10 tips to reduce no-shows.
These tips help you reduce the numer of clients that don't turn up for their lash appointments.
1. Send e-mail and text reminders. You can either send them individually or using an online booking system. You may want to send them 1 reminder 24-48 hours prior an appointment and then 1 on the day, in the morning. Using an online booking system works best, as you don't need to spend extra time on messaging your clients - the system does it automatically for you.
2. Confirmation. Ask your clients to confirm their appointments on the day. For example - if you use an online booking system - in your settings - leave a note that you require a confirmation by email/phone/text. It's good to know who's coming and who isn't, so you have enough time to fill the slot and offer last minute appointment to other clients. If you don't use an online booking system - message your clients on the day asking if they're coming. Contact them early enough (at least few hours before their appointment) so that they have time to respond and so that YOU have enough time to find potential clients that can book last minute. Usually they respond with yes or no. If they don't respond - you can contact other people from your waiting list and let them know you may have an appointment that day and will confirm later when you're 100% sure the slot is available.
3. Waiting list. Consider having a waiting list with phone numbers to people who are happy to wait for a free slot. Sometimes people don't get the appointments at the time that suits them, but you can contact them when a slot becomes available.
4. Booking fee/non-refundable deposit. It's worth having a booking fee policy for new clients. Whether they book via text, email or your Facebook page - let them know that they need to pay booking fee to secure their space. Give them time to make payment and ask for letting you know then the payment's done. Pencil them in your diary and once the fee has been paid, confirm the appointment with them. If they don't pay deposit in time - release a slot so the other people can book it. The difference between booking fee and deposit is that the latter one can be refunded. If your client cancels they can ask for a refund and they have right to do so. State clearly in your booking policy that your deposits are non-refundable, otherwise you may face losing deposits if your clients know their rights.
5. Update your policy. If you have a written policy (and you should), inform your clients that a number of no-shows (it could be 2) means that they'll need to pay deposit before their next booking. Flag them in your calendar/booking system so that you know who's meant to pay deposit next time they try to book an appointment.
6. Educate your clients about consequences of missed appointments. Usually lash infills are done 2-4 weeks after a full set. Most of people have at least half of their lash extensions left by that time. If they miss their appointment - you may not be available to see them for the next few weeks and they'll need a full set and pay full price. Experienced clients are aware of that and they usually don't miss appointments to keep their lashes nice and full. But a new client may not know that, so it's good to tell them.
7. Book in advance but not too far. Whilst booking in advance gives you an idea of how busy your next week/month will be, booking too far in advance may cost you more no-shows. People can be interested in having their lashes before their holiday next summer, but sometimes they need to change plans, run out of money or simply forget they booked an appointment 6 months ago. You may let them book 2-3 months in advance instead to avoid no-shows later.
8. Confirm their next appointment before they leave. On each appointment, ask them if they want to keep their next one, especially when they have booked few in advance. Sometimes they make some other plans in the meantime and asking them for confirmation before they leave makes them check their diary and see if there are any other scheduled things on the day. You may then rearrange the appointment or cancel it before the risk of a no-show.
9. Your working hours. Sometimes people don't turn up because of other commitments they have during the day. Usually it's work, or childcare. If you happen to have many no-shows at some particular time of a day - try to find out what the reason was. Think if you could expand your working hours, offer evening or weekend appointments. If your lash clients are working moms - it'd be presumably easier for them to find a childcare on the weekend or after work. Also - not everyone is able to take time off work during the day, so offering evening appointments may help reducing no-shows.
10. Don't rebook persistent no-show clients. Sometimes even the most reliable, regular clients forget about their appointments. If you know your client, you probably know they didn't miss one intentionally. Accidents happen. On the other hand - if you have a fairly new client and they happened to miss one or more appointments without a notice - don't rebook them. After all - it's your job and you can't afford empty slots because of people who didn't bother to contact you to cancel or rebook.
If you have any other ideas how to deal with no-show clients - let us know in comments below.