When your appointment book is totally full, how does that make you feel? For most of us, it’s a sense of security. It’s a source of pride. It’s a guarantee that you are satisfying your customers’ needs. You are doing a good job.
But how do you feel when that appointment book has empty slots? Maybe you are just starting out on your own and have an open book. Maybe you are new to the salon and need to build a fresh clientele. Or maybe you have been at your salon for a while, yet you’re just not getting traction with repeat customers.
Long-time pet stylists know this unspoken rule: a full appointment book offers job security.
So if your appointment book is lighter than what you would like, how are you going to fix it?
Here are a few ideas to help you boost your number of daily grooming appointments.
If you went to a restaurant and the server did not hand you a menu, how would you know what to order? Pet grooming is very similar. Owners know they’re coming to you to get their dog cleaned up, but they probably don’t know all the services that you offer. Services that could help them keep their pet looking and feeling great.
A well-organized service menu makes it easy for the client to select a service. As a bonus, it also makes it very easy for you discuss optional services such as de-shedding treatments, shampoo upgrades, skin conditioning treatments, tooth brushing, nail filing, or other add-on services.
A service menu allows you to quickly summarize maintenance grooming services. Use it to highlight the benefits of regular professional grooming appointments. This is a great place to outline the suggested frequency of appointments. Depending on a number of factors, most pets benefit from being groomed every 3 to 6 weeks. Others may benefit from weekly or biweekly appointments. Having a comprehensive service menu makes it easy to rebook clients on a regular basis.
Develop A Reschedule File
Actively encouraging clients to reschedule on a regular basis ensures that a salon will have a steady stream of clients. Plus, the pets will be in the best possible condition.
Rebooking and rescheduling is all about helping your clients keep their pet looking and feeling its best. It’s about helping them understand the hygienic needs of their dog or cat, such as why it’s important to properly brush and bathe their pet between visits. Those are the goals. You are a problem solver. If they do not want to do the tasks necessary to maintain their pets at home, they will turn to you to do the job for them. Education is the key.
There are a number of ways to rebook that next appointment:
- on the spot.
- reminder calls.
- wake-up calls.
- e-mail blasts.
Rebooking on the Spot
Offering to schedule an appointment at checkout is the best way to get a client to rebook. Develop a couple different scripts and use the one that best fits the needs of that client. For best results, use the tips below.
Ask every time. Think of fast food chains. They ask you every time if you would like something else with your order – every time. When the client checks out, offer to rebook their next appointment to ensure their pet continues to look amazing.
For the busy or in demand pet stylist, reschedule a number of appointments at once or book the entire year. This will guarantee the client will get the premiere dates they are looking for.
In areas that are price sensitive, offer incentives. Maybe it’s $5 off their next grooming if they book within six weeks or less. Or maybe you offer them free upsells like tooth brushing or a spa package upgrade.
Reminder Calls – If the Client Does Not Rebook on the Spot
Ask the client if they’d like a Reminder Call a week before “Buffy” would be due for his next appointment. This could be done via phone, e-mail, or text message.
Actively call clients that have not returned to the salon in 8-12 weeks.
This is a great way to market to existing clients. If you are going into a slow day or week, offer an incentive to get clients in the door for those days.
Rebooking is something you must do regularly – the same way – every time. Make it a habit to ask if they want to rebook at check-out. If they don’t, make sure to call and remind them one week prior to the preferred grooming time for their pet and don’t forget to do the Wake-Up calls once a month for any client you haven’t seen in 8-12 weeks.
People are physiologically wired to make referrals. Many businesses can grow and flourish just by tapping into this business building strategy.
Referrals come from a number of different sources:
- existing clients.
- other service providers.
- pet professionals.
Encourage them to pass out your business cards. Let them know you are looking for more great clients like them. Always keep a supply within easy reach and generously hand them out to clients.
Use an incentive-based referral program. Offer a discount for first time clients PLUS give the same discount to the client that referred them. You give them even more reason to pass your name around – plus – it’s a great way to thank them for the referral!
Other Service Providers
- local pizza joint
- coffee shop
- anywhere people gather and talk
Leave a stack of Discount Incentive cards with the owner or someone who is happy to pass them out. Code the back so you know where they came from – that way you don’t have to ask the customer when they turn them in. You do want to track where the cards are coming from so you can thank the service provider in an appropriate fashion.
- pet supply businesses
- rescue organizations
- pet sitters
Leave them with a basic welcome package they can hand out to clients that would benefit from your service. Participate in and support their events. They are more like to refer and support you in return. Offer a thoughtful thank you gift to those that refer you on a regular basis. Food or flowers never go out of style but there are many options.
What did we miss? What works best – or turns customers off? Jump on our Facebook page and share with your Melissa Verplank family.