Things are cruising along well at FotoFly. We have been at capacity since November. We expected to be fully booked during the Christmas season – but not in January or February. I can’t tell you what it does for my ego to have this happen. Seriously. It also reminds me of how much our business model matches what customers have been wanting in a photography studio. It’s nice to have our schedule look like this:
One challenge associated with being at capacity is that customers have a hard time finding appointments in the coming week. We hate it every time we tell someone that we don’t have any openings on the day they want. What makes this more frustrating is that we know, inevitably, we will have 2-3 appointments cancel each day. They usually cancel the night before or the morning of. Most of the time, it is because their child suddenly was sick.
We have considered collecting deposits but I cannot imagine telling parents that, because their child woke up sick, they are going to lose their deposit. We realize that this happens and the parents wisely postpone the appointment. It is very unlikely that we will ever take deposits for appointments.
We’ve given this a lot of thought and think we may have a solution. We will offer an incentive to customers who are willing to ‘fly standby.’ The incentive will be three free sheets. We will have a morning and evening standby customer each day. These customers will be ready to come in on short notice during those times. Usually, a person cancels within 24 hours of their appointment so you should know the night before. When an appointment cancels, we will quickly contact the customer and let them know when the open appointment is and see if they can make it. We’re hoping this will solve both problems: First, customers will have an easier time getting in. Second, we will be able to fill our appointments each day. So, here’s how it will happen:
- A person schedules for a stand-by appointment. We will only schedule two per day – a morning and an evening. This can only be done over the phone or in the studio.
- We will only fill in appointments with stand-by customers within 24 hours of the appointment.
- When someone cancels for the following day or same day, we will notify the stand-by person and confirm that they can make it.
- If no one cancels on a day, (a rarity) it will be up to the stand-by customer to reschedule for another day.
We are hopeful that this will be a win-win for the customer and us. They will receive something free, we keep our appointments filled, and my fragile ego stays intact! Email us with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.