All professionals who work with appointments have a problem in common, deselections! IT'S horrible to have your days planned out and suddenly have a puncture and waste your valuable time. In addition to the time, we also have the financial loss that this brings us, because in addition to not winning this time, you will probably have to occupy another vacancy with this client!
We cannot realistically expect to completely eliminate last-minute unbookings. However, there are a few tips to try to narrow them down to true emergencies only.
1. Remind your customers of the appointment
The two most convenient ways to remind the customer of the appointment are appointment cards and SMS's.
If you are currently wondering which one to choose, the answer is simple:
Both. Yes, it takes time and money, but think of all those customers who missed or canceled at the last minute because they simply forgot to make an appointment.
Let's see each method:
Did you know that when something is written on paper it is much more likely to come true? So it is. Give a card with the date of the next appointment to your client so that she keeps it in her wallet and consults it whenever she needs it.
SMS's are so common these days that they are almost expected as a good customer service practice. There are several applications, such as Gnom.guru, which, in addition to an agenda, have this functionality.
Send the SMS at least 48 hours in advance. This way the client will have time to reorganize her plans, or call you to change her appointment. You will also give yourself a little more time to fill that last-minute vacancy.
The best practice is:
Fill in the appointment card at the end of each service.
Send an SMS 48h before the appointment.
If the customer has not replied to the confirmation SMS, call.
2. Have a close relationship with your customers
It seems obvious, but it is often overlooked.
Building a solid relationship with your clients will definitely reduce absences and last-minute cancellations because it increases the client's personal commitment to you. If customers don't want to disappoint you, they'll probably make an extra effort not to be absent, even if they don't "feel good" going to the appointment.
There is another reason:
One of the main reasons for no-shows is customer dissatisfaction on the last visit. IT'S much easier to just not show up than to express your dissatisfaction.
3. Respect schedules so that they respect yours
Show customers that their time is valuable in small details:
Do not be late.
Do not change tags unless it is unavoidable.
Thank customers who arrive on time and rarely cancel. Reward those who respect your work.
Often the example comes from ourselves, and when you show that you care about your customers' schedules, it is likely that they will start to worry more about yours.
4. Reservation fee
Perhaps you've already wondered if it's worth asking for a booking fee.
For regular customers who don't miss appointments, I think it seems too impersonal, doesn't show trust and doesn't help create that "professional-personal relationship" we talked about earlier. In this case, don't.
However, it may be worth it, if you are a new customer for whom you do not have references, if the appointment is for a long time (ex: more than one service) or on a very busy day (ex: Saturday) and especially if the customer is often absent and simply doesn't trust her anymore.
Charging a booking fee can seem impersonal and even a little embarrassing, but remember that you are managing your schedule and a client who values your work and does not intend to miss will have no problem leaving a part already paid for.
5. Cancellation Policy
Write a simple and polite policy and put it on your website, on your social media and also on your appointment cards. Do not display it in the salon but always have a copy in case you need to explain it.
An important tip for creating this policy is to remember that it should be a two-part process:
The notice 48 hours before the appointment gives the customer the opportunity to confirm their presence or reschedule\cancel without any prejudice.
If the client changes or cancels the appointment within 24 hours, feel comfortable to charge her a small fee, if appropriate.
The important thing is to leave this 24 hour window for customers to call and reschedule or at least let you know.
In addition to these tips to avoid deselections, you should also think about why they happen.
Can you see anything in common? Most "deliberate" cancellations are due to customer dissatisfaction. Make sure you provide a good service and you will have close clients who respect your schedule and your work ;)