It's been 20 min since the scheduled time but your client still hasn't shown up for her appointment.
She hasn't called and isn't even picking up the phone.
Looks like it's going to be another one of those days when you'll have to bear business loss because of a no-show client.
It's frustrating and, sadly, a common problem for many lash artists.
When a client doesn't show up, she not only wastes your time and costs you money, but also messes up your schedule for the rest of the day.
Which is why it's imperative that your clients agree to some sort of a price or obligation while booking with you so that they think twice before skipping an appointment unnecessarily.
Here are a few ways you can make that happen.
1. Create a Cancellation Policy
A clear and well- written cancellation policy can save you thousands of dollars every year by reducing the number of last minute appointment cancellations and no-show clients.
A cancellation policy simply lays down the terms of engagement between you and your client in case of an appointment cancellation. Cancellation policies vary with organizations but mainly need to cover two very important points.
- Cancellation charges
Some organizations, for example, Salon Mia Bella, like to enforce a strict cancellation policy that requires clients to pay 100% of the service fee even if they don't show up. Others like to charge 50% or less in case of a last minute cancellation.
You can do it either way. The important thing is to clearly communicate the cancellation terms in advance so that there's no conflict with the client.
- Cut-off time for cancellation
You also need to decide the ideal cancellation cut-off time. Some salons and lash practitioners allow clients to cancel their appointments for no or partial charge 24 hours before the appointment. This is standard practice in several other industries as well. Some salons use a condition based cancellation policy in which a client is not charged any fee for cancellation if another appointment is arranged in that time-slot.
Again, it depends on how you want to deal with your clients. It's important to inform them about your policies when they're booking an appointment.
2. Consider Pre-Payment for Longer Appointments
A great way to minimize appointment cancellations, and allow more flexible rescheduling options to your clients at the same time, is to use pre-payments for longer or more expensive appointments.
A prepayment is a payment made for a product or service to be used in future. When a client prepays for your services, it saves you from potential business loss and makes the client more conscious of her appointment.
From a client's perspective, pre-payment puts them to ease in the event of a missed appointment as they have the luxury to reschedule it in case of an emergency without any extra charge.
3. Set Up a Reminder System
Setting up an appointment reminder system for your clients can be really helpful in encouraging them to show up on time. Every client has different preferences so it's best to ask them about the best way to send a reminder when booking an appointment.
You can set up appointments and reminders for free using Google Calendar, send the client an SMS or make a phone call depending on their choice.
I personally recommend sending a couple of reminders.
- The first one an hour before the appointment cancellation cut-off time.
- The other one a couple of hours before the actual appointment time.
This would allow your clients enough time to show up or reschedule their appointment in case of an emergency.
4. Ask Clients to Sign Your Cancellation Policy in Advance
Once you've created a cancellation policy for your salon clients, post it on your website, make it a part of your appointment documentation, and also send it with your reminder emails.
Ask clients to carefully read and sign your cancellation policy in advance when they're booking an appointment so that they know the consequences of skipping an appointment unnecessarily.
As a lashpreneur, the satisfaction of your clients and their relationship with your brand should be a top business priority. The objective of creating a cancellation policy is not to portray yourself as the 'bad guy'; It's there to save both you and your clients from any inconvenience.
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