Reopening your salon after COVID-19
You’ve had to sit back and watch thousands of people commit crimes against beauty (and sanity) during lockdown, but it’s almost your time to shine again! We’re here to help you stand up against terrible home haircuts, poorly shaped eyebrows, and hot wax disasters by getting your business set up and ready to reopen with a bang!
Ready, set, go!
- Set your calendar up for success
- Keep your clients up to date
- Get ready for your bookings to take off
- Fill your calendar with bookings
Run your business like a pro
Set your calendar up for success
Social distancing has changed the way we do a lot of things; like elbow bumping instead of high fiving and doing home workouts with cans of baked beans. It’s also changed the way you see your clients, and you might need to make changes to your business hours to keep up with new health and safety practices like having limited numbers of people in your salon at once.
Before you start taking bookings again, you should set up your calendar with changes to your hours and roster your staff accordingly. It’s a good idea to stagger your appointment start times so clients don’t all arrive at once, and you can also use our padding time feature which automatically adds a time buffer to the start or end of your services (or service groups), which will help with any additional time your staff might need to clean and prepare the salon for your next client.
If you’ve got lots of staff members, you also might want to roster the same ones together for certain shifts, to limit how many different staff are interacting with each other.
Keep your clients up to date
Much like how we’re all expected to queue up and shop 2 metres apart, the experience for your clients in your salon is going to be different now too. You should let them know what’s changing and what they should expect from their next appointment, and a great way to communicate with your clients is with SMS messages.
Our bulk SMS rates are the cheapest in the market, so you can send a high value message to all of your clients or just a few targeted ones, without breaking the bank. Using advanced targeting, you can let clients know via SMS when your business will reopen, what new health and safety rules you both need to follow, and include your online booking link so clients can book ahead.
Prefer email over SMS? Timely integrates with MailChimp, so you can easily create and send ad-hoc or automated emails and newsletters to keep your clients up to date or even promote your business, and monitor the results.
You should also update your automated messages, like appointment confirmations and reminders, to highlight any new health and safety protocols that clients need to know about before their appointment. This will save you from having to manually get in touch with clients, and help to keep them in the loop. Win-win!
Check out this blog for some great ideas for SMS Campaigns.
Tip: Customise your SMS and email campaigns so every interaction with your clients reinforces your brand and reflects well on your business.
Get ready for your bookings to take off
Set up online booking
This is the perfect time to set up online booking and let Timely do the hustling for you! It’s the easiest way for you to manage your bookings, saving you hours of admin time trying to handle the flood of appointment requests.
Using online booking;
- Your clients can book in 24/7 from your website, Instagram, Facebook page, an SMS, or an email
- You’ll stay in control of your calendar and maximise staff productivity and profit with (optional) features like Minimise the gaps, which only shows online booking availability before and after booked timeslots.
- You can also take part or full online deposits to secure an appointment and get rid of no shows.
Tip: Customise your online booking so it matches your brand and looks sleek and professional. Timely has online booking options that can easily be customised for everyone’s needs – it’s a no brainer!
Take deposits or full payment for every booking
Taking a part or full deposit before an appointment means you benefit from getting cash up front, you’re offering a contactless payment option, and there’s also a reduced risk of no-shows. Your clients will understand, and some even prefer it to help spread the cost over a longer period, and it saves them from having to faff around paying after their appointment.
Heard of TimelyPay? It’s the easiest way to take online payments, and only take a few minutes to get set up! Get to know TimelyPay
Tip: Make online payments work for you by controlling which services require deposits and how much the deposit is.
Set it up in Timely: Setting up deposits and prepayments
Set up premium packages
Take advantage of the demand when your doors reopen and make sure your time is well spent by only offering premium packages/bundles. You can’t see everyone at once and there may still be restrictions on how many clients you can see, so you should try to prioritise the clients who are willing to pay for more services or even pay a premium to be seen first.
Simplify your service list with premium bundles/packages that let you maximise your revenue and reduce the low cost, quick services. Seeing 10 clients paying $200 each is going to be much easier to manage than seeing 20 clients paying $100 each.
Tip: To do this in Timely, create service groups that can be booked online and turn off all other services for the first few days after you open your bookings up. Once the most eager clients or your VIPs have filled the first spots, you can enable the rest of your services to be booked again.
Set it up in Timely: Set up new service groups in Timely
Fill your calendar with bookings
There are lots of creative ways to let your clients know you’re open again that don’t involve donning a giant lipstick costume and dancing around with a cardboard sign. If that’s your thing, go for it! But just in case it’s not, here are some other options for you.
Use SMS campaigns
The Gentry sent an SMS campaign to 190 clients, costing them $57. They received 128 bookings and $4,000 in deposits in 24 hours.
There are a few ways you can use SMS campaigns to tell your clients you’re open.
1. There will be clients who missed their bookings when you closed – let them know you’re open for bookings first. These clients are going to be the most in need of an appointment and they’ll be grateful you prioritised them.
How? Filter clients who had an appointment booked during the dates you’ve been closed.
2. Let your VIP’s know that you’re open again and they’re first in line. If you haven’t marked anyone as a VIP you can go through your favourites and high spenders and mark them as VIP before you send this.
How? Use the VIP checkbox in SMS campaigns and follow this guide if you need to add VIPs.
3. Just go crazy and send your booking link to all of the clients who have booked in the last 12 months and give them all an equal chance of getting in first.
How? Use the date range filter to select clients who have booked appointments in the last 12 months.
Help Guide: How to send an SMS campaign
Get social from a distance using Instagram and Facebook
Use your social reach and have some fun with it! Set a date and time that bookings will open, create a live countdown and flick the switch to let your followers book in first.
Help guide: Set up Instagram and Facebook booking
Coming soon: Pump up your waitlist
The Timely legends are hard at work on a waitlist system to help you deal with the demand! Clients will cancel and change bookings and we want to help you keep that calendar full so keep an eye out for our new waitlist feature to help you do just that.
Run your business like a pro
There are some long-term changes that businesses will need to make off the back of COVID-19, so it’s a good idea to start thinking about the new health and safety requirements, and putting a plan of attack into action now.
Set yourself up for contact tracing
In the new world, lots of businesses will need to keep track of their clients for contract tracing purposes; not just their name and phone number but also their home address, email, and other details you might not already have. Don’t worry, Timely can help to make this an easy process!
You can add a link to your reminder messages that lets clients check and update their contact details, and if you need to ask for more information you can send your clients a custom form to fill out before they arrive with any additional questions.
Help guide: How to automate contact tracing
Reduce your clients’ time in the salon
Making coffee for clients while they read magazines and wait for their appointment is going to be some time away, so it’s worth thinking about what this experience looks like for your clients now. There’s also an opportunity to make your salon more efficient; if you can perform some services online (like pre service consultations) or have forms filled out before your clients arrive, your salon will be humming with high-value services and quick client turnover!
Start consultations before your clients arrive
You can create and customise your own digital forms and send them to your clients to fill out and send back before their appointment. They can even add photos, so you can review their information and make sure you’re already on top of the details or request any further information before they arrive. If your consultations are more in-depth, set up a video call with your clients through Timely to walk through their consultation and save yourself that time in the salon.
Change the way clients wait with SMS
Lots of businesses won’t be able to have clients waiting in the salon for their service to start, and one way to help with this is to use SMS to keep clients up to date. For example, as one client leaves, you can message your next client to tell them you’ll be ready in five minutes or let them know you’re running a touch late. This will be new for everyone, but as long as you keep clients in the loop and make sure they know it’s for everyone’s safety, they’ll be on board.
Help guide: Send a one-off message from Timely
Taking full payments for online booking means that your bank account is happy and your clients are all paid up when they arrive so you won’t need to take payment instore. Afterpay and Laybuy are also a great option, they’re completely contactless and your clients are able to spread that cost which is a great option for them right now.