Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Power of Pre-Booking

Pre-booking a client's next appointment before they leave the salon is the most effective way to increase frequency of visits and therefore, sales. We know this, so we make it part of our procedure to always ask if guests if they would like to book their next appointment. We were feeling pretty good about ourselves when we got our prebooking up to 18% from virtually none. The other 82% would say "I can't, I never know my schedule."

Our business coach from Strategies came to town to do a class for us. We talked about the importance of prebooking and the next day he promised to buy us all Starbucks if we prebooked 50%. Prior to that day our best prebooking rate was 24%. I admit - I thought he was nuts. There was no way we could prebook 50%. After the first two guests of the day checked out we were 0 for 2. My salon coordinator looked dejected. Then our coach told her to go back up front and book appointments for the guests who were currently in the styling chair. When they check out tell them, "Since the holidays are coming up I took the liberty of booking your next appointment for you. Let us know if this time doesn't work for you." I was mortified. She came back a few minutes later..."2 for 2!" We prebooked 79% that day. I had my coffee with a side order of crow.

Since that time we have changed our confirmation procedures to two days in advance instead of one. We still had a sharp increase in no-shows. The beauty of it though is that even with the no shows we were busier than we'd been in months! We've settled in to about a 55% prebook rate. Since our book is more full, those who choose not to prebook are finding it more difficult to see their preferred stylist. We figure it's just a matter of time before we win them over.

The holidays are a perfect time to start a pro-active prebooking program. There's a built-in excuse! We've shared this story with other salons in our coaching program and they have all had similar results. Try it and let us know how it works!

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