Michael Nass, co-owner of Indira Salon and Spa, recently shared his expertise in a webinar focused on how beauty and wellness businesses can return to pre-COVID revenue. In short, the “old” strategies of 2019 won’t be as effective in 2022.
During the learning session, now available to watch on demand, Nass detailed tangible steps to help brands increase their earnings, reduce the risk of revenue loss, and make their day-to-day operations more efficient.
In this blog post, we highlight essential insights from the webinar Q&A. If these pique your interest, you can watch the webinar recording here.
1. How can a salon prevent no-shows?
When businesses work hard to get people through the doors, maintaining and enforcing a cancellation policy – and risking a conflict with guests – can feel scary. As the owner of a three-location brand, Nass agrees.
“We never like charging a client for a missed appointment. It's completely uncomfortable. It's a hard conversation.”
But it is necessary to prevent lost revenue and keep your staff happy. Sometimes, the solution is just a matter of phrasing. Indira Salon and Spa has reframed the intimidating term ‘cancellation policy’ as a more positive ‘reservation policy’.
“It's just like booking an airline ticket or a hotel room,” Nass explains in the learning session. “Those are all ‘reservation policies.’ ‘Cancellation’ is assuming someone's going to cancel. Instead, let's assume we maintain their reservation by implementing this policy.”
To effectively enforce the reservation policy, Indira saves guests’ credit cards on file. Although some guests may voice concern about handing over their credit card details, using proper card encryption technology can assure guests their payment information is in safe hands.
To reduce the risk of no-shows and ensure guests are fully aware of the reservation policy, Nass and Indira implemented a three-step contact process for appointments:
- When booking the appointment: Guests receive a text message confirming the appointment date and time.
- Two days before the appointment: An email reminder is sent requesting the guest confirms their booking. The email explains that 24-hours notice is required for cancellations and reminds guests of the reservation policy.
- If the guest does not respond to the email: The front desk follows up with a phone call to confirm the booking.
Thanks to the initial reminders – ideally sent out automatically as part of a complete platform like Zenoti – the front desk rarely needs to follow up with a call.
2. How do I keep my employees engaged?
One of the biggest concerns for the webinar attendees was staffing issues and knowing how to improve employee retention. Nass noted there’s been a shift in the industry in recent years, with staff now looking for greater flexibility and insight into their work.
“People want to know what their numbers are: How are my sales today, what's my rebooking rate, what's my schedule?”
Indira has implemented three strategies for happier staff:
- Flexible schedules: To aid social distancing and give staff a better work-life balance, Nass has fewer staff members in the salon at one time. Staff now has every other weekend off – practically unheard of in the industry – which gives everyone a biweekly three-day weekend.
- Dress code freedom: Do staff really have to wear all black all the time? Indira made some modifications to this hot-button issue to give staff more choice in what they wear.
- Greater transparency: Indira uses the Zenoti platform to give staff regular insights into their performance and easy access to their daily schedules.
3. How important is a website (and what if I don’t have one)?
Nass gives a short answer to this question: Get a website.
“A website helps showcase your business. It’s an important part of your marketing strategy for showing people what you’re doing and making sure they can find you.”
He explains that, while social media is important to establish a digital presence, a website allows salons to expand on the business information that’s important to share. This can include service menus, information about providers, and photos of happy clients.
A website also creates opportunities for online booking – saving the front desk time spent on the phone throughout the day – as well as revenue channels for online sales of gift cards and retail products.
Nass notes that businesses can get a custom website developed for under $500, or build it themselves using a website builder such as Wix. Considering the potential revenue impact of promoting and selling services online, this expense usually has a net positive impact on your balance sheets.