There is nothing more frustrating than waiting around for a No show. Not only is your valuable time being wasted, but the financial impact on your business can be significant. It’s important in any service business to know how much No shows are costing you. Putting a monetary value on this problem gives you more incentive to take action.
So let’s do the maths. Say your average client spends $100 per appointment and you have an average of 2 No Shows per week. That’s $200 per week, which adds up to a grand total of $10,000 per year (50 weeks). That’s enough to make you want to pull your hair out, and in some cases can mean the death of your business. Now, are you listening?
So how do you reduce your No Shows?
1. MONITOR AND TRACK YOUR NO SHOWS.
Firstly, you need to work out how much No Shows are costing your business. Use your handy Neko reporting tools to track your No Shows, which will allow you to average out how much you are losing per year.
Look for patterns within your No Show data. Is a particular staff member getting more No Shows? If so, you need to investigate why? Are particular days worse than others? What about particular times? Some services you provide may even have a higher No Show rate. Why? and how can you rectify this? Once you have identified a pattern you can then take steps to rectify the situation.
2. TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR SERVICES.
It’s not uncommon for unhappy clients to not show up for an appointment and you never see them again. Unfortunately, some clients for whatever reason, don’t speak up when they are unhappy with the customer service or treatment outcomes. They simply don’t come back and you don’t get an explanation. So if you have identified that not only are your clients not showing up, but also not returning, then you might have to have a good hard look at the services you are providing. Are they up to scratch? Do you or your staff need to up skill? How is the customer experience in your business? Are you always running late? These are all relevant and important questions to ask yourself if you have identified these types of No Shows.
3. BOOKING REMINDERS
Most appointments run businesses send SMS booking reminders but if you aren’t, its time to get on board! It’s not only convenient for you but also your clients. There have been many times where I have received an SMS reminder regarding an appointment I had made but had completely and utterly just plain forgotten. We are all busy and sometimes people just forget. The other likely event is that your client has double booked themselves unintentionally. I have done this numerous times, so I really appreciate getting an SMS reminder, and your clients will too. I personally prefer a reminder 48hours beforehand, this gives me adequate time to rearrange my appointments or commitments. Aside from that, it gives an impression of a more professional and organised business.
Remember to always set your SMS up so that your clients must answer with a Yes or No to confirm. Why? Studies show that this can reduce No Shows by up to 90%. This also gives you the opportunity to ring any clients that have not confirmed. A confirmed appointment gives a much better guarantee of your client showing up.
Email reminders can help too but not everyone checks their emails daily so the impact on reducing your No Shows is not as significant as using SMS reminders.
Nekos great reminder tools take the fuss out of sending appointment reminders. Simply set and forget and you are on your way to drastically reduce your No Shows.
4. ONLINE BOOKINGS
Online bookings are fantastic for clients. It gives them the flexibility to make their own appointment. Clients are more likely to be doing this in the convenience of their own home or after business hours, so they are able to make an appointment better suited to their schedule. Plus, this avoids the client feeling pressured to make an appointment time in the salon where they may feel rushed to make a quick decision.
If you decide to add Nekos online booking button to your website or social media page, be sure to include your cancellation policy too so clients aware of what is expected of them.
5. UP TO DATE CLIENT DATA.
The above strategies are useless if you don’t have the correct details for your client, such as mobile number, work number or email address. So always check with your client at the end of their appointment whether any of their details have changed.
Also, identifying which clients are serial No Show offenders can prompt you to take extra measures to ensure they arrive for their appointment. You may like to notify them about your new cancellation policy change that unless at least 48hours notice is received they will be charged a 50% fee. Or better still, take a booking fee from those clients when they book to help reduce the likelihood of not showing up.
6. A CLEAR CANCELLATION POLICY
Provide a clear cancellation policy where your clients can see it. Put it on your website or provide a link in your emails. Add it to the end of your treatment menu. Post your policy on all your social media accounts and always, always add your cancellation term to your SMS reminders. Displaying a prominent sign at the front desk or where you make your sales can provide another opportunity to hammer it home to your clients.
By making your clients aware of what you expect and being clear about it, will help them to understand that your time is valuable and should not be abused. If you are too relaxed about your appointment No Shows or time, your clients won’t respect your time and are more likely to have no qualms about being a No Show.
7. STAFF MEETING
Declare a staff meeting and sit down to discuss your cancellation policy to make sure all your staff are on board. They all need to be crystal clear on what you expect and how they should address these issues with clients. Discuss tactics your business uses and provide them with tips on how to reduce your client No Shows. Remember your staff are a reflection of your business.
You may need to have a discussion with a particular staff member if they are having No Shows out of proportion to everyone else. Take a look at their work ethic, time management, demeanour or skill level.
8. CLIENT RELATIONSHIPS
Showing a genuine interest in your clients and discovering their likes and dislikes, enables you to provide better and more customised service. In turn, by forming a friendly bond, your client will naturally be more likely to avoid disappointing you by not showing up without good reason.
Good time management on your part also helps to forge a good bond with your clients. If you are always running late and leaving your client sitting around waiting for 20 minutes, you show a lack of respect for their time. Your clients time is valuable too so show respect to gain respect.
9. SERIAL NO SHOW OFFENDERS
Devise a clear policy for you and your staff to follow when you have a client that regularly No Shows. These clients are costing you money so decide how to proceed before making their next booking. You may decide to charge a booking fee that is non-refundable if the client does a No Show or fails to cancel by a certain time.
Depending on the monetary value of the service they are booking, you may stand to lose a lot of money, so it may be prudent to ask the customer to pay the total amount up front. Be mindful that your client may be offended by this, so before going this far, you need to decide if you are willing to potentially lose this client. At the end of the day, this client may be draining your profits substantially, so ask yourself, are they worth hanging on too?
10. FOLLOW UPS
It is always beneficial to follow up with a client that has missed an appointment. You can do this by calling, texting or sending an email. Always give them the opportunity to rebook unless they are a dreaded serial offender.
Some clients feel embarrassed that they didn’t show and as a consequence do not rebook. So sending a polite message giving reassurance that you are happy to rebook may put your client at ease and prompt them to rebook. This also lets your client know that you did notice their absence. However, always use your discretion and choose wisely how you treat each situation.
Customer relations are ever so important. The customer may not always be right but the customer is always the customer. So no matter how frustrated you may feel, don’t lose your professional courtesy. Always be polite when discussing your cancellation policy with a No Show client. While a cancellation policy may be a good deterrent for No Shows, sometimes unexpected events pop up like family emergencies, illness or car troubles.
If you have a regular client that normally makes all their appointments, it makes good business sense to waive your cancellation fees if they have a valid reason. But do let politely them know you are making a special consideration for them. Retaining your clients should be a big priority so always treat them with kindness and respect.
I hope you have learnt some valuable ways to reduce No Shows in your business. And don’t forget to utilise all the great Neko tools available to you.