In this industry, and lots others, appointment no-shows and last minute cancellations are, unfortunately, part of the game. They’re bound to happen from time to time due to unavoidable emergencies, unexpected hiccups in day-to-day life and, certainly, human error (most of us have had a total mind blank at some point in our lives).
So, when it comes to running a business in the hair and beauty world, where should we be standing on no-shows? How much is it costing our business? And, what can we put in place to significantly reduce our no-show stats?
Let’s take a look.
How are no shows affecting you?
Firstly, gain an idea of the scale of your no-show and late cancellation situation by looking over the last couple of months of appointments. Do you have a similar number each month? You can find the average and then multiply by your average appointment price, working out how much money your salon is losing in lost appointments each month. It might be one or two, or is the problem bigger?
When you’ve done this, take a look for trends in the no-shows. Do you they happen on certain days? At a certain time? Or possibly with a particular stylist? This will really help you to gauge a better idea of the reasons people might be failing to turn up.
What can you do as prevention?
There are definite actions salons can take to try to avert the cancellation from happening. Appointment reminders are time-consuming but absolutely essential; if you’re not doing them already, start today. Salon software suppliers offer automated text message systems to allow you to send out a simple reminder to clients for their appointment, which you can do 48 hours in advance. This gives the client plenty of time to schedule if they have accidentally double-booked or to rearrange their other engagement now that they’ve had a nudge from you.
Good old-fashioned phone calls are still one of the best and most successful ways to remind clients. As you actually speak to the client, they’re less likely to put it to the back of their mind, as they might with a text message, and it makes the appointment a more personal one-to-one engagement. Calls are a definite when it comes to repeat offender no-shows.
No show & late cancellation policies
It’s good to have one of these in place. You can post it on your website and social media and also briefly mention it to clients when they make a booking, which will hopefully act as an additional reminder. All salons create their own individual policy, but many offer 24 hours to reschedule or 48 hours to cancel, otherwise, a percentage of the treatment price is charged. Select a policy that works best for you and your stylists.
When it comes to enforcing your cancellation policy, it’s best to be flexible. Each and every cancellation is different; a regular and valued client cancelling once due to an emergency is very different from a repeat no-show, who adds little value to your business. So, make each decision on a personal level to avoid offending long-standing clients, who are easy to forgive.
Building strong, long-term relationships with clients who come back time and time again to your salon is the key factor in the reduction of no-shows and cancellations. Having your stylists consciously and consistently going the extra mile to get to know their clients and build personal relationships with them will build a level of trust that ensures clients won’t absentmindedly cancel an appointment at the last minute, as they won’t want to let their stylist down.
Additionally, the more they enjoy their time at the salon, the more excited they’ll be to return the next time. Win, win!
No-shows and cancellations may be a part of salon life, however, with these simple but fundamental tips, you can help to reduce these numbers and keep your accounts, your customers and your hard-working stylists, happy.