"No-shows" and last-minute cancellations are the enemy of any salon owner or manager. People who make a booking then either don't turn up, or change their plans with little notice (making it near on impossible for the business to fill the empty seat), is what makes operating a service business extremely difficult.
The common feeling amongst owners is one of frustration that revenue and time are being wasted - and despondent that they did all they could to confirm a booking (including reminders), but yet still see a good seat go to waste.
The reality is that the system is flawed. People have changed their behaviour. A huge number of people are no longer booking in advance, because they know they can't commit that far out. They've learnt from experience that they're likely to cancel and they don't want to put themselves - or the business operator - in that position. Thankfully, the vast majority of us don't like putting people out.
Whilst the salon and spa industry has operated under this model for an age, it doesn't mean it shouldn't consider an alternative solution. Customers are used to having to pay in advance or commit themselves financially in many other sectors. Can you imagine the airline industry allowing you to just make a booking without your credit card? What about hotels? Their businesses would fall over with the last-minute changes in plans that people would entertain, if they were given the opportunity to change their minds without repercussion.
It may seem hard to fathom turning the booking process around - and it seems unlikely that a salon could just add that in on their own accord, but the good news is that technology is here to help you. Take Flossie Concierge, as a good example; its key feature for salons is that it charges the customer for the appointment at the time of placing the booking - making the small commission they take for attracting and securing the customer a justifiable price to pay for security (and comfort). If the customer "no-shows", the salon still gets paid. Accommodating last minute appointment change requests become at your discretion, knowing you have their payment locked in either way.
The key is making it easy for customers to do. Demanding credit card details over the phone is likely to be met with resistance. But customers aren't fighting innovation; in fact, they're welcoming it with open arms - as long as it makes completing a transaction easier. They're leading hectic lives with plenty of pressure on their diaries; Flossie Concierge's smart phone app enables them to easily request, book and pay for services with the click of a button. They needn't pull their wallet out each time, because payment details are remembered from the first interaction. Which, incidentally, makes them ripe for repeat booking faster (which Flossie is very good at marketing around). They can make a request, go into a meeting and even during that time secure the booking without having to speak to anyone. We are all time poor and fixing that "pain" for customers is worth the price of paying upfront for something that they have full intention of paying for anyhow. What's even better, when they enter into the salon for their already-paid-up appointment, they're more likely to buy retail products. Forgotten money is a godsend for salons.
If your no-shows or last minute cancellations are on the increase, talk to us about joining the 300+ other salons in New Zealand opting to allow customers (over 10,000 of them) to request, book and pay for their appointments up-front with Flossie Concierge.
Have any questions? Contact Flossie today.