No-shows and late clients are an inescapable fact of life in the salon. The good news is that you are not alone. It happens to the best of the best, and it’s a problem that every salon occasionally has to deal with. Thankfully, there are ways to help eliminate (or drastically reduce) the number of no-shows you have:
Set up the Groundwork
It’s always best to think proactively and stop a problem before it starts. To do that, you should have a clear policy in place for handling problem clients before you need to use it. Make sure your policy is posted on your web page, Facebook page, and online bookings page and that your clients have read and understand it. Then, stick to it! It may be difficult to turn away a client who shows up late, but if you don’t enforce your policy it becomes meaningless. If you say on your website that you’ll refuse service to anyone who is more than 15 minutes late, then do it. Typically, you only have to enforce the policy once for the client to realise you mean business and start showing up on time.
Send a Reminder
Once you have your policies in place, the next step to preventing no-shows is to have an appointment confirmation procedure worked out. There are 3 main ways to remind your clients:
• Appointment cards
• Text messages
• Phone calls
Text reminders are so common these days that they are expected good business practice and customer care. Salon software suppliers offer this facility as standard. It’s easy to set up and can save you a fortune on last minute cancellations and no shows. If clients don’t confirm their automated reminder, actually picking up the phone to give them a quick call can be key – particularly for those clients who have been unreliable in the past. You can also take this opportunity to upsell other treatments or products to them while you have them on the phone.
Offer a Discount for Pre-Paid Services
You’ll be surprised how much better your client’s memory is once they’ve already paid for their service – offer them an incentive to do so in the form of a discount or special if they pay beforehand. As a bonus, you’ll find your clients are far more open to splurge on other services or retail products if they’ve put the bulk of the payment behind them by the time they’ve walked through the salon door.
What to do When Clients Fail to Show Up
If despite all of your efforts to confirm the appointment, a client still doesn’t show up, it’s important to contact them. This accomplishes a few things: first, you can make sure they’re all right and show them that you care for their well-being. Clients are less likely to no-show in the future if they feel they have a relationship with their service provider. Secondly, it can help diffuse any embarrassment they might feel if they simply forgot their appointment, especially when you tell them “I’m just happy you’re OK.” Then, after you’ve reassured them, you have an opportunity to reschedule the appointment and not miss out on the potential for future revenue. However, if you don’t make that call, chances are you’ll lose the client forever.
Know Your Rules
You have to have a standard set of rules that you can’t break for any one client. If your policy is to charge no-shows, add the fee onto another bill or simply reschedule, consistency is key. You’ll lose credibility if you do something for one client, and something else for another.
Remember that whatever policies and procedures you ultimately put in place, the best way to prevent no-shows and late arrivals is through outstanding customer service and quality. If you are known for the amazing work you do and the way you respect both your time, you’ll build a clientele that is loyal and respectful.