Since we were able to re-open our shop, after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, we have been operating an appointment only system for our customers. Now all Covid-19 legal restrictions have been lifted we have been reassessing all our procedures and the appointment system is the one that directly affects our customers the most, which is why we have been surveying you to find out what you think.

From our survey responses 70% advised that they like to be able to make an appointment before visiting the shop. Therefore we have decided to maintain the appointment system throughout the spring and summer of 2022 and will again review in September, after the school holidays have ended.

Although we will still be asking customers to book in advance we will also offer greater flexibility in trying to see those who arrive without an appointment. 85% of survey respondents advised that they were happy to be in the shop with other families. Therefore we are now able to offer more availability to be able to see additional customers in the shop at any one time. To help in doing this we have employed additional Saturday staff, as this is by far our busiest day, and so we can accommodate more appointments, or walk in customers, Wednesday to Friday mornings and all day Saturday. We will also be slightly streamlining the time for appointments as, we have learned from our experience, and all customers felt that they had plenty of time.

We have invested in improved ventilation in the shop and still do not intend for the premises to become too crowded. We are very aware that certain customers have special requirements where a single family appointment would be a better option for them. In these circumstances please advise us when you make your appointment and we will do all we can to address your wishes.

Over 90% of respondents felt that it was easy to make an appointment, although several customers thought it might be easier if we had an online booking system. We have looked into this and it is difficult to find the right software that properly deals with all of our customers’ individual requirements. Therefore we have yet to adopt an online system, although we continue to look! However, although phoning us remains the best way to make an appointment, we are happy to make appointments through email or Facebook messaging and several customers have already used this approach.

We do appreciate that not everyone is a fan of making an appointment and this is why we reached out to our customers for their opinion. We had been following Government guidance for Working Safely during coronavirus, and this specifically suggested that we should consider an appointment system. This guidance has now been removed and we are under no obligation to keep the booking system in place. However, as a large majority of our customers are in favour of keeping appointments we shall maintain this for the time being.