3 Ways Service Businesses Can Reduce No-Shows
Whether you run a massage clinic, a hair salon, or an auto shop, few things are more frustrating to a service business owner than no-shows. Not only do they mess up your schedule, but they also eat away at your revenue. So what are you doing to reduce no-shows?
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3 Strategies for Reducing No-Shows
When a patient or client schedules an appointment, you assume they’ll be there. As a result, you don’t schedule any other appointments during that time block. You may even have to turn other business away. So, when a patient simply doesn’t show up, or calls ahead by a few minutes and cancels, they’ve left you high and dry. One no-show may not be a big deal, but multiple no-shows per week can really hurt your revenue.
Unfortunately, there’s no catchall solution for preventing no-shows. There are, however, a few specific things you can do to reduce cancellations and maximize your time. Check these tips out:
1. Use an Automated System
What sort of scheduling system do you have in place? Are you still using a receptionist with a paper appointment book? An Excel spreadsheet? Either way, something has to change. You need to switch to an advanced system that’s automated and capable of sending out reminders in advance of the appointment.
For example, Yocale has appointment scheduling software that not only allows clients to book online, but provides you with business-side benefits that actively help reduce no-shows. You can actually set the system up to send out automated SMS and email reminders to both staff and clients in advance of upcoming appointments. This greatly reduces the likelihood of someone forgetting and may give you time to book another appointment should the client cancel.
2. Get Confirmation
Whether you’re using an automated system or personally reaching out to clients before an appointment, it’s important that you get confirmation that they’ll be there. Actually getting a client to verbally tell you that they’ll be present is the single biggest factor in reducing no-shows. It reminds them of their appointment and makes them feel obligated to show up.
3. Watch out for Red Flags
Over time, your staff should be able to recognize who your reliable clients are. These are people that have been with your company for a while, always show up a few minutes prior to an appointment, and cancel well in advance if they know they won’t be able to make it. But you also need to be on the lookout for “red flag” patients. These are people who have missed multiple appointments in the past, never show up on time, and tend to do their own thing.
When you recognize a red flag client, there are a few things you should do. First off, don’t schedule them during peak times. Try to get them a time at the end of the day where it might not hurt as bad if they don’t show up. Secondly, make a notation in your scheduling system and send out multiple reminders in advance of the appointment, with the last one coming on the day of the appointment.
It’s also important to be open and honest with your clients. Explain to them how much it costs your business when they don’t show up and try to help them understand. Sometimes clients just don’t realize what they’re doing has an effect on you.
Be Proactive about No-Shows
A lot of service business owners get frustrated by no-shows, but they never do anything about them. They simply complain and fume, which isn’t constructive for anyone. The best solution is to be really proactive about no-shows. Take charge from the start and make sure clients and patients respect your time. Not all no-shows can be avoided—stuff happens—but by practicing a few simple strategies, you can reduce no-shows.