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In this Post: Learn how to reduce no-shows in your massage business by mastering these tips and you will be so pleased with how respectful of your time your clients are!
One of the most annoying things in the massage business is when client’s no-show! We have prepared ourselves mentally, physically, and energetically to give an awesome massage treatment, and then our client fails to show.
Your client may think, no big deal, I’ll reschedule for next week. But the truth is, that’s an appointment that could have been booked by someone else. That is time you could have been doing something else! And lost revenue.
Or is it?
Personally, I don’t think so! I think if you establish firm boundaries from the get-go, not only can you be compensated for your time, you prevent no-shows from becoming a regular occurrence!
When I first became a massage boss, I was scared to enforce my 24-hour cancellation policy. I thought my clients would hate me or refuse to see me again. And so, I let a few clients walk all over me. I let them get away with not paying when they “forgot” about their appointment.
And you know what, they kept on doin’ it.
I thought if I showed a little grace, they would appreciate the sacrifice I made to keep them happy. But nope. That was not the case! Instead, I was teaching them that it was okay to treat me with callous disregard.
And so, I got smart! I decided to enforce that 24-hour cancellation policy I had so carefully crafted. To take credit cards at the time of booking. And charge those cards when the circumstances called for it.
There was one or two snags, where I had to reverse the charges. But, for the most part, it has been an EXTREMELY positive outcome. People realize that when they schedule an appointment with me, I EXPECT them to make it, and if they can’t, well then, they let me know!
Obviously, there are times when client’s have valid reasons for not making their appointment, but most of the time the reasons aren’t so legit. They forgot to put it in their planner, their friends came to town, or my favorite they decided to ski a little bit longer. Excuses like these can really grate on morale!
Not only were we ready to go, but often times we have turned down other work in order to be available for their appointment. How rude of them not to value our time!
So how can we mitigate the occurrence of no-shows?
My business spent much of the last two years taking measures to try to minimize these occurrences. We made much headway in reducing their appearances with the following methods.
How to Reduce No-Shows In Your Massage Business
- We started making it a point to explain to each and every client that we have a 24-hour cancellation policy. That we appreciate their cooperation and understanding of this policy.
- We updated all of our printed and online material to reflect our strict 24-hour cancellation policy.
- We started collecting credit cards information to reserve appointments. Letting clients know that if they failed to give 24 hours, they would be charged. (We store this information on a secure site that doesn’t allow for outside parties to view the credit card information, most online bookers have this capability.)
- We started sending text reminders to our clients about their appointments. Our online booking software allowed us to automate this process, which is great because it saves us heaps of time! You could easily do this manually if your software doesn’t have this capability or if you don’t use an online booking system. So often it isn’t because our clients are consciously trying to stand us up. Instead, it’s that they forgot when they booked their appointment.
- Any time we are traveling to our clients for mobile massage, we now take payment at the time of booking. Not only does this eliminate one step in the mobile massage process, it also ensures that we get paid regardless of whether they change their mind.
In spite of all of these precautions no-shows still DO occur.
But, at least if you have taken these measures to mitigate their occurrence, you can feel good knowing you did all you could to protect your income and energetic field. Some reasons no-shows still may occur:
- You took credit card information, but the credit card was bad or has insufficient funds.
- You were in a hurry when booking the appointment and failed to notify the client of your 24-hour cancellation policy, or failed to collect credit card information.
- Your client is sick, has a family emergency, or has some other legitimate reason for missing their appointment.
- You have let a client get away with not giving 24-hours notice and they know that you are not serious about your policy. (If this describes you, I would recommend letting all of your clients know that you have allowed this policy to slide in the past, but that this will no longer be the case. Then get serious about not letting your clients get away with such behavior.)
- It was an insurance client who no-showed, and it would be illegal to bill for a service not performed.
No-Shows Can Mean Bonus Time
My life is nuts these days! Between running a business, raising my kiddo, giving massage, and all the other things that dominate my life, I am always short on time!
So when I do have a no-show, I try not to get too bummed out, and try to utilize this time to the best of my abilities!
I switch gears quickly and get busy catching up on emails, payroll, laundry, and taxes. On my desk I always have a to-do list going, so when someone fails to show I take a look at my list and decide where I want to focus my efforts, as opposed to the much easier option of shooting the breeze with my staff.
There is always room for growth in improving our systems. While I feel like we have done a really good job over the past couple of years of reducing our no-shows, I am still brainstorming solutions to this pesky problem.
COVID No-Show Considerations
Now, as a side note, COVID has changed things a bit for me. If someone is sick or a family member is sick, I DON’T want them in my office. Nope, sickies are allowed to cancel within my 24-hour window. But for everyone else, thems the rules!
Stop letting no-shows get you down, get in touch with your kahunas, and lay down the law! And if that doesn’t work, it might be time to think about “firing” your problem clients.
I hope this helps you reduce no-shows in your massage business! Please share if you have any other useful tips, I’d love to hear!
- Boulder College of Massage Therapy Graduate
- Nationally Certified through NCBTMB
- Colorado Licensed Massage Therapist
- Certified CranialSacral Level 1 through Upledger
- Certified Herbal Therapist through Nutrition Therapy Institute
- Certified Fujian Massage through Barefoot Masters
- Fort Lewis College - Majored in Art, Minored in Business Administration
- 6 Year Winner of Best Massage Therapist for "Best of The Boat" Competition
- Massage Business Owner Since 2008
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