This time of year is one of the busiest for aesthetic practitioners – are you ready? The festive period normally brings pressures however this year there are signs that there may be more than usual...

After the rollercoaster we've all been on over the last 20 months bookings for Christmas are already flying in to many practices as clients plan for their social events. It's important that you can manage the increased demand for treatments, but also ensure that you get your hard-earned holiday time!

Here at AR we're seeing a surge in demand across many clients from new enquirers and long term clients wishing to secure bookings before Christmas, presenting them with some really difficult decisions - what do you do when your diary is already filling up? As many of your clients will also be juggling hectic schedules for Christmas, it can be daunting trying to meet all of their expectations, while also working at a reasonable pace for yourself. Are you feeling stressed as you try to juggle the demands on your time? Are your thoughts racing as to what to do? Are you thinking of extending your opening hours? Saying no to new client bookings? Risk losing high value long term clients? If you've found yourself running so hard you haven't had time to think it through – STOP – as a priority, make time to sit down with your scheduler and look at what you can do to alleviate some pressure.

Here are a few thoughts on managing your time throughout December and into January:

• Look at your diary time through to the New Year – are there any opportunities to add appointment slots in the weeks ahead without tying yourself up in knots?

• Consider contingency diary time for high value VIP clients who might have forgotten to book. Ensure your team know who your VIP's are and set time aside to ease the pressure for when they get in touch – this'll help you and your staff to keep control of your diary

• Be prepared for a 20-25% call volume increase. Ensure you and your team can respond to this uplift

• Post your social media pages to remind clients to book in time for any events they may have, before all your appointments have gone

• Decide your policy for late bookings and stick to it for people who call a couple of days prior to an event they may have – are you happy to treat them so close to their special event?

• Try not to let the demands of any pushy clients infringe on your personal or family commitments. Clients will often be flexible if they realise there are limited options! Once you've fixed your schedule try to stick to it

• Compromising on treatment times to fit in more appointments may affect your customer service levels

• If you don't have staff to support you consider asking a friend or relative to help you out in the clinic on busy days. They could serve tea and coffee, book follow-up appointments, or take payments

• You may have more new clients than usual wanting to book one-off treatments over this period. If you treat them remember to book their follow-up appointments to secure their loyalty. If you can't give them an appointment you could consider extending a special offer for them to book an appointment in January when things are quieter, in the hope that they'll be prepared to wait

Hopefully there are a couple of suggestions here that you may find helpful as you navigate this busy time of the year.

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