An Awkward Conversation - no-shows and last minute cancellations

This is a difficult message to write to our valued customers, the message of addressing the number of no-shows and last minute cancellations we get daily and the impact it has on our small business. First, without clients, we simply don’t exist, so how do you show your appreciation for the support but at the same time have to share the downside of running a service based business.

Did you know that the average no show rate for small businesses is 10-15%? That’s a whole lot of lost revenue. Every business has fixed costs to cover, not to mention staff to pay whether there are clients or not. As a small business, it costs five times more to gain new customers than to retain existing ones and our business is all about the clients.

We also miss the opportunity to book in other Spa goers looking for appointments that we’ve turned away because the time was already scheduled and it's impossible to have them come back last minute

Our Massage Therapists lose that income when a customer no-shows their appointment and we lose productivity with the other staff. Simply put, when the Therapist has a no-show, they don't get paid. For example, one of our sought after Therapists gets 3 no-shows per week. Those are spots we can't fill last minute even though we turn away business daily. Other Spa goers just can't to us that quickly. If the trend continues she may look for other Spa's or Clinics that can guarantee her a consistent schedule.

The average no show rate for small businesses is 10-15%

Everything in our business, especially when it comes to scheduling, is interconnected. If we have a break-down in one area it can mean failure in another. Business productivity and growth are directly affected by lost time, lost revenue, and lost customer connection. Although we understand that things come up last minute, we do our best to provide notice for appointments with reminder calls and emails.

With continued no shows, last minute cancels and lost revenue, we risk losing qualified staff and being forced to reduce our open hours. Please call us or email us as soon as you know you aren’t able to make your appointment so we don’t miss the opportunity to re-book our schedule up.

There are really only 3 solutions to combat this:

Customer cannot book without providing a credit card number to hold a service and are billed if they late cancel (within 2 hours of the appointment) or no-show. Customers may be reluctant to book if this policy is in place for fear that they will be billed if something genuine does come up and they do have to cancel. Although, usually a quick call to management can solve any concerns or questions.

Second, the business can implement a Confirmation Policy. This means that we require to have current information like email and phone number on file so the customer receives both an email reminder and phone call. If the appointment has not been confirmed 24 hours prior to the appointment, then the appointment is cancelled. This allows the business enough time to schedule someone else and help reduces the amounts of no-shows because the opportunity is simply taken away.

And finally, we do nothing. This may be easiest for the customer but still leaves us in the same position as before with potential gaps in our schedule and lost revenue.

As a small business, it costs five times more to gain new customers than to retain existing ones

So like I said before, this is a tough awkward conversation but it needs to be had. Our small business adds value to the community, employs community members, donates to local charities, provides unique services and goods that you don't need to travel to go find and we would love to continue to bring those too you for many years to come

I'd love to hear your feedback on this. Let's have a conversation.

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