No-show appointments are no fun. Not only do they throw a wrench into your schedule, they leave you with an unplanned block of time where you’re just sitting there, losing out on money.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help cut down on no-shows. And especially as the holiday frenzy rolls around, it’ll be particularly important to do everything you can to keep your appointments schedule running smoothly. Here are some tips to cut down on missed appointments:
Require a credit card for booking.
It’s simple psychology, but if people know they’re going to be on the hook for something, they’re more likely to sear it into their memory. That’s why, especially as you head into your busy season, requiring a credit card to book might be a good idea. In Square Appointments, our No-Show Protection feature gives you the option to require clients to enter their credit card information when they book. You can also elect to apply a fee if someone misses the appointment or cancels at the last minute.
Prominently display your cancellation policy.
Make sure you’re outright with your cancellation policy in any communication you have with clients. That means adding prominent messaging as people go through the steps of booking online, and in any confirmation emails you send out. In Square Appointments, you can write a customized cancellation message from the Dashboard, which clients will see after they book online and in their email confirmation. And even if you’re taking appointments over the phone, it’s a good idea to gently re-iterate your policy. This will give people the extra push to make sure to add the appointments to their calendars.
Send digital reminders.
Those appointments cards you hand out to clients may be cute, but more often than not, they’ll end up in the trash. Digital reminders—that is, messages through emails and texts—are much more effective, especially because people are so glued to their phones these days. You can send your clients email and text reminders straight from Square Appointments, and set how far in advance you want them to go out. But generally, one to three days before the appointment is the most effective.
Run a tight ship.
Lead by example. If you’re always running behind, your clients will take notice. If you’re always prompt (or really apologetic in the few instances when you’re not), they’ll notice that, too. Clients have to know you respect their time before they respect yours back. If you’re running late, make sure to reschedule (or give a heads-up) as far in advance as you can. Square Appointments has Client Notifications which makes it easy to send a text or email out if you’re running late or need to reschedule.
Follow up with no-shows.
If someone misses an appointment, follow up with them. While this can be a bit of a time suck, it will go a long way in showing you care. It also gives an opportunity to reschedule so you don’t have to miss out on that revenue.
Have amazing customer service.
This one’s simple. If you provide a great service and foster meaningful relationships with your clients, they’ll be more likely to make their appointments (and feel bad if they don’t).