You’ve just removed Mrs. Jones’ polish and are preparing her for a fill, when in walks Mrs. Smith with a cheery “Hello.” Her sparkling smile vanishes when she realizes that Mrs. Jones is in her chair! Your heart begins to pound as you realize you have somehow scheduled two appointments at the same time and are booked solid for the rest of the day. You leap up and grab the appointment book, hoping it wasn’t you who made this dreadful error.
Most nail technicians have experienced this scenario at least once- and once is enough! By creating a well-ordered standing appointment schedule, many time- and money-wasting mistakes can be avoided.
Getting a client to make a commitment to a regular maintenance schedule is vital to keeping her nails looking their best. If she goes too long between appointments and needs to be squeezed into your busy schedule, her nails will almost always need a complete redo.
With a standing appointment all clients are assured of their special time. A master standing appointment schedule is a great tool for the receptionist. It helps reduce booking mistakes, allows you to see at a glance how much available time you have, and facilitates rescheduling clients when you need time off.
Creating a Master Schedule
- Use two forms, one for week A and one for week B. Most working clients come every week or every other week (three-week appointments don’t work)
- Set regular hours for yourself and maintain a regular schedule. Don’t forget to give yourself a lunch break! Include repair time if possible. Allot one hour per week for promotional planning (reordering products, displaying retail, and contacting delinquent clients). Always use your “soft hours” for these business-building activities (between II a.m. and 3p.m.).
- Write in your standing appointments first. You can easily see for yourself when you are busiest. If you have three good weeks a month and one dead week, you can adjust your standing appointments to achieve a more regular income. If you are not retaining repeat customers, you need to reevaluate the service you are delivering and make the necessary changes’
- Set goals. At the bottom of the sheet, figure productivity and set your goals. If you were busy every hour of the day, your productivity would be 100%. Let’s figure that, using your fill price as hourly income. (To compete in today’s market, your fill time must be less than one hour per client per day.) Let’s say the fill price is $25. (Use your own fill price if different.)
Figure that for each day and total it for each week. On the second line, figure your present standing appointments by your fill price. Now set your goals and start filling those spaces!
Commitment and Follow-Up
To create committed customers, you must deliver quality, value-added service consistently. Follow these few simple steps to get clients and staff adjusted to regular appointments.
Ask for the commitment. Don’t hesitate! The time to make arrangements for a standing appointment is on the client’s first visit. As you complete the service, educate the client on the use of her new service-extending (home care) products, ask for a referral, and book a standing appointment. It goes like this: “Mrs. Jones, you will need to have your nails filled every two weeks. In order for me to be available at your most convenient time, I suggest we book a standing appointment.”
Bring out your master list and say, “Now, what is the best time for you?” Easy! Most clients will be impressed that you are so considerate and organized. For those few customers whose lifestyle does not allow them to keep a standing appointment (flight attendant, waitress, etc.), be sure to follow up with a note or phone call.
Once a new client agrees to a standing appointment, check the appointment book two and four weeks ahead to be sure her new standing time has not already been booked. Make any adjustments needed and write her time on a card and give it to her. Standing clients should not need confirmation phone calls the day before their appointments because they have the privilege of having a set time on a regular basis.
Clients who frequently change their appointment, no-shows or late-cancels are not good candidates for a standing appointment. Book such clients in open space not already taken by standings.
Transfer the standings to your best to have your book-up-to-date for at least three months ahead. Take home quiet, uninterrupted time to update your book to avoid mistakes. Clearly mark your regular hours in the book. Then, using your master list, mark your standing appointments in colored pencil. It’s a lot easier, quicker, and more accurate than flipping back through the old book, isn’t it? Use a different colored pencil to schedule in new clients.
If more than one technician is using this system, be sure everybody’s week A and week B coincide. If you are lucky enough to have a computer for booking, use the comment or code area to denote a standing appointment.
Scheduling standing appointments has so many benefits: It helps you manage your time set your goals, and most of all prevent the frustrating situation of having two clients trying to occupy one chair at the same time!
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