Amongst all the uncertainty at the moment, it’s been awesome to see how our communities are rallying together to support service based businesses. We know that it’s a really tough time for many of you. Our customers are our sun and we want to provide as much support as we can, so we’ve put together some tips to help with your cashflow, even if your doors are closed.

Timely’s product tips to help you during COVID-19

This is one of a collection of articles we’ve created here at Timely with tools and information that you can use to help your business during COVID-19. Visit our COVID-19 resource hub to see more.

1. Promote gift vouchers to your clients

A great tool to keep money coming into your business is selling online gift vouchers. You could ask your clients to support through this time (if they have the means) by purchasing vouchers now that they can use for future appointments. 

How to set up gift vouchers

Setting up online gift vouchers is easy! Head to Setup > Gift vouchers and check the ‘Custom amount vouchers can be purchased online‘ box. You’ll need to have a payment gateway like Paypal or Stripe connected to Timely to sell vouchers online, so check out the help guide if you’re stuck. 

3 ways to promote gift vouchers

  1. Get social and create some posts for your Instagram and Facebook accounts to get the word out
  2. Offer a deal to make it more attractive to your clients, like buying a $125 voucher for $100
  3. Get other local businesses on board, like cafes, retail stores and other service-based businesses, so you can cross-promote each other’s deals and access a bigger potential client base.      

2. Use online deposits to protect your revenue

Encourage your clients to make up-front payments or part-payments online for their future bookings. If they cancel or need to reschedule, turn the deposit into a gift voucher rather than a refund. 

It’s important to make sure clients aren’t put off booking and paying in advance during periods of financial uncertainty, so make it clear that your cancellation policy will include a credit, gift voucher or a refund (as a last resort). Check out our guide on how to set up online deposits in Timely.

3. If you’re still open for business, use SMS features to keep clients up to date

It’s worth updating your automated confirmation and reminder SMS messages with a note on rescheduling if your client feels unwell. Here are a couple of templates to help with this:

Reminder Message Template

Hi FIRST_NAME, this is a friendly reminder of your appointment with STAFF_NAME_FIRST STAFF_NAME_LAST on BOOKING_DATE_TIME. Due to COVID-19 we ask that if you are unwell please rebook your appointment by calling us on LOCATION_TELEPHONE. See you soon!

Confirmation Message Template

You are booked in with BUSINESS_NAME on BOOKING_DATE_TIME. Due to COVID-19 we ask that if you feel unwell please call us on LOCATION_TELEPHONE to reschedule.

You can also communicate the need for clients to rebook, or to keep them updated with any changes to your business (e.g. if you need to shut down, reduce your hours, or even let clients know that you’re still open!), using SMS campaigns.

SMS Campaign Template

Hi, its [INSERT YOUR BUSINESS NAME] here with an important update. With the current outbreak of COVID-19 we kindly ask anyone who is unwell to please reschedule your appointment until all symptoms are cleared. Hand sanitiser must be used upon arrival for all visitors to the salon. Thanks for your support.

Tips: Be sure to add your business name to the message so recipients know who sent it. We recommend sending this message as it becomes relevant in your area and would suggest sending it to clients with appointments in the next 30 days.

4. Add special information to your online booking form

Another way to get the message across is to add a booking instruction to your online booking process. It’s a good place to provide information about your booking policy to help protect your team and clients. Learn how to add a custom booking message in Timely. 

5. Add some health questions to your online booking experience

A good way to remind people of your appointment policies is to ask them some questions when they book online or over the phone – the responses will be saved in the appointment notes. 

Here are some examples of the questions you could ask:

  • Are you or a person you live with currently in self isolation?
  • Are you experiencing any cold or flu symptoms?
  • Have you travelled to any of the highly affected COVID 19 countries in the last 14 days? E.g. France, Japan, Italy, or China

For more information on how to add a question to your online booking, check out our help guide.