We all face this on fairly frequent basis. There are things we can do to help cut this down, such as:
- giving the client a card with their appointment time and date.
- texting or e-mailing the client the day before their appointment, to remind them.
- calling a client the day before the appointment, if they do not provide their mobile or e-mail address.
With the best will in the world, sometimes, we just forget things, or a family emergency crops up, or something just goes completely wrong and a client can’t make it to their appointment. They might not be able to let you know.
I tend to have a double or triple policy, depending on how well I know the client, whereby one missed appointment or late cancellation, I overlook. It will depend on the circumstances. If it’s a regular client, who is simply having a difficult time, I tend to accommodate as best I can. If it’s a brand new client, it’s a difficult choice. I will give them one more appointment time.
Two missed appointments, and I will be asking the client how I can best help them to make their appointment, ie any way I can remind them. Three times and I am not booking another appointment without first receiving payment, and retaining that payment if the client is again a no show. I do find, that if a client has paid in advance, it tends to give them extra motivation to appear at the appointment.
Realistically, we have to understand, that we are a business. If a client is constantly cancelling with short notice, or just not turning up, we lose earnings, as well as having an appointment slot that we cannot fill due to the short notice. In these circumstances, with clients who consistently cancel late, or don’t turn up, I will still allow that client to book in, but only with a deposit, or full payment in advance to secure the slot.
Paypal invoices work very well for this.