There are many questions to consider when it comes to offering cancellation policies in barbershops: why should they be offered, how can you introduce them to your clients, and what are the best ways to manage them? To help get to the bottom of this issue, Modern Barber had a chat with the experts behind some of the biggest barbershop software brands to see what they had to say on the matter.
Why Have Cancellation Policies Previously Been Avoided in Barbershops?
Historically barbershops have predominantly offered walk-in appointments, meaning cancellations were unnecessary. However, in recent years clients have demanded more flexibility over their time, and as such, many barbershops have introduced booking systems to help streamline their services. While this move has helped many businesses boost their bookings and attract more clients, it has also introduced the issue of no-shows and last-minute cancellations. Meanwhile, Chris Dann, Shortcuts Education Consultant, notes: “Previously businesses would only consider implementing cancellation policies after experiencing a series of no-shows or cancellations, but the current trend is to proactively address this issue from the very beginning when implementing your salon software.”
Why are Cancellation Policies Needed in Barbershops?
“The conditions of the last few years have accelerated a shift that was already underway,” explains Laura Kane, Phorest Head of Growth Marketing UK & Ireland. “Many business owners have been under pressure. There just isn’t room to risk losing a big chunk of revenue because of a last-minute empty chair. Nor should they have to.” Rober Taracido Ruiz, Country Manager at Treatwell, agrees, sharing: “The escalating cost of living, coupled with the challenges brought on by Covid-19, has made these policies a lifeline for salons, ensuring their income stays secure.”
How Can Software Help You Streamline a Cancellation Policy?
There are some great software solutions available on the market to barbershops, and many of these have specific features to help combat no-shows and last-minute cancellations.
For example, Shortcuts have two features that businesses can leverage to support themselves in this area: Upfront Payments and Cancellation Fees. Highly customisable and easily implemented within minutes, the former enables clients to securely pay a partial or full amount in advance for their bookings, while the latter helps businesses collect a client’s payment card details ahead of their appointment, which can then be utilised to charge guests who cancel or fail to show up for their appointments. “Businesses also have the freedom to selectively request details from guests,” Chris points out, “reducing the concern of alienating your most devoted customers.”
With cancellations and no-shows already a major cause of stress for many barbers, Steve Rodgers, Chief Marketing officer at Fresha, explains: “We wanted to make it as simple as possible to set up cancellation policies and no-show protection.” To help achieve this, cancellation policies are clearly indicated when clients book through Fresha, meaning partners that set up a policy don’t have to worry about communicating it each and every time with clients.
Laura explains that prevention is a great step when it comes to cancellations and no-shows, highlighting the ways in which Phorest makes it easy to stay in touch with your clients: “It enables you to send an email campaign to inform clients of your new cancellation policy, or helps clients to be less forgetful with SMS appointment reminders.” If this still doesn’t work, Phorest allows businesses to set their own custom booking deposits – so when clients book online, they are automatically prompted to pay a set fee to secure their appointment. Businesses can set this to be a flat fee or a percentage of the service price.
Finding a software that suits your business’ specific needs is vital, especially when it comes to deposits and cancellation policies, which can sometimes be a tricky topic to communicate with clients. “With Treatwell’s software, businesses can pick a cancellation policy that suits them. They set the rules, like a 24-hour heads-up for cancellations,” says Rober. “Crucially, clients are in the loop at every step, from the booking process to our automatic confirmation emails, meaning there’s no room for confusion, and making everyone’s lives easier.”
With technology constantly evolving, there are now more ways than ever to help boost your business. Did you know that barbers can even utilise ChatGPT? Find out more here…