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The Importance of Rebooking Clients

Rebooking can get complicated, but Melissa Verplank’s latest vlog covers the best systems for keeping your grooming schedule on track! Tune in for tips about maintenance programs, client communication, and available tools.

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Melissa: Hi guys. Melissa here, and today I want to talk a little bit about rebooking clients. Now if you guys have followed me for any amount of time, you know that I am a huge advocate of rebooking clients on a really regular basis. I love to see dogs come in every four to six weeks if they’re coming in for full service grooming or bathroom brush. But even better, I love to be able to help clients really keep their dogs in peak condition and getting them onto maintenance type programs, whether it be weekly, every two weeks or every three weeks. But bottom line is you’ve got to educate your customers as to the needs of the individual pet. Some pets really will benefit by being on a coat maintenance program and others not so much. So you have to kind of play it by ear.

But I really love being able to ask that client if they’d like to rebook their appointment at checkout. It gives you a great opportunity to communicate with that customer. And you’ve got to build a couple of different scripts based on the needs of the dog. You know a dog that’s just come in and maybe it hasn’t been groomed in months and you had to totally shave it off. Their needs for rebooking are going to be really, really different than somebody who’s brought in a new puppy. Maybe it’s a Bichon puppy and you’re going to need to educate that client as to the needs of that dog down the road. What’s going to happen with his coat? How often should it be groomed? What is the lifestyle of that pet? So there’s a lot of different things that you need to communicate with that customer to help keep that dog in peak condition.

And it makes sure that it is living up to what the client wants. If they’ve got a whole lot of kids and the dog is out ramming around in a rural setting, it’s probably not going to have a really, really fancy haircut. It’s going to need something that’s a little bit more easier to care for, lower maintenance for the owner. At the same token, if you have an upper echelon type clientele and the dog is going on walks on leashes and it’s on manicured yards, their grooming needs are going to be really different.

So build a couple different scripts, figure out what is going to work best for each individual client based on the lifestyle. And then think about what will help incentivize that client to rebook. At one of my companies, they are very, very price sensitive, so offering a bit of a discount when we ask them if they would like to rebook between six weeks or less. That generally works really well for that clientele.

I have another set of clients that could care less about discounts. They are more concerned about getting what they want when they want it. So the other thing you’ve heard me talk about is it takes well under 200 clients to keep one stylist busy all year round. So if you have a stylist or if you’re one of those stylists that is really in demand, and your appointment book is totally full or it’s hard to get in, that’s a really great way to help incentivize those clients to rebook before they leave so that they get the appointment time when they want it with the stylist that they also want. So those are two different ways to kind of help motivate rebooking at checkout.

Now if the client doesn’t rebook at checkout, then you do what I would call a courtesy call. A reminder call. You’re not being a telemarketer. You’re not being a solicitor. You’re just looking out for the best interest for the client and for the pet. And so if you haven’t seen that dog in five weeks, you don’t have an appointment on the books anytime coming up real soon, those are the clients that you’re going to want to call. So maybe it’s been five weeks and you’re just trying to make sure they stay on a six-week schedule or maybe they’re clients that you haven’t seen for seven or eight weeks. Those are prime candidates to do these courtesy calls and you’re just doing a quick checkup. Just making sure that the pet is doing okay and you were thinking about them and you want to help that client maintain the dog’s coat and keep it in peak condition. And you’d like to be able to get an appointment set so that you can do that for them.

And there’s a lot of different ways. You can either pick up a phone and make a phone call or you can send an email or you can send a text message. It really depends on how you best interact and communicate with your customers. There’s a lot of different ways to do it. But no matter what happens, you really want to encourage those rebook appointments and ideally rebooking six weeks or less. But you’re never going to be able to get clients trained to rebook their appointments if you don’t consistently ask for it. So it’s really important every single time that that client has their dog groomed, at checkout you always ask if you can rebook that client right then and there. And if they don’t rebook, make a note in your computer system, on your client file, however you maintain it. Have some type of a system so that you automatically rebook and implement the rebooking situation.

Way back when, in Mobile, we had to do this because we had to route our trucks and we wanted to make sure that our stylist were grooming and not driving. And so we wanted to be very efficient with our routing. And so we always, we maintained a list, and it was sorted by the number of weeks that we last saw the client and then also by the map coordinates. And we were able to book clients very, very efficiently, keep them on that rotation, keep them with the stylist that they really preferred at the time that they wanted.

And you know what, for a lot of people in the northern hemisphere, normally, especially if you are in a snowbelt area, January and February can be really, really slow. Everything slows down. And what we did is we were very, very efficient between the holiday offering rebooking and making sure that we touched base with those customers, and we were able to get those clients that all had their dogs booked over that holiday season to rebook in January and February. And amazingly we weren’t even that slow, because we were so efficient with rebooking.

So I certainly challenge you. If you don’t have a rebook system in place, a system to be automatic with your rebooking to make sure that you’re asking every single client and that you’re implementing the system every single time, I challenge you to do so because it is the best way to stay full. And when you’re asking those clients if they want to rebook, that you don’t ask them if. You’re asking them when would you like your next appointment, or your calling to book the dogs or cats next appointment. Just assume that they’re going to take that appointment. And you know what? Even if they don’t, you’ve planted a seed and that seed has, it’ll start to fester. They’ll start thinking about it, and even if on our courtesy calls, they don’t book when we call or when we leave a message, most of the time, I would say well over half of those clients will end up calling us in the next week or two to rebook that appointment simply because we planted the seed.

So definitely implement a rebooking system for your clientele, and I guarantee you’re going to build your clientele faster and you’re going to have more consistent bookings down the road.

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