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Pre-Book is Salon & Spa Gold

May 7, 2018 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

On a busy day, take up a position near your front desk. Listen to the checkout dialog between clients and guest services. Observe for 30 full minutes. Process what you see and hear.

Answer these questions:

  • How many service clients did you observe walking out without a commitment to return?
  • What does this say about your salon/spa’s systems, consistency and accountability?
  • What are you going to do about it?

Client frequency of visit (number of client visits per year) and client retention (first visit and existing) are powerful critical numbers.

  • If your salon/spa’s overall frequency of visit increases by just one, its impact on productivity rate and annual revenues can be profound.
  • Higher first-time and existing retention rates are a prime indicator that your team is delivering quality services and those extraordinary customer service experiences.

FACT: Productivity rate, client retention rate and higher frequency of visit are Outcomes. (An outcome is the end result of specific functions and activities.) The key Driver for these Outcomes is your Pre-Book Rate.

Definition: Pre-Book Rate represents the percentage of clients that checkout with an appointment for the future. (Some systems call it the “re-book rate.)

The vital role pre-book represents in a salon/spa is beyond obvious. The problem is the high number of salons and spas that struggle with low productivity, low client retention rates and paper-thin net profits due to low pre-book rates.

Here are six No-Compromise Leadership strategies to effectively mine the Pre-Book gold waiting for you in your salon/spa:

  • It’s a system: A system is a planned series of steps that, when executed properly, produces a specific outcome. At a salon or spa, the pre-book system kicks in at the end of the service and begins with the service provider explaining the maintenance cycle (frequency of visit) and a target date for the next service. The maintenance cycle and target date should be verbal and written. The service provider then hands the recommended pre-book information to guest services. Guest services then tells the client, “Today’s service needs to be performed again on or about [date]. Do you prefer a morning or afternoon appointment?” What’s never said is, “Would you like to pre-book your next appointment?” NOTE: This pre-book system connects service provider with guest services and checkout. It’s done on every client on every visit. The system is non-negotiable.
  • Systems require training and coaching: Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the pre-book system. To implement and make it stick, every employee will need to be trained and coached until fully competent and comfortable doing it with every client on every visit. It’s going to take work, commitment and accountability to mine the pre-book gold waiting to be discovered.
  • Can’t control it if you don’t measure it: The company’s pre-book rate must be shared and discussed at EVERY daily huddle. The only time an individual’s pre-book rate is shared at huddle is when that pre-book rate is high enough to inspire others that it can be done. So, what’s a good company pre-book rate?
    • We consider 90%+ excellent. And yes, we see these numbers during our coaching work.
    • Very good is 70% – 89%.
    • Good is 60% – 69%.
    • Fair is 40% – 59%.
    • Less than 40% is totally unacceptable.
  • Stop paying for low pre-book performance: There’s no simple way to explain this other than the longer you keep handing an employee a paycheck that can’t pre-book at least 50% of clients serviced, you’re enabling poor performance. You’re accepting the unacceptable. IMPORTANT: What you can’t do is just tell an employee to “get your pre-book rate up” or, even worse, that you’re cutting pay. You accepted low pre-book and paid for it. Now you must build your system then train and coach employees how to effectively pre-book.
  • Beware Online Booking: Yes, it’s a “convenience” for clients to book appointments online. But online booking can significantly lower the sense of urgency to pre-book clients at checkout. It can even make people lazy and indifferent by assuming clients will book appointment themselves. IMPORTANT: Online booking must be regarded as backup. Pre-booking clients at checkout must be the priority. It’s the professional conclusion to a salon/spa service. It keeps the salon/spa in control of frequency of visit. It raises and maintains productivity and client retention rates. No Compromise.
  • Make it a critical number until it sticks: The potential gains that come from high pre-book rates can help transform an underperforming salon/spa into a healthy viable company. That means making pre-book rate a critical number that is tracked daily and part of your monthly scoreboard goal. NOTE: A critical number is defined as a number, if moved in the right direction, has lasting and profound impact on the company. Set monthly company pre-book goals. Share it at daily huddles. Celebrate wins. Monitor your system to ensure it’s working. Hold yourself and your team accountable. This is the discipline of success.

Here’s my challenge to you: Now, go observe clients at checkout and get a reality check on the opportunities that are walking out the door. Next, own what you saw. It happened under your leadership. It’s not the fault of your employees.

Share this blog post with your team. Begin working on your pre-book system. Put together a training schedule.

Set monthly pre-book goals that appear on your monthly scoreboard.

Coach. Inspire. Retrain. Celebrate wins.

Mine that pre-book gold.

Categories: Client Loyalty

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