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17 January 2023

Helpful Ways To Reduce & Manage No-Shows & Last-Minute Cancellations

Waiting room

No-shows and late cancellations have been a hot topic lately and it’s no surprise why: they pose a real challenge for a lot of businesses.

With some of the most common reasons for no-shows being the appointment cost, lengthy wait times, lack of transportation, and forgetfulness – we know it can feel like things are out of your control.

While you can’t prevent every no-show, there are a few different strategies you can implement in your practice to drastically reduce or nearly eliminate your number of no-shows.

But don’t just take my word for it. 😉 Members of our Jane Community (health and wellness practitioners just like you) have generously shared their tried and true tips to not only combat no-shows but also to effectively manage them when they do happen. Let’s jump in!

Top tips to prevent and manage no-shows ⤵️

1. Create a payment policy that values your time

Mental health practitioners swear by an Online Booking Payment Policy as a simple but effective way of getting their clients to commit to their appointment and secure any revenue that would have been otherwise lost.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for creating an effective payment policy, here are a few popular options that you can consider:

  1. Add a client’s credit card on file with Jane Payments.
  2. Request a partial deposit at the time of booking.
  3. Request a full deposit at the time of booking.

If you feel guilty charging your clients for no-showing, you’re not alone. We hear this a lot from our empathetic mental health community, especially if it’s due to an illness or other unforeseeable reasons.

Our advice is to set up a payment policy that honours your time and loss in revenue. If the need ever arises, you can always use your discretion, choosing to implement it on a case-by-case basis. For example, some practitioners will waive the first no-show or late cancellation fee, instead, using it as an opportunity to remind their clients about their policies.

Depending on the reason for their late cancellation, you could also consider offering a Telehealth appointment or rescheduling for later in the week.

2. Communicate your Cancellation Policy early on

No-show prevention starts the moment your client goes to book an appointment online. With a clear cancellation policy in place, your clients know when they can cancel without penalty.

One way you can ensure your clients are aware of your Cancellation Policy is through your consent form. There, you can request your clients acknowledge and consent to your policy and any fees related to cancelling.

Also, consider reiterating your cancellation policy in future appointment-related emails and texts to keep it front of mind and to save you the time of having to remind them. In the event they’re unable to make an appointment, your clients know exactly what to expect.

3. Help your clients with a gentle reminder

Text (SMS) and email reminders are undoubtedly one of the best tools in your tool kit.

There are two important elements to creating an effective reminder: the appointment details, including the date and time, and a call to action that makes it clear how to cancel or reschedule if they’re no longer able to make it.

As an added bonus, your clients will greatly appreciate receiving a gentle nudge about upcoming appointments. You can choose between text (SMS), email, manual phone calls, or a mixture of all three reminders, depending on what works best for you and your clients.

4. Save time with automated waitlist notifications

If despite your best efforts, a client is unable to make it to a scheduled appointment, it’s important to know how to manage it without adding any extra admin work (or stress!).

A quick and easy way to fill those unexpected gaps in your day is by taking advantage of your practice management software’s waitlist management features. Use automated text (SMS) or email notifications to notify eligible wait-listed clients that there’s an opening, so they can easily scoop up available times.

And remember, you won’t be the only one who benefits from having a no-show strategy in place, you’ll also be helping committed clients get the care they need.

If you’re looking to join an online community to share tips, ask questions, and support one another as you grow and manage your businesses, check out the Jane Community Group.

You can also head to jane.app to dig into some more of the features that make Jane a great choice for health and wellness practitioners.

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