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How to reduce your cancelation and no-show rates


You created a cancelation policy for your massage therapy practice. You send regular appointment reminders to your clients. Maybe, you even reward your clients who show up to their appointments on time. But still, you have some clients who either wait until the last minute to cancel their appointments or don’t show up at all.


What else you can do to prevent cancellations and no-shows from blowing holes in your schedule and messing up your business’s fill rates?


Try asking your clients to provide a credit card number when they book their appointments. Some of the massage therapists who use the ClinicSense app say that this simple step has reduced their short-notice cancelation and no-show rates to almost zero. 

Can asking for a credit card number really reduce your no-show and cancellation rates?  

For some massage therapists, requesting that clients provide a credit card number when booking their appointments may seem like a step too far. What if your clients object to sharing their billing information in advance? But, if you think about it, lots of businesses from hotels to theaters ask consumers to provide a credit card number when making a reservation. Some businesses even require their customers to pay for services in full before they have their appointment. Why? 


There are several reasons businesses ask for a credit card number or advance payment ranging from identity verification to revenue management. Below are two top reasons why you may want to start requesting a credit card number from your clients.  

Having the client’s credit card number on file makes it easier to get paid

As part of your massage therapy practice’s no-show prevention plan, you may already have a cancelation policy in place that requires clients to pay all or a portion of the applicable service fee if they fail to show up for an appointment or don’t cancel in time. Getting their credit card number when they book an appointment makes it easier for you to charge this agreed-upon fee if they violate this cancelation policy. It also makes post-treatment billing simple. Your client can simply authorize you to charge their card and not have to worry about paying on their way out. 


Whenever you request that a client provide their credit card number, always disclose why you’re asking for the information and what you’ll do with it. 

Providing you with their credit card number is an act of commitment by the client

The psychology of sales tells us that the further along a consumer travels on their buyer’s journey, the more likely they are to follow-through. Just entering your name on a list doesn’t require much effort or commitment. It can be easy to forget your plans or simply change your mind. But, each additional step you take to secure an appointment adds to your effort and your commitment. Each action your clients take that points toward arriving for their appointment encourages them to keep that appointment.


Providing your business with their credit card number represents a committed step forward along the buyer’s journey for your clients. 


Keep your massage therapy schedule full with ClinicSense’s help

Requesting a credit card number at the time of booking is a particularly effective method for dealing with clients who have a history of no-shows and ClinicSense’s online scheduling app makes both credit card-backed bookings and pre-payments easy and convenient for you and your clients. 


Would you like to discover some other ways to reduce your no-shows and get a better handle on your schedule? Check out our free ebook, The No-Show Prevention Playbook to learn how to use automated reminders and other strategies to avoid missed appointments.