No-shows and unexpected cancelations are daily problems for salon owners across the world, so it's no surprise that many salon owners want to know how to reduce salon no-shows. It's never pleasant when clients fail to turn up for their appointments.
It can be quite costly and stressful too when you have to cope with these no-shows and cancelations. So what can you do about it? Well, there are plenty of little tips and tricks you can start implementing right away to reduce the risk of no-shows and missed appointments.
No-shows are people who have made appointments or online bookings with a salon but then fail to turn up at the designated time of their appointment, without calling ahead to cancel or let the staff know. Data shows that 30% of appointments are missed or canceled every year, so missed appointments are a very common problem for salons across the world.
No-shows can have a serious impact on your business. The average cost of a haircut in the US is around $45, so just one no-show per day or a few per week can add up to thousands of dollars of lost income annually. It can also be really stressful and disappointing for salon owners and staff members to have to cope with missed appointments.
One of the simplest ways to reduce no-shows at your business is to set up a simple, accessible, 24-hour online booking system for your clients. With a smart online booking system in place, it will be much easier for your clients to see all the available slots for their appointments and pick one that works for them with their schedule. The booking process should be as easy as possible to minimize the number of no-shows you experience.
In this day and age, many people like to book their hair appointments on their mobile devices. So you need to make sure that your business is catering to the mobile crowd. Ensure that your site is responsive enough to run on small screens without a problem, or set up your own dedicated mobile app for appointment reservations.
If you want a client to be less likely to skip their appointments, it’s also a good idea to send out automatic confirmations after all bookings. These confirmations can be sent via email or text directly to your customer’s phone or computer. From there, the customer will be able to check if there were any mistakes in the booking so that they can call and make the necessary amendments if needed. You can also offer to add an appointment reminder to the customer’s Google calendar or iCal.
One of the main reasons why people miss appointments is because they simply forget about them. So if you want to limit the amount of missed bookings, it makes sense to use appointment reminders in your salon and let customers about their reservations for services. You can use salon software to set up these reminders to be automatically sent at key times, such as 24 or 48 hours before the booking, as well as offering an option to cancel or reschedule so that you can rebook any valuable time slots, too.
Another useful feature of salon software that could help your business avoid missed bookings is the automated waiting list. This is basically a list of customers who will be ready to fill slots that get freed up due to cancellations. So, if someone cancels at the last minute, your salon software will automatically send an SMS to the clients on your waiting list.
If a client doesn’t turn up at the scheduled time and fails to contact you, it’s perfectly legitimate for you to contact them and find out more. You can send a message on social media or call the client to see what caused them to miss the time and ask them to rebook or reschedule. This can be a really good method, as some clients might feel too embarrassed to call you or come back if they accidentally skipped an appointment at the last minute.
Set up a no-show or cancellation policy and make sure that your clients are aware of it. If your client knows the potential risks (such as fees or charges) from not turning up, they’ll be much more likely to stick to their appointments or at least contact you and let you know if they can’t make it in advance. Be sure to check the laws in your state to find out if you’re able to charge people for not turning up, and listen to client feedback to get an idea of how people feel about the policy. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at our cancellation policy templates.
As well as having a salon cancellation policy and fee system to encourage customers to turn up on time, you should also have some sort of system in place to reward the customers who are always reliable. You can set up loyalty programs or rewards for good clients, such as points for always turning up on time. Then you could even enhance your salon’s system to cut points from clients who don’t turn up.
Sometimes, it isn’t actually the fault of the client when they miss a date. It might be your fault if you have the wrong contact details for your customers and aren’t sending reminder messages to the correct email address or phone number. It’s really important to have accurate client information in the salon industry, therefore always confirm the contact data in your system is up to date.
To stop people from missing dates at your business, you need to keep track and note down when it actually happens. Salon software can be really helpful for this, letting you track and monitor missed dates and notice patterns or repeat offenders. From there, you can adjust your strategy, such as sending an extra reminder message or two to people who miss dates regularly or taking a prepayment deposit from them in the future.
If you’ve seen that a client has a history of missing their scheduled dates and times and you expect them to miss more appointments in the future, you could offer them prepaid packages. These packages could include multiple visits, to be paid for all at once via a deposit, so you’ll definitely have your payment and it’s up to the client to ensure that they arrive on time. This is a good way of showing respect to both yourself and your clients, as well as protecting your revenue.
Some clients might not feel that there’s anything wrong with wasting hours of your time if you are in the habit of wasting theirs. So make sure that your staff is efficient, your schedules are optimized, and your business runs as smoothly as possible to keep waiting times under control.
Get your stylist staff and other team members involved in the process too. Hold a meeting to make them aware of the losses of missed appointments and ask them to search for some ideas. In addition, make sure that your staff care about missed slots and waste time just as much as you by explaining the damage it can do to revenue and the business on the whole.
If you can treat clients well and show care to them, they’ll be more likely to become loyal to you and treat your brand better. So try and forge a real bond with each one. Show interest in the people who fill your business each day. Don’t forget the things they like and the unique details that make them special, give them positive experiences whenever they visit and find ways to make them care about your business so that they won’t want to let you down.
This is a good tip to follow in general, but it’s really important in terms of minimizing the number of missed appointments you have to deal with. If you treat everyone as well as possible and provide top-level care every time they visit, they’ll be more likely to treat your business well too. Not only that, but they might even become concerned about missing out on their slots at such a great place, so they’ll be even more careful to attend every meeting on time.
Even with the tips above, you may still encounter clients who fail to turn up for their scheduled appointment. So how do you deal with these customers? Well, one simple method that a lot of salons are using is to reach out to the client, find out why they missed the appointment, and then ask them to rebook.
You can also enforce no-show and late cancelation fees on clients to encourage them to stick to the appointment times and dates they make. It's also a good idea to make your own "bad list" of clients who have missed appointments after appointments and consider more severe actions for each client, such as refusing service or using salon software to send appointment reminders more regularly to them.
We've looked at some ways to reduce the risk of no-shows, but how you can stop them entirely? Well, there's no surefire method to eliminate 100% of missed appointments, but there are some steps you can take to massively minimize the chances of this kind of thing happening.
A good way to start is by taking deposits at the moment of booking. This way, you'll already have some sort of payment that you can keep if the client fails to turn up, giving them more of a reason to be on time for every appointment.
You can also enforce strict no-show charges or even make clients pay for their service before their appointments, perhaps only temporarily for repeat offenders or for certain costly services. Either way, it can help you get paid and reduce your no-show-related losses.
No-shows aren't a minor issue or a simple inconvenience. They can cost your business a lot of money in the long term and cause a lot of unnecessary stress. So it's important for salon owners to take action and start battling back against no-shows to decrease the risk of them happening.
We hope our ideas and techniques have helped to answer your questions on how to reduce salon no-shows. Start to take action today with appointment reminders, a strong cancellatian policy, easy online booking, and more to ensure that your clients always turn up on time.
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