It can be frustrating when a client cancels last minute, or worse, no-shows.
All the time you spent prepping for them feels like it’s gone down the drain, and the glaring gap in your schedule can feel like your burning money.
Trust me; I get it! No-shows throw off your entire day, but the good news is it’s in your control.
Let this statement free you; most of your no-shows are entirely preventable. If you’re struggling with clients coming in for their appointments, try these tips for better retention.
1) Have a policy
The most important tip to preventing no-shows is establishing a policy.
You might be thinking, “Isn’t it common knowledge?” And I agree, most people have used services long enough to know that no-shows are unacceptable. However, the unfortunate reality is that when boundaries are not enforced, some people will use that to their advantage.
Let’s be real. If there are zero consequences, and the client does not know you, they’re much more likely to not follow through with their appointment. It’s up to you to set those rules on what is an acceptable way to interact with you and your business.
Your policy should be clear, concise, and communicated to all new clients. Post it somewhere that can be found easily, like your website or booking site. If new clients message you to book, have a photo or PDF that you can quickly send to them with all the information they need.
Your policy should include information on cancellations, no-shows, and late appointments. For instance, it may look something like this:
- Cancellations: I accept cancellations 24 hours before the appointment without any penalty. If you need to cancel within 24 hours of your appointment, a 50% service fee will be charged.
- Late appointments: Please arrive at your appointment on time to ensure your service can be completed at its best. There is a 10-minute grace period for late appointments. After this, the appointment will be canceled, and the full appointment fee will be charged.
- No-shows: If you do not show up to your appointment with no notice of cancellation, the full appointment fee will be charged to the card on file. If you need to cancel an appointment, please do so 24 hours or more in advance to avoid fees.
Other information you might want to include for clients is what to expect at their lash appointment. Some people may not know to avoid caffeine or to arrive makeup-less.
2) Stick to your guns
Once you have set your rules, stick to them! Do not let people take advantage of you or try to pressure you into making an exception for them. Of course, use your discretion and intuition as needed (we’ll get more into this later.)
It may be tempting to give a majority of people a pass because you want to deliver outstanding customer service. However, there is a huge difference between great service and throwing away your time and money.
Healthy boundaries are needed to run a successful business. Clients who respect you and your time will understand this. Do not feel you need to lower your standards to keep a client. There are plenty who will gladly adhere to your policies with no questions asked.
3) Keep a credit card on file
In order to book an appointment, a credit card should be required. This allows you to charge a fee in the event a client cancels last minute or no-shows. You can’t enforce your policies without this step, so it’s a non-negotiable!
4) Charge a deposit fee
Speaking of credit cards – it’s also a good idea to charge a deposit fee for new bookings. That way you can confirm the credit card is valid.
Deposits are one of the most effective ways to prevent no-shows because it weeds out flaky clients. These deposits can range from $30 to $100, depending on the artist. The industry standard tends to be 50% of the appointment fee. At the time of service, the deposit will then be credited towards the total.
5) Confirm appointments
Some clients simply just forget. We’ve all been there. With busy schedules, it can be hard to remember what day you’ve booked something, especially if reminders aren’t sent. Thanks to online booking services though, it’s easier than ever for artists to confirm their appointments. These services can cost as little as $10 a month and do wonders for client retention.
Another benefit to these tools is that they free up precious time on the phone, whether that be phone calls or text exchanges between clients. Plus, if a client needs to reschedule, they can visualize what days and time slots you have open.
6) Use your intuition
Sticking to your guns doesn’t mean you need to be 100% by the book. Emergencies happen, and in those cases, it’s best to give your clients a pass. No client would come back if you charged them for an appointment they missed due to a car crash, sick family member, etc. Use your intuition and offer flexibility when it’s needed.
Is it possible some clients may take advantage of human kindness and make up some bizarre excuse to avoid a charge? Of course, but it’s better to give them the benefit of the doubt than to charge someone who genuinely is afflicted by some emergency.
When I was taking clients, I gave a fairly large grace period for late appointments. If they could still make it 30 minutes after, I would take them – as long as they understood that I might not be able to get as much done. Most clients would still happily pay for something over nothing.
7) Make the most of your time
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; sh*t happens. If and when it does, make the most of your time. You can use no-shows as an opportunity to create content for social media or practice a new technique. It’s also a good idea to make a post about last-minute availability in your schedule. Chances are you’ll have opportunities to make up that lost revenue!
Have any more questions on how to prevent no-shows for your lash business? We’re happy to help! You can contact us here, or reach out on Facebook and Instagram! We also recommend checking out our blog where we cover all things lash extension-related.