No-Show Prevention

1 Secret To Overcoming Last Minute Cancellations

updated on

February 13, 2024

Do the profit margins for your massage therapy business accurately reflect your investment of time and effort? You need to make the most of every resource if you want to reap the full reward for your work. This means using your treatment rooms as much as possible and not wasting your or your providers’ available hours. 


In other words, to maximize profits you should maximize your appointment utilization, making sure that you have a client booked for every available appointment slot. 

Your fill rates tell the story of how well you are using your resources

At first, glance, achieving maximum appointment utilization may appear to be something you can manage with effective marketing. If you combine the right service, price and promotions, clients will book appointments and you’ll be kept busy. However, making an appointment is not the same as keeping an appointment. This is why watching your fill rates is just as important.

Are all your bookings converting to billed hours? 

The term “fill rate” refers to a metric that service businesses can use to track their appointment utilization. Fill rates are categorized in two ways: prospective and retroactive. A 100% prospective fill rate means your massage therapy practice has every available appointment slot filled for a given period. You’ve marketed well and sold out your time slots.

But it is your retroactive fill rate that you really want to keep an eye on. This metric looks back over the same group of appointment slots and measures the total number that were filled and billed--meaning someone was provided with services during that scheduled time.  


Look at your recent performance. How many scheduled appointments were completed? Are you losing revenue to unused capacity? If you aren’t happy with what you see when you look at your retroactive fill rates, cancellations and no-shows are probably the cause.  


Cancellations on and no-shows are a leading reason why your prospective fill rate might not match your actual results. If you aren’t able to find someone else to fill the time slot that opens up due to a cancellation or no show, a practice called “backfilling,” the time remains unused and you lose money. For some healthcare organizations, 20% of their unused capacity is because of cancellations or no-shows. 


That’s why we created the No Show Prevention Playbook to help you prevent these losses and capture more revenue for your massage therapy practice. But not every cancellation or no-show can be avoided. 


What can you do when these cancellations happen? 


Preserve your profitability by backfilling cancelled appointments with other clients willing to take the appointment slot.

Keep a cancellation list to keep your schedule full

Believe it or not, some clients don’t like to schedule their appointments in advance. They may have jobs or other responsibilities that prevent them from planning their schedules in advance. Other clients may enjoy the spontaneity of signing up for a no-notice pampering session.

You can use this to your advantage by creating a list of clients interested in coming in on short notice and contacting them when you get a cancellation or no-show. Your list can also serve as a traditional waitlist for clients who weren’t able to get their preferred appointment slot or would like to bump up their next session to an earlier date.

How will you know which of your clients would be interested in being on your short (notice) list? 


Ask them. 


Find out what type of services your short-notice clients would be interested in receiving and how they would like to be contacted when an opening is available. You might even offer clients who participate a discount, extra service or another incentive to encourage them to say “yes” to a last-minute appointment. Keep this list handy and the minute you find out about a cancellation or have a client no-show, start reaching out to the people on your list. Turn the potential revenue loss of cancellations into a win for you and your clients who prefer to live life on the fly. 


Are you interested in finding out other ways to reduce cancellations and increase the profitability of your massage therapy practice? Try ClinicSense for free today!

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