personally and professionally. Here’s where booking limitations and lead times help you make sure that you’re creating realistic expectations for both yourself and your clients. Run service and class reports to see which days you’re busiest, and then use that data to be more resourceful about your availability. For example, if you work a flex week, you’ll have working days where your availability is longer than on other days. On days where you’ve got greater availability, you might need less lead time before appointments, or want fewer booking limitations. Whatever your work schedule, you can make sure your calendar is set up to maximize your time. Once you know what you want your availability to look like, you make it easier for clients to book with you in a way that’s consistent and reliable.
Make a Plan to Stay On Time
The next step to booking like a rock star is daily time management. Online booking is convenient for you and your clients when scheduling your calendar days, weeks, or months in advance. But did you know that daily plans help you prepare every day, using a proactive approach to time management? To use daily plans efficiently, print out a detailed daily plan for the following day before leaving work, or first thing when you get in. Try to budget 15-30 minutes to review your daily plan, gather any supplies you’ll need, or to set up any resources you’ll be using. With a daily plan, you’ve got a comprehensive look at how your day should unfold, and you can get prepped in advance. That way, even if you have setbacks, you’ll already have a head start to help you stay on time.
Double Book Your Gap Times
COVID-19 Update: Social distancing has become the current norm, so until the pandemic is over, if you’re still serving clients it’s best to stagger appointment times as much as possible! Instead of double-booking, strategically stagger appointment times to reduce the number of people in your business until this crisis is over and you’re bustling again!
In the salon or spa, some services require time to process (think color, highlights, body wraps, etc.) This sometimes leaves service professionals with a “gap time” of 45 minutes or longer, waiting for time to run its course. But for the scheduling rock star, you can double-book another service during a gap time, thus making that empty stretch of minutes turn an additional profit! Likewise, some businesses may have occasion to book services concurrently, using two service providers. For instance, a couple’s massage, where two clients are serviced during the same time slot, using the same room resource, but with two different professionals. Another example would be a manicure and pedicure, performed on the same client during the same time slot, but with two professionals performing the services. In these cases, you can free up valuable resources by booking services together!
Use a Waitlist to Fill Empty Time Slots
But what happens when you’ve got clients who need to get in faster than your availability can accommodate? How does the scheduling rock star manage walk-ins as well as customers who book in advance? Waitlist to the rescue! A client waitlist is a powerful tool that’ll maximize your daily productivity by giving clients an extra way to get booked. An automated waitlist means less work—for you, the customer, and the front end of your business! For walk-ins and customers who want to get in sooner than your next availability, the automated waitlist allows them to opt-in for notifications. They’ll get a message if you have a cancellation or if your schedule frees up, without you or your receptionist having to contact them before the available window closes. Waitlist alerts can be set to book directly from the message, so once a customer receives the notification, they can book without any extra steps. On your end, you can choose the filters you prefer for waitlist alerts. Options range from “First in Line” to “Instant Book,” or you can choose to manually send waitlist alerts to specific customers. With a waitlist, you’ll be able to make sure that a last-minute change of schedule doesn’t result in lost revenue.
Want more rock star moves to boost your scheduling know-how? Try some of these bright ideas!
- Encourage online bookings with word-of-mouth! Verified
reviews help new customers feel good about booking online, knowing that
they’ll receive the same caliber of service.
the service bundle feature to schedule up to three services with different
professionals in the same time slot.
- Need time to shop for supplies, take a continuing
education class, run to the gym, or just eat lunch? Schedule
a personal task for yourself! That way you can stay available for online
bookings if you want, but still make time for yourself.
- Trying to fill up that class or workshop? Let
customers who are on the fence about booking it see
how many remaining seats are available! Sometimes, knowing that the window
of opportunity is closing can help book the slot.
- Pre-paid client who can’t make their
appointment? No problem! Enable an easy,
automatic refund and you’ll create incentive to reschedule, by making their
refund go off without a hitch.
Your clients already know you’re a rock star—now you can schedule like one, too! Sync and import your business appointments with your Google, Apple, or Outlook calendars and get booking like a boss today!
Header Image and Icons: Mia Montemayor via Vagaro