How Can Your Business Reduce Missed Appointments?
If you run a business that depends on people attending their appointments for your revenue, then you’ll know how frustrating it can be when people fail to show up. Perhaps you’re in the medical business, or you offer a consultancy service — whatever it is, you provide expertise, but you only get paid for it if the person who scheduled the appointment shows up. This is a little unfair, however: your business can succeed or fail on the whim of other people.
Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to reduce the chances of people canceling their appointments, as we’ll see below.
Paying in Advance
A person is far less likely to cancel an appointment if they’ve already paid for it. If possible, take a look at offering an early payment system that’ll collect money for the appointment when it’s made. It’s best not to make this compulsory, and more of an optional bonus — you could, for instance, offer a small discount if they pay early. Aside from ensuring that people come to their meetings, this will also help you to manage your cash-flow better.
People make appointments, and then life gets in the way, and before they know it, they’ve forgotten that they ever set an appointment in the first place. They might be in your schedule, and it’ll be an appointment that you wouldn’t miss, but there’s no guarantee that it’s of equal importance to them. It could slip their mind. One way to get around this is to use a service such as Appointment Reminders. With that, you’ll be able to send call, text, and email reminders to your customers, which will reduce the chances of them missing the appointment.
No More Waiting
One reason why some people feel OK missing their appointment is that they’ve been hurt in the past; that is, they arrived on time for their meeting, but they were sat there waiting far beyond their scheduled appointment time. While there wasn’t enough damage to keep them away from your business for good, it could make them think twice about sticking to their appointments if it’s not urgent. To prevent this from becoming an issue in the future, look at working to reduce your waiting times. It can be tough, but with a little bit of will and organization, you can keep things moving more fluidly.
You don’t want to do it, but in some cases, the only option may be to charge a penalty fee for customers who cancel their appointment at the last minute, say, on the same day. If you’re going to do this, however, it’s important that the customer feel understands the terms and conditions of the appointment when it’s made.
Factor It In
Finally, keep in mind that you’ll never hit 100% attendance for your business, so you’ll want to factor it into your budget — and don’t count the money that you’d earn from an appointment before they’ve paid. You’ll only get into cash-flow difficulties otherwise.