In the salon industry, clients who book appointments and show up late (or worse, don’t show up at all) are an inescapable way of life. In fact, no-shows and late clients are a problem that every salon owner will have to deal with at some point.
Clients who miss appointments and don’t call to cancel or reschedule prevent you from filling their space, ultimately resulting in loss in revenue and essentially affecting your business in the long run.
It’s impossible to stop no-shows from happening altogether, however, you are more likely to reduce the number of these with just a little planning:
As the saying goes, it’s best to stop a problem before it starts. Using this theory, ensure you have a clear policy in place for handling problem clients before you need to actively use it.
In terms of language, spelling and grammar, your policy needs to be clear, concise and easy to understand. Remember to mention it to any new clients, have it clearly positioned on your website and regularly post it on social media for all to see.
The most important thing, however, is to stick to it! Although it is hard to turn a client away if they are late, if you don’t practice what you preach then it becomes meaningless. Typically, you should only have to enforce it once for the client to realise you mean business!
If you stay on top of your time-keeping and are not always running late or over-booking your schedule, then this won’t give your clients an excuse to do the same. If you don’t respect their time, then you can’t expect them to do the same in return.
A reliable database storing the correct contact information for your clients is essential. Keeping it up-to-date is even more important, as sending confirmation texts/emails is the most common way to try and prevent no-shows.
People change their phone numbers all the time, so check with your clients every time they come into the salon to make sure your system is up to date with any recent changes.
Give all clients an appointment card, regardless of whether they will receive a digital reminder. This way, you get peace of mind knowing that you have provided them with a reference. Plus, this covers all bases if for some reason they don’t receive their reminder text or email.
Research shows that phone calls are more effective at preventing no-shows than any other forms of communication. Speaking to someone directly will have more of an impact than leaving a voicemail, sending a text or dropping an email.
However, many salons will not have the time or resource to call every client, so setting up an appointment confirmation procedure is the next best thing. There are numerous types of automated confirmation systems and calendar management programmes available, so take the time to find one that suits you.
Be consistent. If you make confirmation calls for every appointment, then your clients will learn to depend on this. If you suddenly forget to make a call, or suddenly stop doing them, then expect some clients to forget.
When a no-show happens
If despite all your efforts, a client doesn’t show then it’s important to give them a call and chase them up. Firstly, just to check they’re alright and not in any kind of trouble.
It’s good to have a “forgive and forget” policy the first time a client doesn’t show up. We all know that life can be unexpected sometimes and we can’t help forgetting about things. Building a relationship with your clients and showing understanding can help prevent no-shows in the future, as it shows you care about them on a personal level too.
What to do
After your initial conversation, offer the option of rescheduling the appointment. If you don’t make that call, you could lose that client forever. By being polite but firm, you could secure a customer for life.
On the other hand, you will undoubtedly come across people who repeatedly miss their appointments no matter what. To combat this, you could take a small deposit up front, with the remainder of the balance due following their hair appointment. Not only will this help to recover any losses, but it should prevent your repetitive ‘no-show’ from reoffending.
If you feel you need to lose a client due to repeated no-shows, then give them a call or drop them an email. Take the time to explain the situation and politely say that their needs would be better met at another reputable salon.
Ultimately, the policies and procedures you put in place can go a long way in making no-shows and late arrivals a rare occurrence. Combine these with outstanding quality and a one-of-a-kind customer service and you’ll build up a clientele that will never want to miss an appointment again!
Salon Gold provides specialist Hair Salon Insurance. For more information, please visit our dedicated web page here.