The service industry, for obvious reasons, indulges with their clients one-on-one. The service industry conducts its business by meeting with its clients. This applies to all service-related businesses, be it a salon, or a clinic, or a house-cleaning service, or a restaurant, or any other service for that matter. Most meetings require prior appointments, and it is usually the first contact with your clients. First contact means a sales pitch which, however, if the client does not show, a lost opportunity to sell your service. As per a recent report, businesses with over $120,000 yearly revenue can lose over $26,000 each year due to missed appointments.
- Set reminders:
Setting up an appointment is not the end game, this is where it starts. Getting your customers to attend the meeting also shows your marketing tactics and the service you are offering. Therefore, it is imperative that all measures are taken by you to make sure your customers attend your appointment. One of the simplest ways of achieving this is by setting up reminders. Most of the customers do not attend their appointments due to forgetfulness, or tardiness. Reminders can help your customers keep their appointments. Here's a study that found that no-show rates were 38% lower among patients who received a text message appointment reminder. Reminders can be set up manually or via automated appointment software. Reminders via email, text messages, or any particular application on their respective devices, can improve the chances of your clients to attend their appointments.
- Have an automated application to schedule appointments:
In today's world, technology has been playing a part in almost every aspect of each of our lives. Technology does not differentiate between the rich and poor, (for the most part!) making our lives easier each day. An automated application to schedule meetings can go a long way to secure appointments with your clients. An automated application can make sure that your client can schedule appointments according to their convenience, anywhere and anytime. Furthermore, they can get regular reminders for their appointments. Since it is an application and easier to access, rescheduling an appointment is also a convenient task. Research shows that, once you provide easier re-scheduling, customers are more likely to attend their appointments.
- Ask for a deposit to book a slot:
There are various famous restaurants that have started to charge a cover-charge which is a deposit that is deducted from the bill later or a minimum expense that the customer must promise to incur while booking a reservation. This ensures that the customers either reach their table on time or cancel the appointment at a reasonable time instead of pulling off a no-show. A no-show means lost business, for example, a table reserved for a larger group that could convert to a considerable revenue, if not assigned to any other group would mean loss of the said revenue on account of a no-show. Therefore, a small deposit that can be either refundable or covers future expenses within the business should be charged to the customers to at least re-schedule or cancel if they wish not to attend the appointment. Many small businesses can benefit from charging a small fee to avoid no-shows, like clinics or salons, and the customers can be assured that they shall be received by a specific doctor or a preferred stylist.
- Add human intervention, like messages or calls for reminders:
Human intervention, like someone calling or messaging using a preferred chat service, can add a personal touch to keep an appointment. People may be reluctant not to show up at an appointment if they have booked or confirmed the same with a human being. Therefore, an interactive Whatsapp message, for eg: a chirpy, personalized reminder to attend the appointment can make your customer attend the same, rather than confirming the same with a computer. This option may be old-school and tedious but can work wonders with making customers keep up with their appointments. Even calling your customers, not only to remind them of their appointment but it can also covert a cancellation into a re-scheduled one.
- Avoid keeping appointments later than 2 weeks:
While noting appointments with your customers, avoid taking an appointment beyond 2 weeks from the present date. A 14 day period is a long time increasing the chances for your patrons to forget, make other plans, try a different service provider or not show up due to tardiness. Scheduling closer to the appointment, the better the chances of a customer avoiding no-shows. Appointments scheduled closer to the actual service date can create a sense of urgency. A near plan is easier to manage and foresee, rather than a far-sighted one. For eg: if an appointment is made with a customer after a month from the present date, the customer is likely to forget, or if it is an urgent matter, they might go to someone else, without canceling your appointment. A later date can also cause a person to change their plans or a higher priority meeting can find its place at the same time as your appointment. By rule, a 2-week slot is an ideal time for a customer to book an appointment - and enabling this window on your appointment scheduling platform can improve no-shows considerably.
- Follow a missed appointment with a “Sorry We Missed You” message:
In order not to lose business from a customer or not to lose an appointment with one, a "Sorry we missed you" message is rather appreciated. Usually, a customer who is a no-show is unlikely to visit your organization to keep with their earlier appointment. No-shows are not only a problem for service providers but also among the customers. A no-show is also known to cause some embarrassment amongst your customers, and they might not return to a place since they have not shown up. It is true that there are several reasons for a customer not to show up, however, a simple message for losing their appointment can make them re-schedule one immediately.
In summary, avoiding no-shows is avoiding loss of business. Each organization must take serious steps to curb no-shows. For services that can provide at-home services, it would be preferred and implemented to help bring down no-shows considerably. As per the above-stated statistics, at least a quarter of business is lost due to no-shows and following a few simple steps might help you win back those lost business opportunities.
Check out Appointo, a feature-rich appointment scheduling software to help you overcome your no-shows!
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