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One of the industry’s leading booking software systems and proud #BeautePartner, Shortcuts, has just introduced an exciting feature to help manage and combat no-shows and last minute let-downs, and now couldn’t be a better time. Introducing the much-needed new addition – Cancellations, introduced by Shortcuts based on direct customer feedback and demand.

The service industry is arguable experiencing more cancellations, no-shows, and last-minute changes to bookings than ever before. This is of course a completely understandable result of COVID-19, as we are all taking more precautions when it comes to our health and staying home if we aren’t feeling 100%. With this in mind, we have all had to adjust our traditional ways of thinking and become a lot more flexible when it comes to changes in bookings (even extending to our staff calling in sick). However, this does take a substantial financial toll on our businesses, and unfortunately, we are seeing plenty of clients taking advantage of this new culture of flexibility by simply not showing up.

Another (thankfully more positive) effect of COVID-19 we’ve witnessed throughout beauty, spa and aesthetics has been the huge surge in bookings since each respective state reopened their doors. A large portion of businesses throughout the community have been absolutely overwhelmed with bookings, and have stayed consistently busy ever since. And with Christmas and summer holidays right around the corner, hefty no-shows and last-second cancellations (without good reason of course) is far from ideal.

Having a cancellation policy or taking deposits prior to services is nothing new, however, the Shortcuts Cancellations feature automates makes the process for you and is built into every appointment, making it significantly more simple to keep track of and process payments. The feature is flexible and allows some customisation around how and when payments are taken. You can set your own time frame around bookings, and choose the amount a client is charged if they decide to cancel or no-show. Or you could opt to only take a payment if the client doesn’t show up at all. Simply collect a client’s card details at the time of booking so they can be stored securely in Stripe. You can of course choose not to go ahead with the charge on a case-by-case basis.

“Cancellations are the best tool to secure your appointment book coming into the busy season,” says Shortcuts Coach, Jonny Critchlow. “Using cancellations means you can not only reduce the last-minute gaps, but you can forecast how much money your business will make, how many staff you need to roster on, and even find opportunities to increase your availability, all without the risk.”

Thanks to the spike in no-shows this year, in addition to uncertainty about the future and ongoing financial hardship, it has become somewhat of a ‘new norm’ this year for salons, spas and clinics to take deposits for all or most services. However, some businesses are still hesitant to do so in fear of driving away potential clients. Charlotte McFarland from Beauty & Bronze used to one of these, before taking the plunge to reduce her growing levels of no-shows. “We were hesitant to introduce deposits initially, as we were worried it might deter clients however it had the absolute opposite effect.  Our theory was, ‘if they don’t want to pay a deposit, then they have no intention of showing up’… which looking back was so true!” said Charlotte.

This update from Shortcuts reminds us all of the importance of sharing your feedback with your product or service providers. They are here to help you and your business, and won’t know what you need until you and other businesses let them know directly. Never be afraid to start the conversation – you never know where it might lead!

If you’d like to learn more about Shortcuts or their new Cancellations feature, visit www.shortcuts.com.au

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