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Three Effective Ways to Reduce No-Shows

Running a business isn’t easy, but the last thing you want to worry about is your clients or customers showing up for appointments! Luckily, there are three effective ways to reduce no-shows that can be implemented right now. The first way is to schedule more appointments in the near term. Next is to set up an effective set of reminders. The final method is to fire repeat offenders who consistently miss or are late to appointments.

1. Set Up a Robust Reminder System

One of the easiest ways to immediately reduce no-shows is to set up an effective reminder system. This typically involves automated SMS and email reminders requiring a confirmation response, along with phone calls for those who haven’t confirmed with the automated reminders.

Sending only automated SMS reminders can decrease a person’s chance of no-showing by 25%. Sending multiple reminders decreases the changes even more. Using phone call reminders also can significantly reduce your no-shows. Using staff phone calls reduces a person’s chances of missing an appointment by almost 50%. By combining these two techniques, you can dramatically reduce your no-show rate, and best of all, this can be implemented right away!

2. Schedule Appointments in the Near Term

A simple way to start reducing your no-shows is to schedule more appointments in the near term. For example, a study shows that appointments booked more than two weeks in advance have a no-show rate of 29.1% compared to 5.8% for appointments booked less than two weeks in advance. Another study shows similar results where appointments scheduled less than seven days in advance had a no-show rate of 10.8% compared to 22.1% for over 57 days in advance.

These show that whenever possible, scheduling appointments in the near term can drastically reduce no-shows.

3. Deal With Repeat Offenders

A high-impact way to reduce no-shows is to identify the customers who are causing the majority of the no-shows. When you do that, you can use the 80-20 rule to deal with them to reduce significantly the number of no-shows you get. Of course, it is always preferable to make it work with a customer, but sometimes it just isn’t possible.

Here are a few useful approaches to try and reduce the chances of these repeat no-showers from doing it again:

  1. Send them extra SMS and phone call reminders
  2. Require a deposit upfront
  3. Schedule their next appointment in the near term

These three approaches should work for most people who regularly miss appointments, but it is probably time to fire them as customers for those who don’t.

Depending on the type of business you’re in, some or all of these approaches can work relatively quickly to reduce your no-shows. If you need help implementing any of this, please reach out to me, and I’m happy to discuss ways I can help!

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