Pre-booking: Discover how – and why – you should be doing it

As hairdressers, we’re acutely aware that there are precious few hours in a  day. But the simple fact is, our clients hate to wait – and unless you’re following this one simple rule – you’ve probably experienced less-than-ideal levels of guest retention. Whether you you’re working impossibly long hours, forgoing fresh and on-trend color placements, or missing out on profitable add-on services, pre-booking is the cure-all. But many stylists are intimidated by this empowering method. Read on to discover how you can make pre-booking work for you: increase your revenue, cut down on long hours, plus safeguard your income – and you’ll experience longer-lasting and more pleasant client relationships now, and in the years to come.

Pre-booking: Why you should do it

The first years of my behind-the-chair career were challenging. On average, I devoted 10-12 hours per day to my clients, which in large part, was due to my commitment to squeezing in last-minute requests. But try as I might, I could never accommodate everyone. It was a frustrating cycle that led to personal exhaustion – and frustrated guests that eventually ended up in another stylists chair. And although I was overwhelmed by the thought of pre-booking, it ultimately paved the way to a more lucrative and enjoyable career. The benefits of pre-booking far outweigh the possible pitfalls:

  • Satisfaction guaranteed. When clients pre-book, they’re guaranteed a spot on your schedule. Thorough consultations can help to determine adequate booking times, plus can help to prepare you for any dramatic shifts your client may want to make. Color corrections can take extra time, and are almost impossible on a moments notice. Additionally, a good consultation can give your client a better from of reference for expected gaps between appointments. Each hair cut and color technique requires a different level of maintenance. Moreover, taking control of your books can help to eliminate the ever-frustrating front-desk errors, such as inappropriate booking times, or incorrectly booked services.
  • Add-on services. Additional client services, such as deep conditioning treatments and custom-tailored styling, can add minutes to your guest’s time in your chair. If you aren’t expecting this, it can be tricky to accommodate. But turning away revenue and disappointing your client are equally disheartening. Planning for these deviations can help you to take control of your client’s experience – plus up your revenue stream.
  • Consistent Income. As stylists, we’ve all experienced the frustration of ‘slow times.’ Inevitably, there are certain times of year that are prone to being less busy – and you probably know them well. But pre-booking can eliminate these lulls, and lead to a more consistent income. Be up-front with your clients in regards to your schedule, and express the importance of making – and subsequently keeping – appointments in advance.

Pre-booking: How to do it with ease

Now that you’ve discovered why you should pre-book your client’s, it’s time to learn simple ways to accomplish it – without ever breaking a sweat.

Get comfortable with ‘closing’

As your client’s service comes to an end, make sure to close out your time together with a brief summary, or recap of events. Did you not have enough time to implement change? Were you not able to accommodate a deep-conditioning treatment? It’s important that you make your guest aware of these dilemmas – and let them know that the problem can be solved, by simply pre-booking their next appointment. If you feel uncomfortable communicating with your clients in this manner, try rehearsing a few phrases, such as:

  • “Let’s schedule your next appointment now, and set aside a little extra time to nourish your hair with a deep conditioning treatment.”
  • “This sharp, one length bob will require once-monthly trims. If we schedule you now, I can guarantee you space on my schedule – which is filling up fast.”
  • “If you’d like to alter your color on your next visit, we’ll need more time to implement noticeable change. Let’s book your appointment now, so I can guarantee we have enough time.”

Always assure your clients that last minute cancellations (of course) happen, and in the case that they need to reschedule, you’ll do your best to accommodate the change.

And always remind guests that with advance notice – the possibilities are endless.

Pre-booking can feel both unfamiliar and uncomfortable – but it doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Using the simple tips and tricks included here, you can boost your revenue, increase client satisfaction and up your retention rate – all with this no-fuss technique. So give it a try – and watch as your business grows and grows.