When you think about no-shows, you probably associate them with lost revenue. You’d be correct. The average no-show rate in the nation is about 20%, which is quite substantial. In the healthcare and medical field, no-shows cause a 14% loss in daily revenue.
Obviously, no-shows are problematic. They do not only hurt businesses and companies financially, they also cost a loss of time. Wasting time hurts company growth, productivity, and customer and/or patient engagement.
You sent out the friendly reminder text message a few days prior to the scheduled appointment. You sent a follow up message the day before for an appointment confirmation. You did everything right. However, the person still missed their appointment despite your reminders.
No-shows will never become extinct no matter how many reminders you send out. Some people are habitual no-shows and do not have respect for you or your business. Sometimes it is worth firing your client, but that’s a tougher decision for another time.
On the other hand, life happens. Whether the person forgot, their car broke down, or they won a surprise all-inclusive vacation to the Bahamas last-minute, not every appointment will be successfully filled.
Most clients feel bad and are embarrassed, or are scared of the fine when they miss their appointments. This no-show-shame can deter clients from ever returning for your services.
First time clients may frequently not come back. This is especially true if they have anxiety about the appointment to begin with. For example, appointments dealing with healthcare, legal, or accounting circumstances may worry people about their health, future, or financial status. These major life stressors can cause clients to avoid these situations completely by never attending such appointments.
It is very frustrating when you schedule an appointment for someone and they don’t show up. However, no-shows will continue to occur. Here is everything you need to know on how to deal with no-shows.
Embarrassment is the number one reason people do not come back. Sending a quick note can help reduce that embarrassment and encourage them to return. You worked hard to get that client — it is worth trying to keep them at this point. When reaching out to the person about the no-show, keep in mind these tips:
Stating the obvious, it is important to be understanding when it comes to dealing with no-shows despite the frustration you justifiably feel towards the situation. You never know what the person is going through. They could have forgotten about the appointment, but they also could have experienced something out of their control that caused them to miss their appointment. For example, if a person experienced a death in their family or got into an accident on their way to the appointment. Despite your understandable frustration, try to use non-accusatory language and remain friendly. This will benefit your company because there is a greater chance of the person recommending your company to others based on good experiences.
It is essential to clearly communicate the situation to the person in its entirety. State all the necessary information about the missed appointment like the day and time it was scheduled for, who the appointment was with, where the appointment was located, and some contact information for future and further assistance.
Also include an explanation about your no-show policies (if you have any) and the reason they exist. This may include cancellation windows and late cancellation fees. Adding context as to why these policies exist will help the client understands the situation from your company's perspective.
Offering a solution is vital. It is the most important step for multiple reasons. First, it shows you are committed to providing for the person, which will increase your chances of keeping their business. Second, it takes the negative feeling of blame away from the person since embarrassment is the number one reason people do not come back. It shows that you can fix the problem and that the person does not need to feel worried or guilty about the no-show. Third, offering a solution just avoids future issues. Offering a solution will move the situation forward and bring about positive outcomes from both your company and client.
More often than not, the solution is just to reschedule the appointment. This fixes the no-show issue directly. Additionally, it ensures the person will return for your services, which benefits your company. When offering to reschedule the appointment, provide some future dates and times the person can choose from so rescheduling appears less intimidating. By offering specific times, the person will find this process easier and less stressful on both parties.
If you have no-show policies, you might want to consider waiving the first late cancellation fee. This kind gesture will entice the client to pursue further appointments with your company. However, if you have a cancellation fee, you probably don't want to waive it every time because that creates the expectation that there really isn't a cancellation policy.
Most no-show sms texts can follow a similar template no matter what the appointment was for. Here are some items that you may want to include in your no-show sms text or email message:
Including the person’s name ensures you are contacting the correct individual and also keeps the message personalized.
A kind buffer takes the blame off of the person’s no show. It shows understanding and empathy towards their situation. For example, “We hope all is well.” This simple sentence demonstrates politeness and no hard feelings. The person will likely feel more inclined to reschedule an appointment with your company if they feel welcomed, and not blamed.
Include all the information about the missed appointment like the date, time, location, reason, and person it was with. This provides all the necessary information that the person needs to know for rescheduling their next appointment.
Additionally, if your company has a cancellation policy or no-show policy, you can insert that information here.
This is the most important step when dealing with no-shows. Provide a phone number, email, or appointment booking link so the person can reschedule their appointment. This resolves the no-show issue by continuing business with them.
It is important to remind the person you are available if they need any help during the rescheduling process. For example, if the booking link does not work, you can provide contact information so that the person can reach out with questions. Additionally, this simple message of future assistance will make the message more personable and polite to avoid future conflict.
Finally, close the message with a warm statement like, “Have a nice day,” or “Hope to see you soon!” This friendliness will assure the person does not feel attacked or blamed for the no-show situation and will increase their chances of rescheduling their next appointment with you.
“Hi [insert client/patient name],
We hope all is well. It looks like you missed your appointment on [insert appointment date and appointment time] at [insert company name] with [insert person the appointment was with]. You can reschedule your appointment by calling us at [insert company phone number]. If you have any issues rescheduling or any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at [insert contact information, i.e., phone number or email]. We hope to see you soon!
Have a great day,
[insert company name or business name and your name]
Cancellation fees pose both pros and cons for your company:
Reminderly has templates so that you do not have to spend lots of time sending the same message over and over again. Additionally, Reminderly has a "Messages" section where you can send direct and personalized text messages to clients. This can be helpful when addressing a no-show situation directly with the client. Furthermore, Reminderly has appointment reminders to try to get as much notice as possible if a client does need to cancel. For example, with Reminderly, you can easily create multiple reminders any number of days in advance.
No-shows are no fun to deal with. However, they happen. To increase your chances of avoiding an immense amount of no-show situations, use Reminderly. Sending reminders decreases the likeliness of people forgetting about scheduled appointments. Reminderly will send automated appointment reminder messages via text, voice, or email reminders to your consumers about an upcoming appointment, which will decrease the likeliness of no-shows. Life still happens, so no-shows will continue to occur. However, Reminderly can help you ensure forgetfulness is not a reason for a no-show using an appointment reminder text message.