As a hardworking business owner, it can be hugely upsetting and frustrating when clients don’t turn up for their appointments. Yes, from time to time there is a genuine emergency but other than that, if someone can’t make their appointment, they really should let you know well in advance.

If you’re frequently experiencing late cancellations or no-shows, it’s time to take a stand and make some minor changes. Don’t lose out on any more money this year due to clients not showing up, let’s see how we can eliminate salon no shows.

Take a Deposit Upfront

Many salon owners don’t like taking deposits or payments upfront as they believe that it will put existing and potential clients off. However, in this day and age, many salons have taken the plunge and set up a deposit system to minimise no-shows. After all, if they have every intention of showing up it shouldn’t be a problem.

With the amount of competition that’s out there nowadays, it’s important that you’re protecting your business in any way possible. No-shows and last-minute cancellations can cost you a lot of money.

Put your clients’ mind at ease:

•    Explain why you are asking for a deposit upfront to avoid any confusion or upset

•    Tell them the benefits such as securing the appointment so that no one else can take it and guaranteed appointment time

•    Offer flexibility in online bookings and deposits via your website or a third party site.

It’s entirely up to you if you want to take deposits from long-standing regulars but you should consider introducing a deposit system to new customers or repeat offenders.

Send Appointment Reminders

Sending an appointment reminder can be really effective. Sending a friendly text or email 24 hours before a client’s scheduled appointment will act as a gentle reminder. It is therefore highly important that you capture up-to-date contact details at the time of booking.

If you want a confirmation that the message has been received, you can turn on read-receipts on your text messages or email account. Alternatively, you can ask that the client responds to confirm their attendance.

Enforce a Cancellation Fee

Some salons charge a cancellation fee if a client cancels less than 48-hours before the scheduled appointment. This can be an effective method of reducing cancellations, but it really only works if you’ve taken a deposit upfront.

Alternatively, you could create a three strike system whereby if a client cancels more than three times, they must then pay for treatments when they book. Of course, it’s circumstance dependent and some clients have genuine reasons so it would be completely at your discretion what route you decide to take if someone were to cancel.

Display a Cancellation Notice

A polite notice stating your cancellation terms can be really helpful for clients. By putting a notice up in your salon and having one on your website – preferably at the booking stage – clients will fully understand the consequences of not turning up and what late cancellation fees they may incur.

Having the correct procedures and processes in place can move your business forward for the better. If everyone is on the same page and understands what’s acceptable and what is not, your salon business should run smoothly and effectively.

Image: istock.com/danr13

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