Simple Strategy to Increase Your Rebook Rate
By: Kati Whitledge - Founder of Meet Your Stylist & Beyond The Technique
Do you struggle with having enough new clients in your chair? Do you also find it challenging to get them to rebook for future visits? When clients say they’ll call later to rebook or that they’ll go online to book, are you forced to just cross your fingers and hope that it happens?
How many of you are following up to make sure that they actually have rebooked at that four-week mark before they should be getting ready to return?
Hopefully this strategy will help to immensely improve your rebook success rate. We all agree that if you consistently rebook your clients, you will have long-term success in this industry. It’s imperative that you rebook, because as hairstylists, you probably have commission-based income. This means that as a hairstylist, you’re only making money when you’re doing services.
It’s actually a security strategy for your future to be rebooking your clientele.
Out of every ten clients that visit your business for services, how many should you be expecting to have rebook and return consistently? I’d estimate that when you’re first starting out, that number should be about five out of ten. After six months in the industry, that number should rise to about six out of ten. At that point you should be more comfortable in your position and more confident with the verbiage for requesting rebooking.
After one year, you should be rebooking about seven out of ten. You should be very comfortable at that point. And then, after two years, you should be consistently rebooking eight, if not nine out of every ten clients you see. At that point you’re no longer fresh and new in the industry. You’re not only better at asking for rebooking, but your technical skills have phenomenally improved.
Additionally, during this time, your loyal clients are referring friends to you, so your client base is increased additionally. As a result, it should be easier and easier to rebook, because so many of these new people were referred to you verses finding you randomly.
Or, if your salon is using the Meet Your Stylist tool, every new client will be like a referred client, and you shouldn’t have to worry about new people who might be booked with you randomly.
Have the Right Mindset
Most stylists are very supportive people, which means directly asking someone to rebook an appointment may seem very pushy to you, but you need to have more confidence in yourself. Be proactive, rather than reactive with your life and career. Understand that it will be mutually beneficial for you and your clients to rebook. It’s not an infringement; it’s a favor to get them set up with you in advance so that you can ensure that they have the appointment time that works best for them. It is for their benefit as much as yours.
By rebooking someone, you are ensuring that they have the best, customized experience with you, at a time that works well for both of you.
It’s also important to establish boundaries and expectations. If you never encourage your clients to rebook, you might end up coming in early or staying late for them, and they’ll learn that they can just expect you to adjust your life to fit their needs. A healthy relationship with your clients includes setting boundaries.
I know stylists out there who will come in on their day off just to accommodate clients. I applaud them for doing anything to keep their clients happy, but it also breaks my heart that they’re giving up their designated time off. They need to be willing to be firm and request that an appointment be set up in advance on a day you’re available.
Offer Two Options
This is the big strategy I have for rebooking clients. Offer options, rather than asking a yes or no question. Many stylists say, “Would you like to get set up for your next haircut?”, which is a failure because it’s too easy for them to say no and never return. Or feed you with the “I’ll book later” line.
They can still say no with the following strategy, but it’s not automatically assumed. Instead, you’re triggering them to think and make a choice.
Ask something like this instead: “Would you like to set up your next appointment for Tuesday or Wednesday five weeks from now? That would the 12th or the 13th of the month.”
That way you give them choices, but either way they’re back in your chair.
If you don’t like that tactic, try something like, “Would you like to make your next appointment for four weeks or five weeks from now?”
Again, two options. From there, you can ask further questions about which day and time they prefer in order to finish booking the appointment.
Try not to get in the habit of saying, “My whole night is free. What works for you?” If you say things like that, it’ll appear that you have no other clients, and the individual you’re talking to will think they can just choose any time and you’ll accommodate them.
Once you’ve selected the date and time for them, write it down on your card and give it to them. Even though they’ll probably just put the appointment into their phones, they now have your business card and might be able to refer you to a friend.
As the professional, you know when any particular client needs to come back in order to maintain the look they’ve chosen. You should have already gone through this information with them during their consultation, so you giving them these options later will make sense to them.
It is your responsibility to guide each client to make the best choices for them.
For your busiest clients, why not suggest setting up their entire year ahead of time for a recurring monthly appointment? Then once you establish that full year of appointments, let them know that you’re also accessible. If a conflict comes up for one of their appointments, let them know that you’ll be happy to adjust it so it works for both of you.
Plenty of people would love to get on board with a system like that. Will you still get a no? Of course you will. But don’t think of that as a rejection. Be confident enough in yourself that it’s okay when not everyone says yes, even though most people will take you up on it.
You probably have clients who always tell you that they’ll just book online later. But instead of just letting them continue with unpredictable promise, tell them that you’re getting super busy and don’t want them to go online later just to find out the time they want isn’t available. Just recommend that they let you help them out while they’re there that day, so that they have a great appointment time and day all ready to go.
Again, be confident, firm and directive. Even if you fear being pushy, there is nothing pushy about establishing healthy boundaries and expectations. That’s being assertive, not being aggressive.
I promise that this strategy will work and it will help you improve the number of people you’re rebooking. Just give it a try for a few months and watch how your rebooking percentages, and your pay, positively increase.
Be so active with your pre-booking that you’re swamped. That way, if and when someone cancels the day before, it won’t put a huge dent in your day. You’ll still have plenty of other appointments that day to make up for it.
Rebooking your clients is one of the top three things you need to become an expert at to be successful long-term in this career, so it is completely worth your time to be confident, learn these strategies, and book more clients.