Posted on April 8, 2021
Are late-arrivals and last-minute cancellations disrupting your schedule and costing you money? Many service businesses struggle with how to manage tardy and no-show clients. Doing nothing is bad for your business. Every time someone reserves your time then fails to show up, you lose money. Late arrivals disrupt your schedule and shortening a session to account for lost time can lead to a bad customer experience.
But deciding exactly what to do about no-shows and late arrivals can be difficult. Should you charge clients for your lost time or refuse to book them in the future? How do you strike the right balance between protecting your business income and nurturing positive, lasting client relationships?
In this article, we’ll explore taking a proactive approach to no-show prevention.
Winning strategies to prevent no-shows and late arrivals
Your no-show prevention strategy should begin with a clear--and well communicated-- cancellation policy. Use your cancellation policy to proactively inform your clients that failing to arrive or showing up late is a problem for your business. It should also tell them what to expect if they violate the rules.
Enforcing your policy should be a last resort, though. No one likes to be punished and enforcing a negative consequence may create a conflict between you and your client that you’d rather avoid.
Try a positive approach first.
Going positive is a win for everyone. It adds a favorable touchpoint to your customers’ journey and encourages the behavior you want to see. Incentives for arriving on time reward your best clients. They’ll appreciate the fact that you’ve recognized and appreciate them. Plus, happy clients who feel acknowledged and appreciated are more likely to spend more with your business and refer you to their friends and family.
Use rewards and incentives like the ones suggested below to prevent no-shows and late arrivals. Mix and match your favorites or try out a new incentive each quarter to discover what works best with your clients.
10 rewards your massage business can use to encourage on-time arrivals
- Add an extra 5-minutes of time to the sessions of your on-time arrivals
- Reward your punctual clients with a free add-on or upgrade
- Enter all of your on-time clients into a monthly reward drawing
- Use punch cards to track timeliness and give clients a free session or product after they’ve filled their card with punches
- Offer on-time clients a discount on their next appointment or on a product purchase
- Give free product samples to clients who keep their appointments
- Offer priority scheduling to your on-time clients
- Let clients who arrive as scheduled draw a random prize ticket when they check-in
- Send a Thank-you email to your on-time arrivals that includes a discount or other reward
- Give clients who keep their commitments for a year an end-of-the-year gift or discount
Remember, encouraging the right behavior starts with telling clients what you want. Download our free ebook, The No-Show Prevention Playbook, for complete instructions on how to create a cancellation policy that will discourage no-shows and keep your business running smoothly.