How would you feel if you’re told that salons don’t sell services, but sell time? Surprised right? However, if you take a step back and observe the operations of salon from a distance, you’ll notice that behind the scenes salons actually only sell time. A good way to observe the phenomenon is to take a hard look at the daily schedule of your team members, who make their living by allocating time slots to various guests, and providing them with the specific services that they need. It is the judicious allocation and use of time which helps them, and consequently the salon grow. As a result, the onus of optimizing salon and staff lies squarely on the shoulders of the salon owner / manager. In this post, we talk about the 7 tips that can help you crack the puzzle known as salon scheduling
Deploy a Salon Scheduling Software
The first step towards creating an optimal schedule is to go digital and leverage the power of technology. By deploying an online salon scheduling software you can take the guess work out of the equation. The best salon scheduling software will include a host of features such as online booking for individuals and groups, automated reminders, wait-listing, and cluster bookings. For e.g. Zenoti salon scheduling software allows guests to book appointments at their convenience, and get instantaneous confirmations. The confirmed bookings are then auto populated onto the salon’s common appointments calendar and the individual calendar of the staff.
Incorporating a waitlist to your salon’s appointment is a great way to fill up the sudden openings which arise out of rescheduling / cancellations. It can be implemented easily and all it requires is to offer guests an option to enrol themselves on the waitlist, while they are in the process of making a booking. The process can be easily automated by using a salon scheduling software. As soon as the software detects an empty slot, it immediately contacts the waitlisted guest and offers them the opportunity to book the slot. If the first guest on the list choose not to take up the slot, the system moves down the list to send offer to the next waitlisted guest. The process repeats until the slot is booked again. As a result, there is minimal damage done to the appointments calendar of both the salon and the provider.
Implement Cancellation & No-Show Policy
Nowadays, most salons are implementing the cancellation and no-show policy. It is being done so as a mark of respect towards the time that is being allotted. By incorporating a no-show / cancellation policy and informing the guests about it at the time of accepting appointments you are giving them a clear idea of what happens in case of last minute changes. One of the ways to implement a no-show / cancellation policy is to seek credit card details to guarantee an appointment. While the idea here is not to fleece any guest, but to let them take cognizance of the matter. In absolutely genuine cases, waiver of cancellation maybe offered
Plan your time slots wisely
We circle back to the beginning of this piece, and revisit the concept that salons sell time and not services. Thus, in order to optimize the schedule, it is important to create consistent time slots. A good place to start is by breaking time slots in batches of 15 minutes and counting the service duration in multiples of 15 minute slots. In other words, duration of service should always be in multiple of 15 minutes and ideally should end prior to the ending of the slot. Not only does this save unproductive gaps, which arise due to adhoc service duration but also will help you achieve better guest turnover.
Allow your Staff to Control Schedule
Your salon is successful because of the hard work that your team puts in, so consider showing your appreciation by allowing your staff to fix their schedule such that there is minimal adjustments due to an unexpected situation arises, and less conflicts. By allowing your staff to ensure their availability in a combination of partly fixed and partly flexible schedule, you can give them complete flexibility and keep them happy. Additionally, flexible hours can also help your business acquire new customers, who weren’t able to visit before because of staff timings conflicting with that of theirs.
Leverage Insights to create smart schedules
One highly effective way to optimize schedule is to create appointment slots based on the business insights. A salon scheduling software can easily help in the process. By analysing past sales data, adjusting for seasonality, and understanding guest demographics, the salon scheduling software can come up with a list of suggested high margin services that should be made available during the peak business hours, and push the availability of less margin services to off-peak hours. Doing so will not only result in better revenue / hour for the salon, but also ensure that your business, and staff sees minimal downtime. Zenoti salon scheduling software takes the idea of smart scheduling a step further. It allows you to set different between appointments break times for different times of the day. For instance during the peak hours, between appointments break times are limited to 10 minutes and during off peak hours these are extended to 20 minutes. With this small tweak, the software allows you get the most of the peak hours while ensuring that your team also gets enough breaks.
Improve Service Efficiency by Double Booking
This one works only with concurrence of the staff, and only if they have no issues switching between guests simultaneously. The idea is to leverage the processing time of one service to render another service. For instance, when one guest is undergoing a treatment such as colouring or hair spa, another guest can be taken in to offer a quick service such as a trim, or an eyebrow shaping service resulting in higher service efficiency.
We hope that these above ideas will help you in optimizing your salon schedule, and help you achieve better outcomes. Have other ideas? Do let us know in comments.