How to handle last-minute appointment cancellation and no-shows
You've got a client scheduled at 12 p.m. It's already 12:20 but your client still hasn't shown up. Unfortunately, it's a common problem for many lash artists.
In this article you'll find the best improvements to implement into your lash business which will help you cut down or even fully prevent last-minute cancellations and no-shows.
Create a clear cancellation policy
A well-structured cancellation policy can save you much money. It describes the terms of engagement between you and your clients in case of an appointment cancellation or even no-shows. You may enforce a strict cancellation policy that requires clients to pay 100% of the service fee even if they don't show up. Others like to charge 50% or less in case of a last minute cancellation. You set the rules here! The important thing is to clearly describe all the cancellation terms in advance so that there's no confusion.
Don't forget to mention a cut-off time for cancellation. Some lash artists allow clients to cancel their appointments for no or partial charge 24 hours before the appointment. This is a standard practice in several other industries as well.
Furthermore, a great way to minimize appointment cancellations is to use deposits. For clients who are no-shows only once, you may require a 50% deposit next time. For clients who are no-shows twice or more, you may require 100% of the full fee. When a client prepays for your services, it saves you from potential business loss and makes the client more conscious of her appointment.
Make your cancellation policy easy to find
Add your cancellations and no-shows policies to all of your social media accounts (Instagram highlights, for example), so they can be easily found. Don't forget to inform your client every time they book an appointment, so it won't be a surprise for them!
It's actually not a huge expense to use an online booking system (around $50 per month) but it provides you with many benefits for you and for your clients! They can see what time suits them best and then just book it. You can even take a deposit when they book online. If they no show or cancel it is not out of your pocket.
Such online systems as KEY PRO, for example, can help you send out automated texts and emails to remind and confirm the appointments! It sends out reminders 48 hours before the appointment, reminding your clients of your policy. And then 24 hours before their appointment saying this is their last chance to cancel or change their appointment before cancellation penalties will apply.
Remember the more clear and visible you make your policy, the lesser problems you will have!
Keep in mind that emergencies do happen to all of us. Even the most loyal client may cancel or not show up. The right thing to do is to give them a one time grace. If they have paid a non-refundable deposit why not use it for their next appointment? Your client will be very grateful for this and will create greater loyalty!
You as a professional lash artist should always stand up for your rights. Make people respect you and your time! Be confident and polite. You don't steal their money, you just prevent your business from losses.