As a salon or spa owner, you know the high cost of no-shows and last-minute cancellations: decreased revenue for your business, underutilized staff, and lost commissions and tips for your service providers.
While no-shows and last-minute cancellations are a reality for any service business, these simple strategies can help you reduce the number of no-shows and cancellations in your salon or spa.
1. Send automated appointment reminders
In today’s hectic world, it’s all too common for customers to get the date or time of their appointment wrong, or even forget about it entirely.
If you’re re-booking appointments a month in advance, it’s even more likely that your appointments are falling off your customers’ radar.
Sending automated appointment reminders is a straightforward way to help your guests remember their appointments.
Consider sending email appointment reminders 72 hours before upcoming appointments and use your booking software’s built-in marketing tools to automate your appointment reminders.
All too often, email reminders get lost in crowded inboxes. Text messages cut through the clutter and can catch your guests’ attention even when they’re on the go.
Try sending text reminders two days before the appointment to reduce no-shows and cancellations for both your business and your customers: They have time to adjust their schedule to make it in, and you still have time to refill their slot if they end up cancelling.
2. Use automated appointment confirmations
Sending appointment reminders by email or text is a good first step, but using automated tools to confirm guest appointments is even better. Automated confirmations can prevent a significant portion of your no-shows and last minute cancellations, and they are easy to set up and manage.
Use your booking software to send an email that prompts guests to confirm their upcoming appointments.
When guests click the link in the email to confirm their appointments, their responses automatically update their appointment status to “confirmed” in the appointment book.
Two-way text message confirmations
Two-way text messaging is another fully-automated way to confirm guest appointments.
Use your booking software to send out automatic text requests for confirmations. To confirm, guests simply have to respond “Yes” to the confirmation text message.
3. When all else fails, pick up the phone
If you’re already using email or text appointment confirmations, it’s simple for your front-desk staff to contact anyone whose appointments haven’t been confirmed by the day before their appointment.
If your front desk simply can’t follow-up with all unconfirmed customers for the day, consider following up only with those guests that have a history of not showing up. Communicate politely to these customers: “We missed you at your last appointment and I’m calling to confirm if we’ll be seeing you today for your appointment at 4. Should I confirm your appointment?”
That in-person interaction is a great way to put the pressure on your customer to give you an honest response.
4. Enforce cancellation and no-show policies
Many spas and salons charge customers no-show or late cancellation fees. These fees are often a flat dollar amount, but some businesses with lower priced services opt to charge a percentage of the services the customer booked instead.
Make sure you approach cancellation policies as a two-step process:
- Send a reminder 48-72 hours before the appointment to give guests a chance to change their appointments.
- Charge fees if an appointment is missed or significantly changed within 24 hours of the appointment time.
Post your cancellation policy on your website, online booking system and at your front desk so it never comes as an unwelcome surprise to your guests.
Don't be afraid to limit repeat offenders to walk-in appointments or even remove them from your customer list entirely. A "three strikes, you're out" policy might sound harsh but think about how much revenue those habitual no-show customers are costing your business and your staff.
Zenoti's all-in-one solution helps salon and spa owners reduce no-shows and cancellations by automating reminder and confirmation emails and text messages. Click here to learn more about our appointment book features.