On a busy day, your first reaction to a no-show or same-day cancellation may be relief. You finally have a chance to eat lunch or go to the bathroom or even to walk outside and take a few breaths of fresh air! But then reality sets in. That’s an hour’s worth of income gone, and it’s too late to get it back. Sure, things happen―clients mix up their dates, emergencies arise, traffic backs up. But as a service provider, it’s worth a little extra time and effort on your part to prevent no-shows and cancellations as much as possible. Here are a few tips.
Communication is Key
In today’s hectic world, it’s easy to book an appointment three or four weeks down the road and forget all about it, or to enter the wrong date in the calendar. And although it’s not your job to keep your client on schedule, it’s worth doing so for the sake of your own business. The best strategy is a quick confirmation reminder via email or text. Independent stylist Ruh Webb of Howard Kurtz Salon in Sherman Oaks, CA quickly scans her next-day appointments each morning and shoots each client a “See you tomorrow at…” text. Doing so jogs the client’s memory and gives them time to adjust if they’ve forgotten the appointment. Even better, many salon software programs now offer automatic appointment confirmations. These programs will communicate via email or text, based on the client’s preference, and request a confirmation response. If you’re not using this feature on your software program, it’s well worth looking into moving forward.
Set a Cancellation Policy
Fine hotels have clear, defined cancellation policies, and beauty pros should consider doing so as well. Most stylists charge a percentage of the service if the appointment isn’t cancelled before a prescribed period of time. For example, a common policy is 30 percent for any no-shows or cancellations within 48 hours of the scheduled appointment. You may apply the charge to the client’s next appointment, or you may keep the client’s credit card on file and apply the cancellation fee to the card.
Be sure your policy is clearly stated on your website and on signage in the salon. You may also wish to include your policy on your Facebook or Instagram feeds.
Of course, it’s always good to be flexible because life happens, so remember enforcement of your policy is up to you. If a reliable client isn’t a chronic no-show and has a reasonable excuse, maybe cut her some slack.
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