How to Reduce Your No-Shows by 10% in One Month
No-shows are an unfortunate reality for any business. Even with the fairest and most well-intentioned reservation system in place, customers will sometimes forget their appointment. They might have a perfectly valid reason , but it’s still a missed appointment that needs to be tracked and handled accordingly. Clients may be more inclined to miss sessions without notice if they see the act isn't handled savitri by the business.
No-shows can be especially problematic for businesses with time-sensitive appointments, such as hair salons or spa services, where a missed appointment means someone won’t get the service they scheduled and were willing to pay for. This can be especially damaging if the business is new or small and has limited resources in terms of rescheduling services or accommodating walk-ins on short notice.
Why Are No-Shows Such a Problem?
Because missed appointments often result in “no-shows,” the terms are often used interchangeably. But the reasons for missing an appointment, how customers reschedule and how a business handles no-shows, all vary.
The negative impact of no-shows can be far-reaching. First, missed appointments often lead to empty appointment times on your calendar, which means less revenue for the business.
If your business is appointment-based, you rely on consistent demand for your services, so empty appointment times can impact your overall cash flow. In addition it can cause frustration among your staff, especially if they work an hourly rate and come in especially for these appointment.
Identifying the Root Cause of Your No-Shows
It can be difficult to pinpoint why customers are missing appointments at your business, which makes it tricky to come up with a solution. But in order to start addressing no-shows, you need to figure out why they’re happening in the first place.
While it’s impossible to prevent every missed appointment, you can minimize the reasons. If you notice that a particular reason is common, you can use it as inspiration to come up with a solution to reduce no-shows.
Some common reasons customers miss appointments include:
- Customers are unfamiliar with your scheduling system.
- Customers aren’t sure how long their appointment will take.
- Customers are forgetting their reservations.
- Customers don’t value your services enough to reschedule.
The One Month Plan to Reducing Your No-Shows by 10%
Step One: assess your current situation
Before you implement any changes to your business, you need to set a baseline for how many no-shows are happening now. With a clear picture of your current no-show rate, you’ll be able to track the effectiveness of your new initiatives. For a week or two, track the number of no-shows happening at your business. Note when they occur and what you plan to do in response. Then, use this data to inform your next steps.
Step Two: Have a Commitment Conversation With Clients
Before you start to implement changes to your business, you need to talk to your customers about how to make reservations more valuable. A commitment conversation is a great way to set clear expectations for your customers. Before they make a reservation, make your cancelation policy clear and explain what can happen if the costumer misses more than one session.
At the end of the appointment it is recommended to ask the client when they would like to return for their next session and solidify a date. Customers appreciate being asked about their future plans, and committing to a specific date gives them an extra reminder to keep their next appointment, it also gives you an opportunity to ask them about their experience.
Step Three: Educate Your Customers About Rescheduling
Once you’ve identified customers who are routinely missing their appointments, you’ll want to start educating them about how to reschedule.
Some clients may not be aware that rescheduling to a different date or time is an option and instead skip the session they pre booked.
Even if the reason behind the no-show was understandable and valid, you may feel frustrated at customers who are missing their appointments. Try using this situation as a learning opportunity. Talk to the customer who missed their appointment and ask them why. Is there a way you can improve your scheduling system to make it easier for them to reschedule?
Step Four: Brainstorm and Narrow Down Your Best Ideas
Make time in your schedule for a meeting with your team dedicated to coming up with ideas on how to reduce no shown. Then, narrow down your best ones to help employees focus on those ideas. It's important that you keep an open mind and don't fixate on traditional methods, as you might come up with a creative and out of the box solutions.
If your employees are not too keen on helping, try making things more interesting for them.
At one hair salon, for example, the number of no-shows was so high, they decided to hold a contest and see which employee can come up with the best solutions. The salon ended up with a wide range of ideas, including sending text reminders, emailing appointment details and building a website that would allow customers to easily reschedule.
Step Five: Ask for Feedback Throughout the Month
The final step in reducing no shows is to stay in constant communication with your customers. Unlike the previous stages, this stage is evergoing as client communication should be kept to preserve and maintain your relationship with them.
While you can narrow down the reasons why people miss appointments, you won’t be able to eliminate them entirely. But you can make your customers feel more valued and reduce their reasons for missing appointments by asking for feedback throughout the month.
Depending on your business you can use surveys, social media polls or conversation starters to get the information.Whether you’re looking for feedback on your scheduling system, your hours, or your pricing, customer feedback can help you make small changes that will have a big impact on reducing no-shows.