When you’re staring at an empty appointment book, it can be difficult to imagine how on earth you can do anything productive for your business. The coronavirus lockdown has forced us all to pause, take a breath, and think about how we run our businesses.
It might feel all doom and gloom now, especially if you’re worried about loved ones. But remember that it won’t always be like this. Very soon, you’ll be able to start taking bookings again. And with everyone deprived of their favourite salon treatments for so long, you can expect to be touching up roots, fixing at-home haircuts and removing some seriously grown out acrylics.
As it stands, we don’t yet know when the lockdown will be over and when it will be safe to resume treatments. This leaves salon owners in a kind of limbo. You don’t want to accept loads of bookings only to have to cancel them all again.
At this stage, it would be safest to assume that the earliest you will be able to accept bookings is from July 1st. If things change before then, clients can always bring their appointments forward. But to be on the safe side and prevent further cancellations, stick to this date.
Here’s what you can do to prepare your salon for post-lockdown bookings.
At this time, you need to be responsive to change while also adopting a “wait and see” attitude. Be prepared for months of uncertainty, but feel confident that things will return to normal eventually.
While we don’t know when the lockdown will end, we do know that it can’t last forever. We would recommend choosing a realistic date to start accepting bookings.
If you want to avoid facing more cancellations and uncertainty, choose a date well in the future like 1st July. By choosing a date and starting to accept bookings, you will have a better understanding of your financial position.
Let your customers know that these appointments are available on a first-come, first-served basis. You can run a campaign notifying them of your provisional opening date, and give them information about when they will be able to book. People are excited for life to return to normal, so you’d better believe they’re going to be quick to book an appointment!
If the situation changes and you are able to open sooner, you can always contact existing bookings to find out if they would like to reschedule their booking for an earlier date before making these appointment slots available to everyone else.
Don’t be the salon that waits for the all-clear before making any plans. If you do this, your customers may have already made appointments with your competitors.
If you aren’t already offering online booking, there are no excuses for not upgrading your systems now. Take advantage of this unusual period to get the salon software you want. It’s far easier when there are no bookings lined up as you don’t have to worry about double-booking customers or losing track of your bookings.
When the lockdown is over and clients can start booking again, you don’t want to have to deal with an influx of phone calls. Make life easier by offering online booking so that clients can book at their convenience.
Marketing might be something you’ve only ever done on the fly. But now you have the time to put a strategy in place. Plan a few months of marketing promotions that you can kick off as soon as you get the all-clear from the government.
Once the threat of the coronavirus has subsided, you can expect many customers will have a renewed interest in hygiene. Put nervous customers at ease by sharing your hygiene procedures on your website. This could be easily added to your FAQs section so that customers know you take this seriously.
If you have been selling gift vouchers for future treatments to help with cash flow, think about how you will factor these into your schedule. A gift voucher paid for in March and redeemed in July won’t generate any income in July, so if all of your bookings are pre-paid, you could struggle with cash flow again.
To remedy this, you could offer limited appointment places to those with a gift voucher. This will ensure you have space for customers paying for the treatment on the day. The alternative is to offer extended opening hours to help with the extra demand.
Being proactive in the way you manage your salon and handle bookings will enable you to weather this storm and make sure your business survives. If your customers get to see you on the other side is down to the actions you take now.
If you need help getting the most out of your Salon Iris salon software, get in touch with our team today. We can offer remote support to help you make the most of the features available.