Cancellation Policies for Salons and Spas
Anyone who has thrown a party in the past few years knows that it’s hard to get a commitment from people today. No one wants to RSVP or make an appointment for anything. While it’s an annoyance to many people, the lack of commitment to appointments can be deadly for salon and spa owners. When people cancel appointments at the last minute it costs salons and spas as well as stylists and therapists money. It also prevents others from obtaining services. One way to stem the losses is to create reasonable cancellation policies for salons and spas.
At one extreme is a cancellation policy that requires complete payment for a service if the service is cancelled within 24 hours, or there is a no-show. At the other extreme would be a salon cancellation policy that did not provide any consequences for no shows. The first policy might lose you customers, the second could lose you stylists and therapists. Clearly coming up with a cancellation policy that falls somewhere in between the two extremes is necessary. How much you charge for a cancellation will depend somewhat on how much services cost, how busy your salon or spa is, and how easy it is for you to rebook cancelled appointments. Anywhere from a token amount such as $20 to half of the service cost may be appropriate.
In order to charge a cancellation fee you must make sure that your salon or spa does an excellent job communicating the cancellation policy in general and specifically when booking appointments. You also need to have a system set up that reminds people about appointments either by email, phone, or text messaging. These systems should be integrated with your general communications and loyalty programs. The key to making sure your salon cancellation policy works is making sure that your stylists and receptionists are all on board with the policy and trained in ways of carrying it out. Many salon management and appointment systems include features that help you design and maintain a good cancellation policy.
Flexibility is also important in designing a cancellation policy. If a good client cancels an appointment because of an ill child or other emergency, you don’t want to lose her over one appointment. Having a waiting list of clients who would like sooner appointments can help turn a cancellation from a financial hit in to a way to increase customer loyalty.