You cannot afford to continually book clients who do not respect your time. This person(s) causes lost revenues for your business. So, how do you handle clients who habitually do not show up for appointments and do not call you and/or ignore your follow up call, text or email to them? First of all, this information or policy must be part of your new client orientation. You will need to remind each client; each time they book their appointment. This practice is paramount to the future of your business, especially if you charge a fee for missed appointments or require prepayment on future appointments. Remember this important economic fact: cosmetology services are used and paid for with discretionary funds. (The majority of the time this is true, depending upon your market.) Translated: our income is based on, derived from, depended upon O.P.D.I. OTHER PEOPLE’S DISCRETIONARY INCOME. Depending on the neighborhood in which your practice resides this could a wonderfully lucrative thing. But, for others it may not. We are the last item in a client’s budget and sometimes the first to be cut out. That being said, we are not automatically the most important “thing” on our clients to do list. They will cross us off with the blink of an eye. Think for a moment about your own no-show policies and consider the following.
In the appointments section I suggested not to double-book a client. Right? Okay, now I am telling you different. I have witnessed some providers do it out of greed, holding a client hostage for hours at a time—disrespecting their time. Shame on the one who has one person in their chair, one sitting at the shampoo bowl, four in the lobby and three under the dryer. I am not referring to walk-ins. Each person had an appointment. Each of those nine clients couldn’t have been a nightmare client yet they were punished because of an out of whack schedule. That provider was the nightmare service provider ruining it for the rest of us in the industry.
Let’s get back to the double-booked schedule. When a no-show client books an appointment, I suggest always double-book that person and let the other client know there could be an overlap (they do not need to know the ‘whole’ why) with their appointment. Depending on the service, you will need to allow for 15 or 20 minutes in your schedule to accommodate this scenario just in case the no-show shows. You will have to be attentive to your time with this one especially if you are a nail tech. You will have to be creative in what type of services you double book. This is key. For instance, you could schedule a full-service pedicure against the manicure service of the no-show client. While the pedicure client is soaking you can perform the manicure. If the no-show continues to be a nuisance, stop booking this person all together and politely explain why. Review the policies and how she continually disregards them. Explain that your business is based on kept appointments and that when she or he books and does not show up you lose potential revenue from a timeslot you could have given to someone else. You could offer her a walk-in appointment. This is a win-win solution. The win for you is that the appointment space was vacant or non-billable, so if the no-show becomes a walk in, it is a bonus. If she does not show up, then you get a good laugh for the day. This person obviously needs some serious time management training—their entire life is probably out of control. This person is most likely perpetually late for work and misses important appointments like the doctor and dentist. They are usually late for church and often stand up friends and family. That is their problem not yours. We cannot “fix” them. We are not Social Workers, Counselors or Psychiatrists. What am I trying to express? Do not internalize this client’s irrational behavior as a front against you. Stop taking it personal. They cannot help it at this time in their lives. You are not obligated to serve this person. Let me also say that by not taking their appointment you are not enabling them to continue this unhealthy behavior with you. Therefore, you keep your order, your sanity and your income.