I have a pretty great job as a receptionist at a hair salon in downtown Bellevue. Like any job, especially one in customer service, it has it's ups and downs. Part of being a receptionist is scheduling the appointments, and it isn't always easy. In fact, sometimes people on the phone just drive me nuts. Here are some common things people do when scheduling that drive receptionists up the wall (don't be one of them):
1. "Let me check my schedule."
If you're on the phone with someone trying to schedule an appointment, have your calendar handy (duh!). More often than not, the days and times you want aren't available and you should have some back ups ready to go. Try booking in advance for greater availability and less wasting of time!
2. *Gives life story while explaining why a certain time doesn't work for them*
That's great that your son has soccer practice at 4:00 on Thursdays or that you have a job in downtown Seattle and volunteer on the weekends, but all I need to know is whether or not an appointment time works for you. Relationships with clients are important, but are much better built in person.
3. "Do they have anything earlier?"
Many times I've said "the earliest available is 1:30" or something along those lines, to which people say, "nothing earlier?" No. There is nothing earlier. I am not lying to you or trying to mess up your schedule, we love clients and I'm more than happy to get you on the books! But appointment times do fill up fast and that's why you need to call ahead!
4. *Gets annoyed while on hold*
If I put you on hold, it's because I'm helping a client in person or talking scheduling with a stylist. I'm not putting you on hold because I'm too busy doing nothing or I just don't feel like chatting, it's quite literally because there's something in person that needs to be addressed right then!
5. "Let's try for..."
When clients call to schedule and say, "Let's try for next Saturday" or things like so, it makes me think they might cancel or they aren't sure of their schedule. Just wait to call until you know you can make a certain appointment time, it's better for the one scheduling and for the person providing you the service!
6. *Calls multiple times*
This, again, goes back to having your schedule ready. This is more common with people that are scheduling for other people, so they call back to check if something works with them. Instead of calling back four times in a row (yes, that has happened), or asking me when we close so they can call back sometime before then (that's also happened), try your best to gage your own availability and call when you're ready to get something on the books. If you have questions, have those ready too!
7. *Cancels at last minute*
When a client calls to cancel an hour before their appointment, it says that they didn't take it seriously that a stylist was ready and willing to provide them a service. When we call to confirm appointments, we want you to say yes or no so we can reschedule two days in advance. This isn't fair to stylists and is more phone time for receptiionists.
8. *Asks to be squeezed in because they know them super well*
That's awesome that you have a long time friendship with your stylist! But when they are completely booked, the proper response isn't, "They can squeeze me in, we've known each other for years." Sometimes stylists make time because they care a lot about their clients and work really hard, but it's better to just pick a more available day and not take away from those who scheduled their appointments before you.
9. "They really aren't open until...?" followed by, "Are you sure?"
Often times when stylists go on vacation, the week or two when they first get back are booked back to back. When a client calls and I say they don't have anything open for a week and a half, I mean it! Trust me, I have nothing against you and love giving the stylists business. But fact of the matter is they can't fit everyone all at once!
10. *Always reschedules*
With this, it's better to be calling ahead to reschedule, so you're on the right track. But making a habit of it can make the stylists and myself think you're flakey. Do not call back multiple times before your original appointment to swtich days and times. Pick a time well in advance, and stick with it! Plan around your appointment after it's been made, it's not always something that can be bumped around easily!
11. *Calls while driving*
Calling to schedule while driving is first and foremost dangerous, unless you have those in car call things or a bluetooth headset. But it can also be extremely hard to hear when you go under a bridge or are on the freeway. And, it's more likely than not that since you are in your car, you don't have access to your calendar. So it's better for everyone to wait until you're at home or basically anywhere but the car to call and schedule an appointment.
Take heed my friends and schedule like a pro!