One of the most common questions I get asked by Salon Owners, especially coming up to a busy period like the run-up to Christmas—is how to handle and eliminate Christmas No-Shows.
The first question I would always ask in return is “Which part of this problem are you responsible for?” Most respondents will put total responsibility on the client and never on the salon. In my view that’s not quite how it works.
I know it can be so frustrating, and sometimes infuriating when a client doesn’t show up. But it can be a cop-out to put the blame totally on the client.
I really don’t believe there’s a bank of clients out there trying to disrupt your appointment system and jeopardise your continued business. Instead I believe that you have to take more responsibility in helping your client remember and respect their appointment booking with you.
Especially in the busy season coming up to Christmas, everyone has extremely busy lives trying to remember so many things, whilst also juggling work and family routines.
Although your treatments and appointments are a huge focus in YOUR daily life, the importance of remembering a facial appointment can easily and unintentionally pale into insignificance in the hectic whirlwind world of your client. It’s up to you to do all you can to ensure that your client has their appointment in the forefront of their thinking by keeping in contact with them with gentle reminders.
Historically, most businesses will just sit back and hope and pray that the client will remember this appointment. That’s a big ask considering the appointment can be anything up to 6 weeks away.
When we look at things from our clients’ perspective we can understand a lot better why our clients forget.
Here are some tips to help reduce the Christmas no-shows problem:
- With existing clients, it is ESSENTIAL to re-book their treatment before they leave you. This not only improves your client retention and appointment planning but it also means that you can confirm correct details on an appointment card for your client’s safe keeping.
- If a client telephones to make the booking, then you must reiterate all of the details back to the client and then either text or email a confirmation.
- You must have contact with clients at least 48 hours before their appointment. This can be a friendly phone call or a quick text or email reminder. Many software programmes now can automate this process for you.
- Staying in touch with salon news and updates also keeps your business top of mind for the client.
- Make sure you have a written cancelation policy in place as a deterrent. Personally I feel it is hard to impose a cancellation policy, unless your services are very unique. You can easily lose a client if they think they have incurred charges on their account, and they will simply move to another salon. My advice would be to give your client the grace of forgetting or missing ONE appointment, then if it happens again, simply explain how you love looking after them and wish to continue in the future, but that you would need to take payment in advance. If they refuse, then they will likely re-offend, so let this client go.
- A pre or part payment booking system is a fantastic way to eliminate no shows. This is easily implemented if you have an online booking facility.
- No shows CAN be a thing of the past with consistent action on your part, but you need to be consistent about your cancellation process throughout the year, and not just in the busy run up to Christmas.