You glance at the clock. The client’s appointment was supposed to begin ten minutes ago. Are they coming? Should you call or text them just to see if they will be late (and throw off the rest of your day)? What about the missed income if they do not show?
Twenty minutes go by and nothing.
You take a deep breath and mark them down as a no-show.
Whether you are an independent booth renter or a salon owner, it can be so frustrating, disruptive, and sometimes infuriating when a client doesn’t show up.
Believe it or not, clients are not trying to ruin your day, business, or life by missing their appointment (even though it feels like it sometimes). Today, everyone (including your clients), live extremely busy and hectic lives. When too many tabs are open, things are bound to be missed and forgotten. This no-show issue is not a problem totally out of your control.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to help minimize the inconvenience and negative business impact a no-show creates.
Here are a few tips to help you cut down on no-show appointments and how to better deal with them when they do happen:
Have a Cancellation Policy AND Communicate It
It is hard to enforce a no-show policy when you do not have one, or when clients are not aware of it. A no-show policy should be on your website, communicated with every first-time appointment, and posted on a sign at your payment counter.
Here are some points to communicate in your no-show policy:
Your business is important to us and we look forward to seeing you at your scheduled time.
Please provide us with 24 hours notice if you need to reschedule an appointment. We will be happy to rebook you as soon as our schedule allows.
We reserve the right to charge (a $30 fee, 50% of the appointment service, or the cost of the full appointment) for missed appointments.
Thank you for understanding that our time is also valuable.
Everyone (employees, contractors, and salon owners) can take more responsibility to handle salon no-shows by helping the client remember and respect their appointment booking.
For salon appointments are lengthy require more time, either have a credit card on file or take down-payments or a no-refund deposit which can be applied to the total cost of the appointment. Some online software programs have the option to require a client prepay when scheduling an appointment. They can also notify them that their card may be charged should they fail to make their scheduled appointment.
Trust me, getting paid for missed appointments makes you a far less frustrated about no-shows too.
Rebook Existing Clients Before They Leave
Rebooking immediately after a service improves client retention and helps with appointment planning. Reiterate all the next appointment details back to the client. If you use online scheduling, let them know they will get an email or text reminder before their appointment. Use this opportunity to remind them about how to get a hold of you if they cannot keep their appointment and your no-show policy.
Confirm All Appointments
Confirming an appointment is even easier than ever to confirm appointments with the use of technology. It is one of the best things you can do to reduce no-shows. Text messages, emails, or Facebook notifications are the easiest ways to automatically confirm appointments. The use of salon software not only allows for online scheduling, but it will send out automatic messages to confirm bookings. You can send out reminders 24-48 hours before the appointment to remind clients to cancel if needed and an hour before appointments to remind them to stop what they are doing and get to the salon.
Even the paid salon software options will pay for themselves if they keep one person from missing their appointment each month.
Make Courtesy Calls
If you or the client is not tech savvy, then a courtesy phone call is your best option. Many older adults are not familiar with text messages or email and still rely on phone calls for reminders.
Read Up On Boundaries
Personally, I think this is something that is undertaught in the entire cosmetology/beauty profession. You build friendships with clients and have family members as clients. It is hard to set up professional boundaries with these people, but necessary.
Is there something keeping you from enforcing that cancellation policy? You want clients to like you, to return, and to tell others about your amazing business. Do you fear that they may not do all of the above if you charge them for not showing up?
If you are being too lenient, or have trouble charging that client that has been late or missed the last five appointments, you need to make a change. There are people out who are always late and some who just do not respect your time. It may be possible that clients are taking advantage of you and not respecting your time. Difficult conversations may have to happen.
Don’t worry, you will know when you need to be lenient with your policy (sudden deaths, illnesses, or other emergencies). Otherwise, be consistent.
Whatever you decide to do make sure you stick to it. Your clients will get used to the policy and understand if you explain why you set it up. You want a clientele that is going to respect your time. And if you are really good at your trade, they are not going to switch salons based on your no-show policy.
Give It A Try
Get to work on the above tips and watch your no-show rates drop. Yes, I know you may be nervous about enacting some of the above changes and policies. You may lose clients that do not respect your time, but you are going to gain much more peace of mind along the way.