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Professional Tips & Advice

5 Tips to avoid salon no shows and last-minute cancellations

4 Min Read Wednesday 24th October 2018

It’s every beauty therapist’s biggest bug-bear… the dreaded ‘no show’. We’ve all experienced them, either the client cancels last-minute or just doesn’t show up. And it’s not just new customers, even loyal repeat customers, those we think would never let us down, have a tendency to drop out last-minute.

Is it realistic to completely eradicate no shows and last-minute cancellations? Not really, but through canny marketing you can certainly cutdown the number of missed appointments.

Afterall, no matter how carefully you balance your calendar Рcancellations will always cost you money. For example, if you charge on average £25 for a treatment and have 5 no shows a week, that adds up to a shocking £6,500 missed revenue a year! Just think what you could do with that extra money!

Now the first step to avoiding no shows is to track when they occur – is there a pattern for certain days or times? Do certain team members get more cancellations than others? Identifying patterns will help you pre-empt possible cancellations and by using the 5 tips below you will be able to reduce the number of no shows you receive:

Tip1: Send Reminders

The three most popular methods for providing reminders include:

  • Appointment cards
  • Text messages
  • Phone call

And ideally you should be employing all three.

Appointment Cards

If you have the chance you should always give your clients an appointment card, yes this might get lost but it may also sit in their purse or be pinned to the fridge to act as a physical reminder they’ve got an appointment to attend.

Text messages

Text messages are one of the most common methods used by both salons and mobile therapists.¬†The message should include the date and time your client is due to attend their appointment, and ideally you should send them 48 hours in advance and if possible ask the client to confirm their appointment by answering with a “C” for confirm.

Phone Calls 

If you don’t receive a response from your text message you can then follow-up with a telephone call. Or alternatively if they’re a first-time client you might want to start with a phone call and then send a text with a simple reminder of the date/time.

Tip 2: Online Booking

Clients often find it less daunting to cancel an appointment online rather than via the phone, so an online booking system can be really beneficial.

Now I know what you’re thinking: “Isn’t this going to increase the number of cancellations?” – well yes, but it’s likely that these would be no shows anyway, so this gives you a chance to fill the gap with another client.

Tip 3: Maintain Good Client Relationships

We all hate letting down a friend, so ensuring you and your team maintain strong relationships with clients will reduce the volume of no shows.

Tip 4: Have a Clear Cancellation Policy

Don’t be afraid to communicate and enforce your cancellation policy. To raise awareness, you can display this on your website and appointment cards.

The standard cancellation policy is to request at least 24 hour’s notice or a fee for a % of the treatment may apply. This gives your clients the chance after they’ve received their 48-hour reminder to rearrange of cancel without incurring a cost but also covers yourself if they fail to do so. The “may apply” also allows for flexibility in the case of real emergencies.

If you work as part of a team it’s best to ensure everyone is educated on the cancellation policy and knows exactly what to say and do with regards to it.

Tip 5: Take a deposit

You can always request a deposit from:

  • First-time customers
  • Repeat offenders who regularly cancel or don’t show-up

However, it’s unwise to ask regular customers who regularly attend their appointments to make a deposit as this can show a lack of trust and makes it more difficult to maintain a good client relationship.

So, there we have it! Follow these 5 tips and you will be able to reduce the number of cancellations and no shows you receive.


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