Nothing hurts a company’s bottom line like the no- show. For the company which takes appointments, that time slot equals money. When someone pulls a no-show, that time is lost and irreplaceable. The no-show brings to reality the essence of the phrase “time is money.”
Although it’s impossible to eliminate all no-shows, there are many steps one can take to bring the percentages down … way down. Appointment scheduling and appointment management can become like clockwork if you put the right system into place.
1. Let Them Know the Cost to You – Whether you are a hair dresser, pet sitter or dentist, it’s always good business to let your new customers know up-front how important it is to you that they take their appointments seriously. Letting them know up-front will set the tone of your business relationship moving forward. Be personable about it; let them know there is only one slot for that time and many others who may desire that spot. If they don’t show up, not only have you lost money, but someone else was not able to use that slot because of that commitment from them. Giving them a personal picture of how it affects you will make this approach effective.
2. Phone Calls and Reminders – Many in the medical profession have implemented this strategy. What is required to make this method effective is consistency. If you call once to remind someone of their appointment, they will expect this in the future and use it as their “alarm clock” to their appointment. If you suddenly fail to call, they’ll miss their appointment. There are services available like ClientTell and CallPointe that will do the automated phone call appointment reminders for you. Again, whatever you do, you must be consistent. http://www.clienttell.net
3. Reverse Psychology – There are restaurants that do not take reservations. It’s first come, first served. Many people have a hard time with those because they desire a table ready when they arrive. Well, what about “walk-in only” unless you secure the table with a credit card? This gives the person the option to secure it, or not. The same method could be used for hair salons, doctors’ offices, etc. What you are doing here is making appointments a “special privilege” instead of a “right,” thus making them more appealing and leading to more appreciation of them.
4. Online Automation – And of course… here is one of my personal favorites J Not only does it help eliminate no-shows, it actually gains you more business by giving your company the “ Wow!” factor by giving your customers the ability to book their own appointments online. CheckAppointments, an online appointment scheduling software, has a really great program that’s free that does just this. It will allow your customers to book appointments 24/7on your website and it sends out automatic e-mail reminders 24 hours before an appointment. Customers also have the ability to cancel their appointments online. http://www.checkappointments.com
Although there is no sure-fire way of eliminating no-shows altogether, becoming proactive in having a firm plan of action in place is where you will find your greatest success in eliminating that dreaded no-show and loss of revenue.
The more automated you can make the process, the greater your success will be, which will allow you to do what you do best!