Oh, the temptation. My recommendation, "resist!"
'Tis the season when the salon phone rings like a sleigh full of devoted clients, along with so many new customers, desperate for appointments, all within a two or three-week window around the holidays. And it is so, so easy to say "yes" to all that money and the chance to woo a new client, to run with the hectic fun of the season and calm those pleading tones at the other end of the line.
I cannot encourage you enough: be very careful not to overbook.
This is such a common, and costly, error among salon professionals in demand, particularly at this time of year. We think we've got it under control, we see an "opening" on the schedule -- a regular client is getting her usual cut and color. "I can squeeze in a quick cut while her color is processing!" And then they both want something different.
Your angst becomes obvious, your longtime client feels jilted, and that new client who was dressing for a special date or night on the town is disappointed, too. Suddenly, you're a half hour behind (or worse) all day. No client is going to remember that you tried to do a new client a favor. You might even need to comp or discount a service to heal the wounds. Much worse, though, you could lose your long term clients and damage your reputation.
Consider another scenario. Allow appropriate time. Be ready to welcome a change of heart by a client. This is dress-up time. Expectations are sky high, precariously so, dangerously high! Don't be the one to falter and, more importantly, be ready to fulfill an opportunity, to do something extra, to give that client a great experience, not just a cut, because we all know there is more to the salon business than good hair and salon services.
The season is so full of emotion, not all of it good, that it becomes particularly stressful. Be ready to look down at tears, and then listen. That takes time that is so valuable right now, but don't be so rushed that you can't show compassion.
I have not told you to say, "no," when you get one-too-many calls. Instead, be ready with referrals. You can still give them a solution. Help them find the way to another great stylist and, while you're at it, suggest a services with one of your colleagues in a neighboring salon. This is a great way of demonstrating your self-confidence as a professional. That's a favor and compliment to a colleague, too, that may very well come back to you. This works in so many ways.