Instant Gratification is a product of this new world we live in when we hold everything in the palms of our hands. Need an Indian Headdress? Jump on Amazon.com and in a couple of clicks, 2 days of shipping – bam! Want to know how much money Kim Kardashian makes per tweet? Simple! Do a Google search and the answer is there within 45 seconds. Your dog needs a grooming appointment? Call the groomer… … “Your first available is in 3 weeks???” Oh boy.
The service industry is having a huge problem right now when it comes to scheduling appointments and the needs and desires of its clientele. Too often, clients cannot break away from the mindset of instant gratification – dog needs haircut, I’m free right now, groomer takes dog. This is not likely. Frustration from both parties abound as the capabilities of the service provider are different than the needs of those demanding the service.
The Service Industry
Services are typically by appointments. Doctors, hairdressers, mechanics and groomers all fall into this category. It is easy to understand why a doctor schedules appointments 3 months out but more difficult to comprehend why an exterminator, masseuse or groomer may need to do the same thing.
Each appointment takes a set amount of hours and there are just not enough hours in a day to do more. Many clients book their next appointment when they leave OR they set themselves up on a regular schedule, thus making it difficult for the provider to squeeze in the last minute call ins.
It is very frustrating to the service provider to have to turn away highly valued business and risk the chance that the client will go elsewhere. It is also annoying to the busy client that needs the service immediately.
So what’s the solution?
1) Plan Ahead. In the case of grooming appointments, when your pooch needs a bath, understand there could be a 2+ week waiting period. Be mentally prepared for this so mark your calendars two weeks prior to your pet needing the bath.
2) Use the company’s reminder system. Many companies will send postcards, emails or phone calls to remind you when your next appointment is due. Instead of ignoring this message because your pup doesn’t need a groom this second, book your appointment a few weeks out, just in case. In the event your pet still doesn’t need a groom, call back and reschedule. It’s best to be on the books and moved rather than off the books and unable to get in.
3) Be conscious that your service provider wants to work with you. Nobody wants to lose a client, especially due to a scheduling conflict, however, this happens frequently in service based jobs when a business cannot meet their clients needs at the drop of a hat. It is heartbreaking to have a regular client say, “I will have to go elsewhere” when they cannot get a timely appointment. It hurts the business, particularly the paychecks of the staff that works on your pet.
4) Book your next appointment before you leave. Even if you are not 100% sure of your schedule, book an appointment anyway. I stated it above and will state it again because it makes a “win-win” situation for both parties – being on the books is better than trying to squeeze in last minute.
5) Set up your appointments yearly. A year may seem like a long time especially when most of us don’t know what we are doing even next week, but setting up appointments for a year can help avoid not getting in at all. Set up a regular day and time to make it easier for you to remember. As with any appointments, you can always change them based on scheduling conflicts.
As technology evolves and our refrigerators tell the supermarket that you need milk and eggs and an order will be delivered to your house that afternoon, the service industry will not be able to adjust with the times. There is just no way a cleaning service can squeeze in an extra house or a groomer to squeeze in the extra dog at a moments notice. I can speak for many business owners – if we could find a way WE WOULD! We love servicing our clients and making it as convenient as possible for them, however, sometimes it is not possible. The best practice is planning ahead, being patient and working with the service on scheduling. As our daily lives get more hectic, scheduling the services we want, or need, in advance will only make everyone’s lives involved a little bit more enjoyable. Even our furry family members!