Cancellations - What To Do!
How to Deal with Cancellations…
You’ve started your busy week of work, it’s off to a good start and out of the blue a client cancels last minute, and it’s not for the first time. Missed appointments and last-minute cancellations can add up to thousands of euros being lost on average every year. But how do you keep the client without losing your cool, or your cash? Follow our pointers below to implement a beneficial and successful cancellation plan.
What do to when Clients Cancel?
The most important piece of advice we have to offer is it implement a cancellation policy and make all clients aware of it. We understand that cancellations can be frustrating, especially if when there last minute. While there’s nothing you can do about a client needing to cancel, having a cancellation policy can lessen the blow, and may deter people from cancellation for no reason. A cancellation policy lets all clients know that if they cancel within a certain time period different penalties may arise.
Cancellation policies vary depending on the treatments and different clinic needs, it is important to implement a cancellation policy that protects you and your business. For example, a client who cancels with less than 24 hours noticed and has paid a deposit, may expect to lose that deposit. On the other hand, you could create a policy that means a client cancelling within 24 hours must pay a 50% or even a 100% service fee. It’s your business and your policy you can be as strict as you like, however it is imperative that whatever policy you choose is clear.
There is no point implementing a cancellation policy an leaving it somewhere on your treatment brochure or social media highlights. It’s so important to be clear with all clients about the policy in place, before even booking a service a client must be made aware of the cancellation policy.
Dealing with Cancellations
It’s important to ensure you handle client cancellations in the correct manner. Firstly, you can proceed by asking clients if they can reschedule their appointment. This depends on their reason for cancelling if it’s a more serious issue it is often best to allow your clients to reach out to you when they are ready. However, if it’s just a case of them running late or not being able to make the appointment you can proceed by asking them to reschedule.
Depending on your own schedule too, if you are able to accommodate them or fit them in and they have made you aware of the issue within a 24-hour period something could be arranged to reschedule them for a different time. Working with your client to sort these things out means that the client will feel listening to, and this helps to retain them long-term. Ultimately you want this client to only ever have positive things to say about you, no matter how far they might stretch your patience. So always endeavour to stay fair and flexible when you can.
As we all know life is can be full of ups and downs and of course your client has to put themselves first. However, this doesn’t mean that a client that cancels once will be encouraged to cancel last minute again. Keep your response short and sweet, thank the client for letting you know but point them to the cancellation policy. While we all occasionally have last minute dramas and situations that leave us with no choice but cancellation, but if you have noticed a client that is repeatedly cancelling then it may be time to politely ask them to find a pro that would suit their random schedule.
How to Avoid Cancellations in the Future
- Send Reminders
Sending your clients reminders 24 hours or even 48 hours before their appointment will help to minimise the number of cancellations. It will also mean that a client can’t come to you with any excuses for cancelling or not showing up. Email reminders work, but we recommend sending text reminders if possible as it is far more immediate. Tip: Most online booking systems such as Fresha or Phorest enable you to set up automatic text/email reminders to all clients, making your life easier.
- Client Loyalty
Client loyalty plays a huge factor in cancellations and no shows. It goes without saying that each client should be treated with the best attention you can give, that is if you want them to continue returning. Coupled with treating clients as a priority and giving them attention, it could be considered about what else you can offer loyal, returning clients. The introduction of a loyalty scheme is a brilliant way to reward your returning clients for choosing you and always showing up. A further touch to add to your business is to send thank you emails or texts to clients after their appointments. These little things go a long way in showing your client they’re more than just another appointment.
For any more advice or tips from treatments to products and business check out our other blog posts.