Cancellation and no-show polices run the gamut from flexible to firm, but most business owners agree that spas, salons and gyms are keener to protect their revenue, while yoga and fitness studios may be a bit more lenient.
Whether you request 24 or 48 hours’ notice for cancellations and charge 25%, 50% or 100% of a missed service or class, it pays to strike a balance. These policies depend on the services or classes you offer, as well as the vibe of your business.
Everyone is extremely busy these days trying to juggle work and family schedules. Although your business is your first priority, remember that an appointment or class can quickly pale in comparison to a client’s sick child. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep some guidelines in mind as you develop, communicate and enforce your cancellation policy. Some best practices include:
- Post your cancellation policy on your website.
- Print the policy on any price list or membership agreement you share with your clients.
- Print the policy on the back of gift certificates and cards, and on the gift certificate envelope or card holder.
- Make sure your staff communicates the policy to every client and member who books an appointment or class.
- Require employees who take bookings and schedule classes to record that the clients have been told about your policy. You can use the notes section of your clients’ profiles to do this.
- Use the notes section of your clients’ profiles to also keep track of missed appointments and sessions.
- Phone, text or email a confirmation to a client who books or reserves over the phone.
- Send a reminder 48 hours before the appointment or class that specifically says they have to cancel by a certain date to avoid incurring a fee. Your software should be able to do this automatically for you.
For appointment-based businesses, such as spas & salons, another strategy is to sell clients a series of services where one of the benefits of the package is that they are exempt from the cancellation policy. Series clients typically book with the same therapist or service provider, and they’re usually reluctant to cancel on their favorite practitioner. Clients benefit from the value of a series, and they appreciate being relieved from the pressure a cancellation policy can impose.
Your staff also benefits from series sales. As you know, cancellations are a real hot button issue for service practitioners. In a heartbeat, their day can be disrupted, their book can thin out and they lose the fees and commissions they were expecting. By offering a series of services, clients may be less likely to cancel and your employees will have a better shot at maintaining their income.
Unfortunately, there are just some clients who repeatedly cancel despite your best efforts. One way to encourage them to be more reliable is to diplomatically recount the number of instances when they cancelled based on information you’ve gathered in the notes section of their profile. You can use that history to help them understand the impact their cancellations are having on your business and your staff.
Keeping your customers satisfied is crucial to the success of your business, but no one says you have to do that at the expense of your revenue. Having an effective, fair and balanced cancellation policy that’s well communicated can keep your customers smiling and your calendar full!
You can specify your cancellation policy in Booker’s platform under system settings, making it easy for your staff to refer to it. To learn more about Booker’s cancellation features, request a demo with one of our representatives.
Our thanks to Barry Eichner of Barry Eichner Consulting for his contribution to this post.
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