It’s not surprising that the best time to book a customer’s next appointment is before they leave your salon or spa. Pre-booking boosts customer retention and helps you better forecast how busy your schedule will be in the coming weeks.But have you considered how you can use pre-booking to increase customer visit frequency and revenue?Let’s say your average ticket size is $100. If a customer typically comes in every two months, their usual spend is $600 annually over the course of six visits. Now imagine that you use pre-booking to get them in two weeks sooner for each visit. Over the course of a year, that adds up to two extra visits and an annual spend of $800. For one customer, that might not be a significant increase. But what if you could do the same across 300 customers? That difference would add up to an additional $60,000 each year!Customers often just need a reminder or a little extra incentive to pre-book. Here are five tips to make pre-booking an easy and profitable part of your business.
Tip #1: Offer incentives to customers
Make it worth your customers’ while to pre-book. Offer small discounts or loyalty point every time a customer pre-books so they have a reason to schedule now versus later.Another great way to bring customers in more frequently is by offering series packages for discounted services that can be redeemed over multiple visits. These packages lend themselves to pre-bookings and are a simple way to generate predictable revenue. Remember that whatever you might lose by discounting services will soon be made up (and more) when you increase your customers’ visit frequency.
Tip #2: Offer incentives to 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. Why not set goals for pre-bookings? These goals can be tied into their commission plan or you can set a group goal. With higher pre-bookings, everyone wins; the center sees more business and your staff is rewarded.
Tip #3: Have fun with it
Try hosting a raffle every month for customers who’ve pre-booked their appointments. Raffle prizes can be gift baskets of retail products you sell, gift cards or specific services. By giving away specific services, you win too: Customers have the chance to try upgraded services, plus they might enjoy their services so much they’ll switch to the upgraded services in the future.
Tip #4: Make it easy to say ‘yes’
Customers want to get out the door quickly after their services. To avoid adding to their wait to check out at the front desk, encourage service providers to pre-book their next appointment during the service instead. Service providers should have access to their schedule and the guest’s visit history during the visit so they can offer an ideal date and time for the customer to come back for their next appointment.
Tip #5: Help customers get their ideal appointments
If weekends or holiday seasons like Christmas fill up in advance, make sure your customers know they may not be able to secure their desired appointment date and time unless they pre-book. You’ll create a sense of urgency around pre-booking and, most importantly, the need to keep their next appointment.
And … our pre-booking pro tip
Is your customer good about coming in every four weeks for their pedicure? Go ahead and book multiple appointments into the future, just make sure you’re using reminder emails or texts to prevent no-shows and late cancellations.With reminders, incentives and a process for pre-booking in place, every customer has the potential to become a repeat customer.