3 quick fire ways for salons to deal with no shows
In my post today, I wanted to look into the age old problem that us hairdressers face on what seems like a daily basis at times. I look at 3 simple ways to help eliminate this shared frustration by examining why it happens and more importantly how we can put in preventative measures to avoid it moving forward.
Picture this… it’s a busy Saturday morning and you have been running around like a headless chicken since your feet touched the ground on arrival. You look at the clock and your 10.30 am appointment has not yet arrived?
‘That’s unusual’ you think to yourself? Time ticks on and it’s now 10.45 am, it appears they are either late or not coming at all!
‘Did I book them in correctly when they last left? Are they running late? Have they simply forgot?‘
11 am strikes and your next appointment walks through the door, deeming your previous client a ‘No Show’!
If you are anything like me, this is an all too relatable and irritating occurrence. No shows cost the salon money and the stylist if you are self employed. So it is essential to minimize them where possible.
In this post I am going to show you a few ideas you can easily implement to try and reduce those annoying no shows and keep your salon running at maximum profitability and efficiency.
How can we solve this frustrating issue?
Now aside from dragging people into the salon yourself, we cannot control the actions of others unfortunately.
However, there are a few things you can do to help combat this problem for your salon…
1. Call, text or email the client ahead of their allotted appointment
This is the easiest to put into practice and is proactive, it only takes a minute and can be very useful for both parties. Dentists, doctors and plenty of other service industries use this method and it can prove very effective as a reminder.
Salon Saviour tip
I would recommend doing this 24 - 48 hours before they are expected. This is because calling a while in advance can allow too much time to elapse in between and can still slip peoples mind. If you call without much notice - and the client has forgotten and can no longer make the appointment, you may struggle to fill their slot at such short notice. This rough time frame also allows you to follow up if necessary. Test it out though and figure out what notice is the best time frame for you to call and what works best for your salon
“Hi Jane, Just a quick reminder for your hair appointment on Wednesday 6th July at 10.00am. Please confirm if you are still able to attend, hope to see you then. Any problems please don’t hesitate to contact us on…Thank you, (your name or salon name).
You may notice I added a confirmation prompt in the template. This is because it encourages people to respond to confirm their appointment. Remember, if clients are making appointments on average 6 weeks in advance there is every chance they may not remember every time.
I have found the cue to confirm to be very useful in my own experience. When I have just sent a reminder without this cue, some clients don’t respond and you are still unsure if they will turn up until the time comes.
There are salon softwares available to assist with automated appointment reminders. Read more about salon software and the best providers, here.
2. A call or text after their missed appointment
Now this may seem counter intuitive as these are tips on prevention. But a quick call after a client has failed to show up for their slot, reinforces that you have missed them. I guess a ‘Sorry we missed you’ kind of take?
This is just a courtesy call to check in if they are a regular, that they are okay, and there hasn’t been some sort of mix up. Usually it’s the latter or they have completely forgotten. From personal experience, they are usually mortified that they let you down and never do it again!
And for those new clients that do it, and perhaps still forgot but don’t have the same sentiment. It is also a bit of a nudge in their direction just to say ‘Hey, I noticed you missed your appointment today.’ Hopefully they will refrain from this in future as it has not gone unnoticed by the salon.
Unfortunately, a majority of people are not always aware that some stylists are self employed. Therefore don’t grasp the repercussions it causes from them not turning up for their appointment.
Salon Saviour tip
It may be worth noting, depending on how much this problem affects your salon, that putting up a polite notice to educate clients and instill good habits will do the trick. The notice could state that as a result of people not turning up - some stylists lose out and will not be paid for that missed slot. As well as other clients on your wait list potentially missing out. Remember, keep it polite and concise - sometimes it is not ignorance just lack of awareness from clients and a little education goes a long way.
3. Charge a nominal amount and tag it onto their next bill
Again, you would have to call or inform the client before doing so. Or if they call afterwards to rearrange the missed appointment – inform them that this policy was in force.
Having a fee for missed appointments, can help claw back some money lost for having the slot unfilled and discourage it from happening again in future.
Charging in accordance to the appointment cost – so a percentage of the treatment will make it fairer depending on the time booked out.
This will also help weed out the time wasters that repeatedly do this by showing that your time is important and will still cost them. If they have no intention of showing for the appointment you will not miss their custom and your time would be better spent focusing on your loyal, respectful clients.
The other alternative for any clients that have proven unreliable in the past is to take a deposit prior to their appointment which is non refundable if they miss their appointment or rearrange with limited notice.
Salon Saviour tip
This method can also be applied to tardy clients. You can charge them for a 'missed slot' and your time if you have to reschedule as a result of them turning up really late. You would need to stipulate how late clients would need to be before putting this into action. Usually 15 minutes is a fair allowance, as you will likely run into your following client which has a knock on effect for the rest of the day. If you politely ask clients to arrive 5 minutes before their allotted time, this will allow them to get settled in and for you to deliver the best service to each and every one of your clients.
You should have this policy clearly stated in plain sight of customers and ensure it is outlined on your website as well as when taking phone bookings too. A simple notice on the sections and/or on the front desk stating the policy will suffice.
This system is somewhat tricky to enforce more so than the other two suggestions, as people could go elsewhere in future with it not being a nation wide system in place. However most hairdressers have a good relationship with clients and they would understand the fee attained and be obliging to pay up!
Salon Saviour tip
You can use your discretion and may choose to waive the fee for regulars and one off occurrences. Really this method should be used as more of a deterrent than anything else, but repeat ‘offenders’ (you know the ones) must comply to the set fee.
Although this is probably the most difficult to invoke, it is probably the most effective in that clients will only do it once!