You’ve got a full column, you’ve turned people away whilst managing a team and trying to rearrange clients due to staff sickness so what’s more frustrating than to find out your next client hasn’t shown up and you didn’t have to turn away that last client.
Sometimes no shows cannot be helped – last minute cancellations and calendar mix ups can happen. Nonetheless, having an empty slot in your appointment diary is bad for your business.
It’s very easy to blame the client for not turning up but perhaps it’s time to evaluate your booking system and your no show policy to avoid your client ‘forgetting’ their next appointment.
So let’s take a look a few simple ways to avoid future ‘no shows’ from happening.
1. Set a no show policy
Putting together a no show policy doesn’t mean it gives you the chance to air your annoyance and frustration in a policy, remaining polite and professional is really important. So whether you introduce a deposit system, cancellation fees or a three strikes you’re out policy it should be clear, concise and most importantly flexible. Would you punish a customer who has been coming to you for 10 years and never missed an appointment probably not?
2. Communication, communication, communication
You may have seen this in some of our other blogs. But communication really is key to building and enhancing relationship whether it’s with your team or your clients.
Communication with your team
You’ve set your new no show policy, but now you need to make your team aware of the new policy. Hold a training session with your team, explaining the new policy and why the policy has been put in place. Allow them to ask any questions and raise any concerns now so when they have to explain to their client why this procedure is in place they will do so with confidence which will also satisfy the client with a detailed and knowledgeable explanation.
Communication with your clients
You’ve set your new policy, explained it to your team now you need to share it with your clients, display it on your website, share it on your social media channels, place a notice within the reception and make sure clients are aware of it when they book whether they are booking in the salon after their appointment or over the phone. Ensure they are aware you’ve got a no show policy in place.
As well as communicating your no show policy to your clients it’s also important to make sure your communicating with them between appointments as six to eight weeks is a long time and that appointment card that has slipped to the bottom of the bag can easily be forgotten. You actually want to avoid enforcing your no show policy so it’s time to make your booking and reminder process as accessible as possible for your busy client.
3. Bookings procedure
It’s time to evaluate and analyse your bookings procedure and the steps you take when booking in a client. Do you use an appointment book, computer software or do you have an online booking system where clients can book, cancel or reschedule their appointment?
- Re-booking your client in after their treatment, improves client retention and the client is there right in front of you to get the correct details.
- If your client is booking over the phone repeat the details back for the client to confirm.
- Online booking systems allow clients to book at their convenience but also cancel or reschedule their appointment (makes it easier if you’ve incorporated a deposit system within your policy also to take the payment online).
Whatever your appointment booking procedure think about introducing some of these simple tools to ensure that your client is fully aware of when their next appointment is:
- Text or email your client at least 48 hours before their appointment – this gives them chance to change their plans or reschedule their appointment (but also gives you the chance to get a new client if they do cancel)
- Social media and newsletters can remind clients of you and may encourage them to check when they are next coming to visit (or book in for another treatment or service double bonus).
How the NHF can help you
- The NHF have a series of guides available for members to download for free guides. Why not take a look at our guide to delivering an outstanding client experience or dealing with customer complaints guides.