Clients not showing up for appointments cause inconvenience, stress and loss of revenue. Joanne Neville shares these simple tips to avoid the dilemma.
- Send appointment reminders
One of the quickest and easiest ways to reduce no-shows is to automatically send appointment reminders to your clients. There are so many case studies that show automatic reminders decrease no-shows, save time and increase revenue. Make sure you customise your appointment reminders, choose when they are sent, write your own personalised message and select a contact method to use such as email or text.
- Tidy up your client database
When it comes to sending appointment reminders, it’s important to have the correct contact details for your clients. If your client database isn’t as up to date as you’d like it to be, take the opportunity to fix it! There are so many ways to do this, particularly if your software system has a feature that allows your clients to securely enter and update their own information directly into their client card. Also ask your clients to specify their preferred contact method such as phone, email or text message – this way your appointment reminders and any other important news, events or information, will be more likely to reach them.
- Take deposits or prepayment
If you experience a high no-show rate, you could try taking deposits or prepayment for appointments. By asking your clients to commit money to their appointment, it gives them real incentive to attend their booking. It’s important to customise deposits or prepayment to make them work for your business and clients. For example, your customers may only need the incentive of paying a 10 percent deposit to ensure they show up.
- Ask for full payment
Alternatively you may offer services that are impossible to fill last minute and therefore asking for full, non-refundable payment prior to the appointment may be required to ensure you and your staff are still paid for your time regardless of whether they show up.
- Use Online Booking
Kitomba has found that if a client makes their appointment using online booking, the number of no-shows experienced reduces. Plus, depending on the software system you use, online booking can automatically send a confirmation email to your clients. Reminding your clients more than once, can reduce the chances of them not showing up.
- Have a no-show policy
It’s really important to have a no-show policy to clearly set expectations with your clients. Your policy should clearly define what a no-show is and how much you’ll charge if they don’t turn up for their appointment. By clearly outlining your policy and sharing it with your clients via email, your website, and clearly displaying it in your salon, spa or clinic, it’ll help ensure they’re less likely to miss an appointment.
- Follow up with missed appointments
Sometimes clients genuinely don’t mean to no-show, they simply forget an appointment or double book themselves. Using your software system, automatically set up a ‘sorry we missed you’ text message or email to send to no-shows. The message should let them know that they missed their appointment and encourage them to contact you as soon as possible to reschedule.
- Add appointments to your client’s calendar
It’s really important to ensure your clients know their appointment time when they make a booking. Use appointment cards or, if possible, your software system to send appointment details to your clients via email and text message. Ideally your email and text messages can allow your clients to automatically add their appointment to their calendar. The combination of an appointment reminder prior to their appointment and a calendar reminder at the time of the booking will increase the likelihood that your clients make their appointment.
- Rebook no-shows
Ensure that you reschedule a client that no-shows and let them know about your no-show policy. As a general rule, clients who miss an appointment will often make an effort to ensure they don’t miss the next one. It’s recommended that you reach out to clients who no-show as soon as possible. So wait 10 to 15 minutes and then give the client a call to check in with them.
- Offer prepaid packages and concessions
Clients who prepay for a series of visits are more likely to show up for those visits. This is because they’re committing in advance to visiting you. You can also include a policy whereby a missed appointment means a lost visit to outline how important it is that they show up.
Joanne Neville is the chief marketing officer at Kitomba Salon & Spa Software.
For more information visit www.kitomba.com or call 1800 161 101.