Have you ever worked considered much no shows and last minute cancellations are costing your business? Let’s say you have eight no shows a week. If your average service is $50 this will cost you $400 a week, which adds up to a staggering $1,200 a month. You can’t afford to turn a blind eye to that.
The first step in reducing this loss is monitoring and measuring your figures to determine exactly how much profit you’re is losing. Your salon software should be able to run a missed appointment report so you can start investigating the associated trends and patterns.
Consider whether last minute cancellations and no shows happen at certain times or on certain days. Are some therapists seeing more no shows than others? Are these therapists the most junior, the cheapest or the most expensive? Once you understand the trends, you can start to tackle missed appointments.
6 Ways to Reduce No Shows and Cancellations
- Remind clients about appointments
There are three main ways to do this – appointment cards, text messages and phone calls. In a perfect world you should use a combination of all three. While it might take time and money, think about the profit you will gain by preventing even one no show. Text reminders are particularly common and appreciated these days. Sending a simple message 48 hours in advance reminds your client of an appointment and gives them time to reschedule or cancel if need be. If they do need to cancel, this allows you 48 hours to fill in the gap.
- Foster good client relationships
Encouraging your team to build strong connections with clients will increase a commitment to your therapists and reduce no shows. Clients are less likely to let down someone they like and value time with, than someone who simply does a job.
- Respect clients’ time if you want them to respect yours
This is a big one – you can’t expect clients to understand the value of your time if you don’t value theirs. This means ensuring your therapists run to time, never rescheduling appointments unless you absolutely must and thanking clients who arrive on time. At its core it comes down to living by the old saying, ‘treat people as you wish to be treated’.
- Have a clear cancellation policy
So many salons are frightened of displaying (and enforcing) a cancellation policy. It is not something to be ashamed of – you’re in businessafter all. Write a polite but firm policy and display it on your website, treatment menu and appointment cards. Something simple like this is a great start:
We know you may need to charge or cancel appointments occasionally. Should you need to do so, we ask for at least 24 hours notice or a 50% fee for the treatment may be applicable. Thank you.
- Deposits against salon no shows
Asking for deposits can also be a good way to reduce the impact of no shows and last minute cancellations. I always recommend taking a 20% deposit with all treatments as a way for clients to reserve their appointment. By doing this you can hold clients accountable for their appointments and separate those who won’t show up when it comes time – those who have a problem with paying a deposit are more than likely to be the ones that don’t show up.
- Online booking
Utilising an online booking facility means clients can cancel on the go and without having to face a receptionist. It also allows them to easily and instantly reschedule appointments. While some salon owners worry that online booking makes cancelling too easy, it’s better to know in advance if someone is going to cancel so you have an opportunity to fill the gap.
Even if you implement all of these ideas, you will undoubtedly still have no shows. If you have been stood up, the first step is to call your client – this can diffuse embarrassment if they have made a genuine mistake, are caught up by events beyond their control or simply running late. If they don’t answer, leave a pleasant but firm voicemail and remember to follow up with another call or text message later.
If you have particular clients that regularly cancel last minute or don’t show up regardless of reminder texts and calls, the best advice is to end your relationship with them. If you can’t bring yourself to lose them, book them in on quieter days only and avoid late nights, holiday periods and weekends.
When the inevitable does happen, it helps to have a stand by list of clients who are able to come in at short notice. This works especially well for popular therapists, and you can always offer clients a discount if it’s very last minute to show you appreciate their flexibility.
If you need help reducing your salon no shows and last minute cancellations, get in touch with Beauty Salons Coach today!