We all know what happens when a client doesn’t show up for their appointment – you lose time and money. That’s why reducing no-show appointments can be one of the most important tasks in your business.
At the same time, it’s one of the biggest challenges to take on. Especially with how common the problem is.
According to 10to8, the average number of no-show appointments ranges from 10 to 15 per cent of all booked meetings.
Today we’re talking about reducing no-show appointments in the most effective ways.
Here’s what you’ll learn from this article:
- Negative effects of no-show appointments
- Dealing with no-show appointments the smart way
- Handling no-show clients
- Reducing no-show appointments with scheduling software
- …and apps you need to check out
Let’s get down to it.
How Do No-show Appointments Hurt Your Business?
Clients not showing up for a scheduled meeting is already frustrating as it is. You’re there, you’re serious, you’re professional – and the other party stands you up. Regardless of their reasoning, your first thought is that they should have called. You’re just annoyed and frustrated.
But there’s so much more to it. No-show appointments can damage your business. In many ways at that.
They Waste Your Time
It’s hard to shuffle your schedule this quick and refill the gap. More often than not, you waste time first waiting for the no-show client and dwelling on their absence.
Suffice to say, you could spend this time in a way more productive – and lucrative – way.
They Waste Your Money And Slow Down Your Business Growth
When a client doesn’t show up for an appointment, you suffer two kinds of financial loss: short and long-term.
The short-term financial loss means you’re not making money out of that appointment. Your revenue drops right there and then.
But you suffer long-term as well. The fact that the client didn’t show up can bring about other consequences. For example, they may never return again. That means losing revenue from more than one meeting.
The time you could have blocked for them and wasted waiting could also be used to grow your business. Now, you don’t get in touch with more clients. You don’t mine for prospects. And you don’t nurture your existing contact base or network.
All this is a money loss – direct or indirect.
They Hurt Your Relationships With Clients
No-show appointments often leave a sour taste. And if the no-show client wants to re-book, their previous absence can cast a serious shadow on your relations.
Not only can it hinder the way you perceive that person, but it can also undermine trust towards others. You’d think that such reactions should be separate from rational business thinking, but we are emotional beings. Someone standing you up once or many times can warp any relationship.
They Might Potentially Hurt Your Brand Image
Allowing no-show appointments can hurt your brand image as well. When you permit this kind of behaviour, that particular client – or others as well – may assume it’s acceptable. You could end up treated less seriously than your competitors. The number of no-show appointments could increase, and that means further financial losses.
You can’t force clients to show up. But there are other ways to communicate your disagreement with no-show appointments. We’re talking about it further down.
Effective Ways to Reduce No-Show Appointments
#1: Use Appointment Scheduling Software
Using appointment scheduling software is an important step in reducing no-show appointments. If you don’t use this type of app yet, make sure to put researching the topic on your priority list.
As you will see soon enough (keep reading!), using appointment scheduling software comes with many more benefits. These include getting more appointments scheduled in an easier and more automated way.
#2: Set Up Reminders – Email, Mobile, And Chat
Usually, people don’t intend to stand you up. They just forget. That’s why it’s essential to set up reminders that will reach them on time.
These reminders are one of the features of appointment scheduling software. Depending on the solution, you can contact your clients through different channels. Choose between email, messengers or text messages. And for the best results, make sure to use all these channels.
#3: Use Booking Services And Websites That Penalise No-Shows
Practically every country in the world has a directory of service providers, from doctors to beauticians. These often create a connection point between you and potential clients. Often, they allow booking an hour through their service.
But the benefits of being on these websites extend beyond that. Do your research. Your local directory might have a policy against no-show appointments. They could be terminating accounts of clients who don’t show up for their meetings. And that’s one of the ways to prevent it from happening again.
#4: Charge In Advance Or Request No-Return Deposits
Charging in advance seems like an easy way to scare clients away, right? After all, who’ll want to pay in advance for a service they’re not sure about?
But think about it this way: you pay in advance for your online orders. When you buy groceries, you don’t try them out in a store – you check them at home. After you’ve paid for them.
This practice is more common than you think.
Paying in advance can make your clients feel more committed to coming. Otherwise, it’s a waste of money for them as well.
If you don’t feel like setting up an advance payment, you can also request a fraction of your fee in the form of a deposit.
#5: Get On a Call (Or At Least Text Them) When They Don’t Show Up
For many people, this is definitely beyond their comfort zone. It might be easier to let it go than to confront a client who didn’t show up for their appointment.
However, calling your no-show clients could prevent that situation from repeating. If they forgot, maybe they would like to reschedule. This way, you maintain your client base. And if not – then you can filter out people who could hold you back.
#6: Recognize Red Flags And Prepare In Advance
Reducing no-show appointments is about prevention. Not allowing these situations to happen is key. And while software or deposits can help, you should also look out for evident red flags.
The more clients you serve, the easier it will be for you to tell who’s really committed, and who might stand you up. Attitude, wording and general behaviour could point towards the possibility of a no-show. Of course, it’s not always 100% sure. But some clues can suggest having a backup plan so you spend the no-show time more productively.
#7: Give Them Something to Look Forward to
Receiving a great service is already something to look forward to, but try to take a few extra steps. Don’t hesitate to tease the benefits of seeing you before the appointment. Make your promises, and show extra promotional materials or freebies they’ll receive.
The goal is to outline a clear, tangible benefit of showing up. One that makes them impatient about the appointment to come.
Handling Clients Who Don’t Show Up For Their Appointments
What to do when a client doesn’t show up?
One of the steps in reducing no-show appointments is to confront your no-show clients. While most of us prefer to avoid confrontations, avoiding them won’t help.
Luckily, there are a few ways to get the issue in front of your clients without feeling bad about it.
#1: Don’t Take It Personally
That’s a crucial one. More often than not, the fact that your clients don’t show up for their appointments isn’t your fault. You could be delivering an excellent service and they still won’t come.
People are busy, forgetful, and distracted. Sometimes money is an issue. Sometimes unexpected things happen. The more you talk to people, the more you’ll see that the problem isn’t you, but something entirely out of your control.
Don’t take no-show appointments personally. You’ll gain a broader, more rational perspective when emotional perception is out of the way.
#2: Mind Your Tone
No matter the reason behind your client not showing up for their appointment, mind your tone. Don’t ever be rude, don’t raise your voice – even if they do. Don’t resort to passive-aggressive messages or bitter subcontext.
You might think they deserve it for wasting your time. But in the end, it’s only your brand that suffers from it. And you’ll never get them to actually rebook and leave their money with you.
#3: Be Realistic
No matter how great your offer is, it may not be a priority for that one client. If you get a feeling that’s the case, be open about it. Ask if they’d like to commit or halt the project. Perhaps it’s better to let it go and find a replacement.
#4: Be Ready to Fire Clients If The Trend Continues
While this is a tough one, you’ve got the right to cancel cooperation with unreliable clients. The ultimate goal is to reduce no-show appointments to prevent revenue loss. You won’t do that by sticking with people who waste your time and money.
#5: Always Investigate
Try to find out why your client didn’t show up for their appointment.
Ask for feedback. There might be something you didn’t know about. Has the quality of your service gone down? Maybe the prices are no longer competitive? Keep your eyes and ears open, especially if there are many no-show appointments in a short period of time.
#6 Learn To Let It Go
When it comes to no-show appointments, there are many you could let go of.
Let go of pursuing no-show clients.
Let go of beating yourself over why they haven’t shown up.
Let go of conversations which won’t lead to rebooking anyway.
Sometimes you just have to sit back, take a deep breath and look for another, better client.
Reducing No-Show Appointments With Appointment Scheduling Software
The benefits of using software in business are, in general, numerous. It always comes down to one thing: increasing your company’s revenue. But the way appointment scheduling software can reduce no-show appointments is the main reason to give it a go.
Here’s why you should use a scheduling app for reducing the number of clients who don’t show up for their meetings.
#1: It’s Easy To Use And Free
The majority of appointment scheduling apps are easy to set up and use. They usually don’t require a lot of technical know-how, and even beginners can set up their scheduling page quickly.
What’s even better, most of them come with a free plan to get you started before you commit to a paid service.
#2: It Does The Job For You
A scheduling app allows you to create a booking page or add a scheduling widget to your website. From there, your clients can pick an hour best for their needs. You don’t need to sit on the phone or answer their messages to find a time good for you both.
If that’s not enough, think that most of these apps will also send an automated reminder without an effort on your side.
#3: It Sends Automatic Reminders
Reminders are the strongest point of appointment scheduling software. Sending a reminder can dramatically reduce the number of no-show clients.
Usually, they are automated – which means you only have to set them up once. Additionally, the better the app you get, the more channels are the reminders sent to – from email to messengers to text messages.
#4: Allows You To Monitor No-Show Behaviour
In some of the appointment scheduling software, you have options to keep track of clients and create notes about them or about the meeting. This way you’ll see whether not showing up for an appointment is a recurring tendency.
#5: Allows Easy-Rescheduling
Appointment scheduling software makes it easy to reschedule if plans suddenly change. That could be one of the reasons for no-show appointments, so ensuring easy rescheduling is one of the essential steps to take.
Rescheduling or cancelling the meeting through a simple link is easier than making a phone call. Most importantly, it gives you a heads up with sufficient notice.
#6: Easy Deposits And Pre-Paid
Some of the appointment scheduling apps allow you to set up advance payments. Thanks to this, it’s clear from the get-go that you’ll ask for a deposit before the appointment happens.
#7: Quicker And Automated Follow-Up
Appointment scheduling software helps you to set up a flow of follow-up messages. When the meeting has come to a successful conclusion, you can set up an automated text which will thank your client and encourage them to rebook.
And because it’s automated, you don’t have to remember about doing it manually every time.
Appointment Scheduling Software To Check Out
Choosing business software is rarely easy. There are so many options available that it can get confusing and overwhelming.
Fortunately, there are a few industry staples. And your appointment scheduling software journey can’t happen without checking them out.
Year by year, Calendly enjoys a powerful community of active users from all over the world. No wonder – it’s popular, it’s free and it’s simple to use.
Definitely a must-try.
A good alternative to Calendly, Setmore is an appointment scheduling app that delivers a few more different options in a little different way – and it includes the option of your paying in advance!
Acuity Scheduling is one of the most complex and powerful apps of this type. It’s not for occasional scheduling, but rather for businesses that handle a large number of appointments every single day. It’s a smart option which helps you optimize the time in between meetings for maximum efficiency.
Simplybookme is a good start for those businesses that don’t even have a website. The app allows you to create a shareable, professionally-looking appointment booking page to direct your clients to.
It also comes with reporting, client management and payment features.
Appointfix is another app dedicated to meeting-based businesses. It enables 24/7 bookings paired with earning monitoring, client control, calendar and reminders.
Reducing No-Show Appointments: Final Thoughts
No-show appointments can be one of the most frustrating events that occur in your business. The revenue loss they carry is something you can’t ignore.
Reduce no-show appointments with these tips – and don’t forget to check out the recommended apps for maximum results!
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