Trending • COVID-19
How to Optimize Salon Scheduling for a Post-Corona World
Sep.29.2020By Cynthia Popper
It’s hard to make time for salon scheduling while juggling all your other responsibilities, especially in a post-pandemic world. Make it easier on yourself with these techniques.
All of your salon employees, from assistants to stylists, manage countless responsibilities while providing exceptional service to clients. Unfortunately, that can occasionally mean losing sight of the big picture and failing to set aside enough time for each client. Throw the additional challenges of coronavirus into the mix — like personal safety and additional workspace sanitation — and salon scheduling can be a downright nightmare.
No need to fret! It's possible to manage appointments to ensure a fabulous experience for every single client without cutting corners. By adding a few steps to your routine, you’ll find you have enough time to keep everyone satisfied — clients and stylists alike.
Social distance your salon scheduling
The usual considerations for an optimal salon schedule involve making sure enough stylists are available to handle clients from a slow morning to a mid-afternoon rush. Thanks to coronavirus, we need to expand our horizons to personal safety. We’ve already discussed COVID-19 business resilience at length, but when it comes to keeping stylists and clients safe, scheduling goes a long way.
Try to space out your appointments so that stylists have the time to properly sanitize and prepare during downtime. Doing so helps stylists work at a consistent rate while preventing clients from congregating outside. You can apply this principle to both daily and weekly schedules. Also, be sure not to cluster all your appointments in the morning or afternoon, and offset busy days by shifting appointments to slow days whenever possible.
By the way, this technique isn’t just for appointments: Your stylist can optimize work schedules as well. For example, some salons split up their staff into two teams that work on alternating days. That way, if one stylist gets sick, exposure is minimized and the other staff are protected.
Send your clients an appointment reminder
Notifying clients about appointments a day or two in advance is an excellent policy, coronavirus or no coronavirus. With a simple text message or email, you can refresh their memories about an appointment they might have forgotten, reducing your no-shows. Even if they decide to reschedule, the warning gives you enough time to rebook the time slot with another client!
In the context of COVID-19, this is also a perfect opportunity to inform them about any pandemic-era salon policies you’ve implemented. Letting everyone know whether they’ll need a mask in advance, or if you’ll be providing one, can ease any fears and may even save you from ending up in a viral video.
Account for sanitation times
When scheduling client appointments, it’s important to remember that stylists don’t spend every moment making clients look perfect. They may need a little time to sweep up hair, tidy up equipment, or simply take a short break. The optimal salon schedule accounts for these tasks, but now stylists must also consider coronavirus-related clean-up. Boulevard offers transition time blocking to ensure time is allocated and not scheduled over.
As per most COVID-19 state guidelines, stylists need to sanitize their workstations between clients. On top of the usual clean-up, this often includes:
Wiping down chairs
Disposing of salon capes and towels
Replacing single-use protective equipment
If you don’t make time for this clean-up, clients will end up waiting on you, backing up your entire schedule. Do everyone a favor and assign sanitation time as part of your between-client routine.
Emphasize online booking over walk-ins
In normal circumstances, walk-ins are a fantastic way to gain new clients. They breeze into your salon for an opening, have a great experience, establish a rapport with stylists, and look great walking out the door. Unfortunately, coronavirus conditions mean that walk-ins are no longer practical. So how do salons keep their “doors open” for new clients while keeping everyone safe?
The solution is to invest in online bookings with a client-facing interface that connects directly to the live schedule. Ideally, these systems let the public choose from a list of services, browse available time slots, and self-cancel appointments in real-time. Solutions that keep the salon schedule updated automatically free up your team to focus on beauty work while still giving room for hands-on adjustments as needed.
By the way, just because walk-ins are impractical doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with online options. Why not account for in-person visitors with a “walk-in” QR code at the front door that checks for stylist availability?
Make use of salon management software
Between your new COVID-19 policies and regular duties, it can be challenging to make time to implement the optimizations above. Thankfully, there are complete management software solutions that make these processes far easier for everyone in your salon.
So what is salon management software? It’s any program that helps managers, stylists, and other employees organize day-to-day appointments and schedules. If you choose a robust platform, it can automate the features we’ve already discussed while offering tools such as:
Online booking: Clients can book appointments online through a dynamic interface that takes into account things like service order logic, transition times, and more.
Self-check-in: The platform you choose should facilitate self-check-in to help you make the best first impression, and adhere to social distancing precautions.
Payment management: Contactless payment is a big plus during a pandemic. Clients can enter their payment information so the system can collect funds once the appointment is complete.
Employee scheduling: It’s not just clients who need a schedule! Managers can use salon management software to create workplace timetables that keep everyone’s shifts straight.
We might be biased, but we think Boulevard is your best bet for salon management software. Our system includes all kinds of tools for beauty and wellness businesses, all designed for ease-of-use. We can handle all of the above — from inventory management to intelligent booking — while automating specific tasks to increase your efficiency. Plus, our smart scheduling feature automatically accounts for transition times during online booking (meaning it takes care of a lot of what we suggested above for you!) and we offer a communication center add-on that gives you easy client communication tools like two-way texting and more! Want to see for yourself? Book a free demo today.