(Part 2) No Serious Cancellation/No-Show Policy
Few things are more annoying in this industry than the dreaded no show. The waiting around, unfilled time, unmade money...ugh. As a result, many of us protect ourselves with pretty rigid and explicit policies to combat it. It's common courtesy to show up to an appointment you, yourself made. That's how we get paid, and people take advantage of our time. We have full schedules and people that want in, so there's little room for such disrespect.
I have to ask, though, what percentage of clients genuinely don't care about your time and money? If they could and everything was going as planned, they'd be perfectly on time for their facial. I bet the latter make up most.
I was at a conference recently and one of the presenters discussed how she didn't have a real cancellation policy at any of her businesses. By "real" or "explicit" policy, I mean one that precedes any booking confirmation, one that has to be "accepted" to move on, or is a lengthy page on the website. This presenter wasn't exactly popular when she introduced this topic to the group. As she explained, though, I totally bought her stance. She discussed, as I explained earlier, that the majority of clients care and want to show up on time for their obligations. But, plans often go awry. Not everyone needs to be bombarded (and yes, I've seen many examples I would call a bombardment) by the consequences of not showing up. The speaker asked a good question: how would it feel if we had some terrible day/situation happen and then got an email saying we owed for our appointment we missed? She explained that in the event someone no-shows/last minute cancels, they pick up the phone and call the person. Um...excuse me, what? Call? They first respond with empathy, asking if everything is ok. Then they might follow up with a text/email. Usually after one time, she said, this never happens again. In a way, because they're being personally held accountable with an empathetic phone call. There are times where habitual offenders have to be put on a pre-pay policy, but said it happens very rarely.
I've been no-showed/last minute cancelled on many times. I've also (gasp) no-showed appointments before. Obviously unintentional, but shit happens. To me, the sympathetic approach always weeds out the good from the bad. We shouldn't assume someone is going to no-show until they do. It's like my mom telling me she trusted me until I gave her reason not to. Ugh...I hated hearing that, but it worked!