Missed Appointment Due to Snowstorm

Why I Missed My Last Appointment (And How It Could Have Been Avoided)

Why I Missed My Last Appointment (And How It Could Have Been Avoided)

We’ve all had the experience of missing an appointment.  What a terrible feeling—and a hassle—it is when you see a phone call or get an email notification from your provider and suddenly realize that you missed your appointment. Not only did you miss the service you were seeking, you also potentially will be charged a no-show fee.  In this article, I’ll relate the reason for my own most recent no-show and talk about how automated client appointment reminders could have spared both me and the service provider trouble and expense.

My snowstorm no-show

Although it’s not the most common reason for no-shows, the last appointment I missed was due to the weather.  I was visiting a friend in a mountain town when a huge snowstorm blew in.  Feet of snow covered the highways, and the roads were promptly closed.  Two days later, I was still waiting out the weather when I got a real-time phone call from my massage therapist asking, “Where are you?”  I had totally forgotten that appointment, and he asked me to pay a 50% no-show fee.  I knew he was running a small business and couldn’t afford to miss the revenue entirely, but as I read off my credit card number over the phone to pay for a service I hadn’t received, I couldn’t help but feel—ouch!

How my snowstorm no-show could have been easily avoided with an automated appointment reminder

When I was stuck at my friend’s house a few hundred miles from my massage therapist’s office, the highways were a mess, and I doubted that my car could even make the drive.  But you know what was working just fine?  My cell phone.  Even with something as unpredictable as a snowstorm, the missed appointment could have been prevented if I’d received a confirmation text a day or two beforehand—a simple sms, email reminder, or voicemail would have been enough to remind me to text or call the massage therapist and let him know I needed to reschedule.

Although I paid the 50% no-show fee, that was far from an ideal solution.  With a simple automated text reminder, he could’ve filled that slot and made more money, I could’ve saved the fee, and both of us would have been spared the relationship strain that comes from a penalty for a no-show.

I have since switched to a massage therapy office that sends automated appointment reminders: they send an email reminder two days before my appointments, as well as a confirmation sms text the day of, and the odds of me being a no-show again have dropped to near zero.

Common reasons for missed appointments

Although snowstorms and other weather-related events are uncommon reasons for people to miss a scheduled appointment, missed appointments for all types of reasons are entirely too common. Among the most common are:

  • Forgetting or getting day/time mixed up: Most people have busy lives, and without reminder messages or other forms of follow-up, it’s all too easy to simply forget an appointment. Relatedly, how easy is it to glance at your calendar, think you’ve got your upcoming appointment time straight, only to realize later that you either recorded the wrong day/time or recorded it correctly but misread it?
  • Don’t want to come: Sometimes a parent, a spouse, or one’s own conscience pushes someone to make a healthcare, wellness, or other appointment type, but when the time comes to actually do it, they feel resistance and decide not to go after all.
  • Worried about cost: Clients may have had an unexpected expense since they booked the appointment, and suddenly their appointment at your business doesn’t fit the budget. Or they’re just worried what the cost will be, and they decide to skip it.
  • Lack of transportation: If someone depends on others for a ride to your office, that immediately doubles the chance that forgetfulness will lead to a no-show. Likewise, a car problem, a missed bus, or even, yes, bad weather can lead to transportation issues that cause no-shows. According to the American Hospital Association, some 3.6 million individuals forego medical care each year due to transportation issues.
  • Proximity to holidays: Data shows that people are more likely to miss an appointment if it falls one day after a major holiday. Patient reminders can be especially important when people have lots of other things filling up their schedule.

The surprisingly high cost of no-shows

When a patient, client, or customer doesn’t show up at the time you’ve booked for them, it costs your business money and time, and it’s an overall strain on smooth workflows. Whether you charge a no-show fee or not, your practice has lost out on a timeslot that could have been filled by a full-paying client, if only you’d known to refill it. For businesses that lack supportive automation, a cancellation can also mean staff time calling to check what happened and reschedule over the phone.

And the awkwardness of rescheduling may be enough to send your customer looking for another provider or simply skipping care that they might need. One massive study found that patients who failed to keep just one appointment with their primary care doctor were 70% more likely not to return within 18 months. This suggests that for large numbers of people, a single missed appointment can lead to ongoing disengagement—to their detriment and that of your business.

And, boy do all these costs add up! No-shows cost the medical industry at large some $150 billion per year, and untold billions more to other appointment-based industries. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a system in place that would not only prevent the large majority of no-shows but allow you or your office manager to spend less time worrying about the issue?

Using automated appointment reminders to solve the problem of missed appointments

A quality appointment reminder system can reduce your business’s no-show rate dramatically and quickly. Many studies have shown that confirmation text messages, email reminders, and other simple notifications can reduce no-shows by as much as 90%. Most appointment-based business owners spend a lot of time thinking about how customers can enter smoothly—creating online booking pages with the functionality to integrate directly with appointment scheduling software. When we work so hard to get customers to book appointments in the first place, why are we less concerned with having an equally smooth and automated solution to preventing missed appointments?

An integrated system like Reminderly offers automated text messages, reminder calls, email appointment reminders, and more so that your patients or clients experience a smooth communication process that takes the pressure of them and the burden off you and your staff. The appointment reminder software integrates seamlessly with your existing calendar software, whether Google Calendar, Office 365, Calendly, or many others, and we pride ourselves on responsive customer service to help you handle any questions that pop up.

Even better, receiving appointment confirmation texts or other types of appointment reminder messages will leave you with happier customers. Over 85% of people say they want appointment reminders, so implementing a reminder service is providing support your customers already desire.

Get started today

Begin your 14 day trial and access all of Reminderly’s products.
Start your free trial