Pre-booking appointments is the act of booking a customer’s future appointment before (or perhaps within 24 hours) of leaving your salon or spa. Pre-booking is a business strategy that helps you achieve better customer retention and provides you with a better insight into how full your schedule is in the coming weeks.
In many cases, you’ll also be able to increase visit frequency of your clients, which can amount to significant savings. For example, at an average ticket size of $100 and:
If a customer typically comes in every 2 months, or 6 visits a year, that’s $600 a year they spend with you.
If you can get them to come in 2 weeks sooner for each visit, that amounts to 8 visits a year and a spend of $800. Assuming you can increase visit frequency for 300 customers, that’s an additional $60,000 for the year!
Often, customers just a need a reminder or a little extra incentive to pre-book. We’ve got 5 tips to make pre-booking an easy and profitable part of your process.
Incentivize your customers.
Award loyalty points every time a customer pre-books. If a customer is regular, they likely have nothing to lose by scheduling now. If you can get them to come in on-time, or sooner than usual you’ve increased their visit frequency and with little effort.
Incentivize your staff.
Successful service providers and even front desk staff are expected to help your business in ways beyond providing exceptional service. For example, you probably set retail sales or customer retention goals. Similarly, you can set goals for pre-bookings. This can be tied into their commission plan or set a group goal.
With higher pre-bookings, everyone wins; the center sees more business and your staff is rewarded.
Make it fun. Run a raffle.
Host a raffle every month for customers who’ve pre-booked their appointments. You could use a goldfish bowl to collect names, but with the right software the system will track this list for you.
Raffle prizes can be a gift basket of retail that you sell, a gift card, or specific services. By giving away specific services, you have the opportunity to have the winner try a service that they otherwise would not have tried. For example, give away your upgraded pedicure rather than the basic pedicure.
It will take you longer, but it encourages your customer to purchase that upgraded service in the future.
Make it easy for the customer to say yes.
Customers tend to like a quick exit after their service, so they don’t want to hang around the front desk. To avoid the customer waiting at the front desk, encourage your service provider to make the pre-booking during the customer’s appointment. Processing times are perfect to do this.
Ideally, your service provider should have access to their own schedule and the guest’s visit history. Or, they should simply look this up before the customer’s arrival. Your service provider can offer an ideal date and time to come back, one that fits their availability and the customer’s visit pattern.
Help the customer get their desired slot.
If your weekends or holiday seasons like Christmas fill up in advance, help your customers get their desired appointment date and time. You’ll create a sense of urgency around pre-booking and, most importantly, keeping their next appointment.
Pre-book more than one appointment into the future.
Is your customer good about coming in every 4 weeks for their pedicure? Go ahead and book multiple appointments into the future. Your software should remind your customers of their upcoming appointments in a timely manner (Zenoti has multiple methods to mitigate no-shows and cancellations, talk to us to find out more!)
Along the same lines, if you can sell a series package that includes services that can be redeemed over multiple visits – well, that’s the easiest way to get your pre-bookings scheduled!
Start adding these tips to your everyday practice right away.
With reminders, incentives and a process for pre-booking in place, every customer has the potential to become a repeat customer.