Posted on November 5, 2020
Are you frustrated by no-shows at your massage therapy business? When clients fail to show up for an appointment or cancel at the last minute, your business loses time and money. No-shows also disrupt your day and can interfere with your client’s treatment progress. What can you do to prevent no-shows? One of the easiest and most affordable methods to prevent no-shows is to use appointment reminders. We’ll explore your options below...
Using appointment reminders to reduce no-shows for your massage therapy business
While there are many reasons for no-shows, forgetfullness is one of the leading causes. Multiple studies have found that, particularly when people book appointments several days or even weeks in advance, they simply forget about them. You can reduce no-shows at your massage therapy clinic by sending your clients well-timed appointment reminders.
When you send an appointment reminder it also gives your clients an opportunity to reschedule an appointment if their plans have changed. This helps you better manage your time and prevent revenue loss. The sooner you have notice of a potential cancelation, the sooner you can fill that spot on your schedule with another client.
Of course, for an appointment reminder to be effective, it has to reach your client and get their attention. Here’s how to do that.
How to jog your clients’ memory and prevent appointment no-shows
Your first step to implementing an effective reminder program is to consider how you’ll handle reminders. What message format are your clients most likely to receive and respond to?
Phone calls are one way to remind your clients of their upcoming appointments. You can call them yourself or hire an assistant to make these calls for you. But trying to find time to make those calls and get an answer can be tough. Your calls may go unanswered or your voicemail messages ignored.
You could also send your clients email reminders. This method offers more flexibility as, once sent, an email message is available for your client to review and respond to at their convenience. But some of your messages may land clients’ spam folder or overlooked. The open rate for reminders sent via email is 80% to 85%. This means up to 20% of your clients may not open your email messages in time to take action.
To reach today’s busy consumers, we recommend using text messaging. Nearly everyone uses a mobile phone and checks their device for messages throughout the day. This gives SMS an edge when it comes to delivering timely appointment reminders to your clients.
Additionally, studies consistently report that text messages have a higher open rate than emails. In particular, a 2019 survey of consumers found that 100% of respondents opened the text messages they received. Text messages also get prompt attention from consumers. Most text messages are opened within 5 minutes of receipt and 90% of people looked at a message within 30 minutes of its arrival. Plus, consumers are more likely to respond to text messages than emails. Click through rates for text messages are 6x that of email messages.
What else can you do to make sure your clients get the message and keep their massage therapy appointments?
Maximize the impact of your text-based reminder system, with the following tips:
- Send more than one reminder for each appointment. Send a first reminder one to two weeks before an upcoming appointment. If your client decides to reschedule after this first reminder, you’ll have time to fill the opening. Then, to make sure the clients who didn’t cancel or reschedule remember to show up, send a final reminder within 24 hours prior to the appointment.
- Request that your clients respond to the message confirming their appointments.
- Use a subject line that identifies the purpose of your message so clients don’t ignore it or assume it is a promotion. (e.g. “Please confirm your appointment with ABC Massage”)
- Include a link that enables clients to add the appointment to their personal calendars directly from your message.
- Automate your SMS reminder system so that every client receives timely reminders of each appointment without the process consuming large amounts of your time.
Keep your schedule full and your clients’ treatment plans on track with a comprehensive plan to prevent no-shows
No-shows are a common problem shared by many healthcare and personal service providers. And while a few missed appointments may not seem like cause for alarm, the costs of no-shows can add up quickly. If you have just one no-show each week, your business could be losing thousands of dollars each year. A single no-show may also trigger a pattern of missed appointments for a client that can throw their treatment plans and wellness goals off track.
Appointment reminders are just one of several strategies you can implement to reduce no-shows and prevent your business from wasting time and losing revenue. In our free ebook, The No-Show Prevention Playbook, we share lots of other great strategies. Download your copy today.