Tired of No-Show Appointments? 5 Reasons Why Your Clients Keep Bailing

It happened again this week.

You’ve been replaying the same scenario non-stop in your mind since the moment you woke up this morning. What could you have done differently?

>>>> The dreaded no-show appointment.

You’re completely preoccupied with what went wrong…and for good reason. You’ve been steadily improving your client service and working hard to personalize your offerings, when, BAM! It happened again. A client bailed on their appointment.

So you ask yourself: What will it take for my clients to finally show me the respect I deserve?

To dig into that question and uncover the solution, you need to understand why clients aren’t showing up in the first place. So we found the 5 reasons your clients are not showing up for their appointments.

1. Human beings are forgetful

kristin bell forgetful

Life gets crazy. Keeping up with appointments can be overwhelming amid the chaos of a busy life. This leads us to the number one reason behind no-show appointments…client forgetfulness. As painful as it can be to admit (I won’t tell)—it happens to the best of us.

No matter how much you’re looking forward to an upcoming appointment, if you’re dealing with work, kids, pets, school…something is bound to get overlooked. Did you schedule a reminder in your phone, your planner or maybe it’s somewhere on a sticky note? Who knows…and that’s the problem.

Related: How To Create A Daily Routine That Sticks

2. Your clients made other (more important) plans 

No matter what industry you’re in there’ll always be clients who don’t respect how valuable your time is, or realize the predicament they put you in by not showing up.

Maybe they spent the night before their appointment out at the bar with their friends and they’re too hungover to make it to a 9 am appointment. Or perhaps like Jason Medina of Dedicated Tattoo told us, clients call in saying simply, “Sorry I have to cancel because I picked up a shift at work.”

It’s difficult to control how your clients will prioritize you and the services you provide within their lives.

3. Their budget no longer includes you

money's running low portlandia

Like it or not, getting a new tattoo or color treatment costs a good chunk of change, and for clients struggling with finances, this upcoming expense can be enough to result in a no-show.

For instance, a client may no longer have the funds today to cover the appointment they booked six months or even a year earlier.

Instead of fessing up to their lack of funds, some clients opt out of showing up altogether. They’d rather ghost than face the shame of admitting they can no longer afford to get the work done.

4. A change of mind in the eleventh hour

Look, permanent change is intimidating. So it doesn’t come completely out of left field when a client without a single tattoo bails on his first full sleeve session at the last minute.

Don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t make it any less enraging.

Same goes for the client who you spent 20 minutes in consultation with. You took the time to explain the process of going from jet black to blonde and she was psyched to start the process two weeks from today. But when “today” arrives she’s nowhere to be found. Now you’re out a client, with four hours to kill and no warm body to fill your chair.

5. Unexpected situations = last-minute cancellations

unexpected situation will ferrell anchorman

Unexpected situations arise for everyone, including your clients. In fact, last-minute problems or emergencies are the second most common reason for most no-shows.

Unfortunately, there’s not a ton you can do to prevent these scenarios {that’s why they’re called emergencies}  from happening in the first place. The best you can do is make the process for last-minute cancellations clear for your clients.

If you want these situation to have the least amount of impact on your shop, try to have a plan b in place to manage them ahead of time.

Related: How To Set Boundaries At Work Like A Boss

>>>>>>>>>

Now, it’s not all doom and gloom.

Thankfully, there’s an easy solution to put an end to no-show appointments ruining your day and destroying your bottom line.

Automate all appointment confirmations & reminders

If you want to tackle the number one reason clients don’t show up to appointments {they forget}, you need to begin sending out confirmations and reminders.

With appointment booking software, you can automatically deliver a series of confirmation and reminder emails or texts leading up to their scheduled appointment.

A confirmation email/text will let your client cancel or change their appointment far in advance (with the time frame determined by you), at their convenience. The follow-up reminders are enough to keep your forgetful clients on track and will cut down on costly no-shows.

Have a documented no-show appointments policy

please don't no-show your appointment

Your no-show appointments policy will be personal to your shop and needs to be stated clearly in places that are easily visible to your clients:

  • Website
  • In shop
  • Receipts
  • Booking page

A good example from within your policy could be, “please give us 24-hours notice if unable to make your appointment.” If clients don’t provide this notice, they’ll be charged for your full service at their next visit. Using your services, target market and business model come up with a no-show policy that’ll work best for you.

Collect up-front deposits for each booking 

The most effective strategy for addressing clients who no-show up for their appointments is collecting up-front deposits. You can require either the partial or full amount of your services when your clients book an online appointment with you.

This ensures you’re not out hundreds of dollars come appointment day…without another client to fill the open spot.

Related: Appointment Scheduling: Why It’s Important For Your Business In 2019

Follow up & follow-through like the boss you are

like a boss andy samberg

When one of your clients doesn’t show up to their appointment, your first step should be reaching out to find out why. When you call, if they don’t pick up the phone or they’re stammering through an unlikely scenario you have a decision to make.

If it’s a new client you may decide it’s best to end the relationship before it even begins. Whereas with a long-time client you’ve put in the time to build a relationship. Make sure you investigate to uncover what caused the miscommunication. Once you suss out the details, it’ll be up to you to decide how to proceed with upcoming appointments.

This leads to your no-show appointments policy. 

The more diligent you are about reinforcing your no-show policy the more likely you are to have clients coming in for their appointments or if they can’t make it, rescheduling a few days in advance.

It may be a challenge to charge customers for no shows or bump them down to “walk-in only” status, but if you’re uncomfortable moving your clients to up-front deposits this could be one of the few things that work.

>>>>> It’s time to put your foot down.

You deserve to crawl into bed every night with the confidence that tomorrow’s full day of clients will be there on time and excited to get started.

Well, that’s the dream scenario.

When you’re completely prepared for no-shows, you can expect the best and for well-documented reasons. With automated reminders, up-front deposits and follow-up calls, you’ll have primed and prepared your clients to give you the respect you deserve.

So ask yourself: Am I ready to put an end to no-shows in my business?

If the answer is yes, we’re here to help. Sign up for your free 30-day trial to stop no-shows in their tracks.