By Denise Baich, ANT, SSC, FNT, MNT

How many times has this happened to you: “Hi, _____!  I am so sorry to call so late but…” We are booked to the hilt, with many people waiting to get an appointment with us, and then the cancellation call comes. With the short time left before their same day or next day cancelled appointment time, we could be left with an open appointment time and not generating income. Of course, we can talk about charging for these cancellations, but that is a whole other article.

Historically, I would wish the canceling client well, rebook them and use the hour to do much needed tasks. BUT…I would rather be providing a service, and generating income. The posts to social media mentioning a last-minute opening are great and sometimes rewarding, but they do not work for very short-time cancellations. So, many nail technicians are left with un-booked appointment time, unless they, their salon, and their clients learn to utilize an ON-CALL WAITLIST. This technique reduces that happening greatly.

WAITLIST Management

We all handle our lists a little differently, but we can all agree that having a list of names close by of willing on-call speedy-to-get-here clients reduces the downtime caused by these issues. It also reduces the tension and helps us to embrace those moments rather than harbor frustration. Who knew?  A late cancelation under some circumstances can become an income booster. And they are very grateful!

Scheduling programs may have waitlist options. My system allows me to set-up a “Block” on my screen for notes. This is where I set up my WAITLIST. I usually include the client’s name, number, the service desired, and their availability. It’s right there where I or my assistant can easily reference it for the call. As the days roll on, she or I shift my waitlist notes forward and remove accommodated clients; everyone is happy, and income is not lost.

When discussing my schedule with clients, I often discuss the list to train them to understand its dynamics. Then, they understand that by being flexible, there may come a time that we may do this shift for them when their need arises. Of course, I have a few clients who are permanently on the WAITLIST – those who cannot book ahead without having to pay missed-appointment fees occasionally – such as real estate agents who frequently cancel late due to a sudden opportunity call. They are happy on the WAITLIST, and I prefer them to stay there to alleviate their no-shows.

A WAITLIST achieves several things:

  1. Little to no down time exists on the schedule (unless we want it to happen).
  2. Happy clients know I am on top of my schedule and doing my best to accommodate their needs.
  3. It’s trained my clients to understand how precious an appointment with me is. As a result, I have few missed (no-show) appointments or last-minute cancellations. But when it happens, no problem!

One more thing. A WAITLIST promotes an atmosphere of “supply and demand.” It states you have less time available and are in demand. Suddenly, your clients don’t discuss or debate price increases or resent those few times that you need to reschedule them for your personal needs. The WAITLIST trains them your time is incredibly valuable, and you feel theirs is also.

One of my favorite stories is of a client who had graduated college a few months prior and was looking for her first post-college job.  She was (and remains) a regular of mine.  One day she received the call offering her that dream job, and, as she described it to me… They advised her of the day she would start in her new position. Knowing how challenging it is to get an appointment with me she said it took everything she had to not say, “I’m so sorry, I’m unable to start that day because I have my pedicure scheduled.” Instead, she started her job on the date requested, knowing she could simply be placed on my WAITLIST for a soon appointment. AND she felt no guilt as she knew I most likely had another client ready to step into her time slot.

Often, when clients call last minute to cancel, they can be just as frustrated as we are. However, with a WAITLIST we can tell them, “No worries! I have someone to fill that time,” and the stress becomes minimal. If you haven’t considered an ON-CALL WAITLIST or utilizing the language of one with your clients, I highly recommend you try this tool for minimizing downtime and building demand for your services.

Denise Baich. The Pedicure Plus, St. Louis, MO

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