No shows can have a serious impact on your bottom line, and even jeopardize the overall success of your lash business. When a client makes an appointment, you hold that time and space for them exclusively, making it impossible for other clients to book an appointment with that lash artist during the same timeframe.
So when a client doesn’t show up to their appointment or give enough notice, the spot you had available for them goes to waste. You lose the money you should have received for their lash appointment and your lash artist (whether yourself or a member of your staff) loses out on their tip. This is why a cancellation policy is super important for any lash business.
Why Do I Need a Cancellation Policy?
It encourages your clients to show up to their appointments and give enough notice when their schedule changes. You will have fewer no-shows, and a 24-48 window for cancellations gives you time to book a different client so no money is lost.
If a client doesn’t show up to their appointment and you have a clearly communicated cancellation policy and their credit card on file, you will receive a cancellation fee, helping to minimize the financial loss.
A cancellation policy shows your clients that you value your time and the time of your lash artists. This makes you seem more professional.
How Do I Enforce My New Cancellation Policy?
The most important thing is to communicate your cancellation policy as clearly as possible. Your policy should be easy to find and understand, and should be included on your website, your booking page, appointment reminders, as well as physical brochures and signage. When having new clients sign paperwork, have them initial next to your cancellation policy, and always mention it when clients schedule appointments over the phone.
In order to enforce your cancellation policy, you will need to start taking credit cards when booking all appointments. Just the act of leaving credit card info on file is enough to encourage most clients to show up to their appointments, rather than risk being charged for a service they didn’t receive.
It’s also a good idea to prepare a script to use when enforcing your cancellation policy, so that clients know exactly what they are being charged and why. If a client complains, be diplomatic but firm, and refer to all the ways you have communicated the cancellation policy to them.
Should I Make Exceptions?
Making exceptions to your cancellation policy is totally up to your discretion. If your cancellation is brand new, you may want to give your clients a chance to get used to it before you enforce it, and could try saying something like “Since our cancellation policy is new, we wanted to give you a courtesy reminder this time. If you don’t show up to your next appointment without at least 24 hours notice, we will need to charge your card for 50% of your appointment fee.”
Sometimes, a case-by-case basis may be needed for making exceptions. If a client has consistently shown up to their appointments every two weeks for a year, but calls right before an appointment to cancel due to what sounds like a genuine emergency, charging a cancellation fee may damage the relationship. Use your best judgment when applying cancellation fees, but aim to enforce the policy as consistently as possible to avoid sending mixed messages to your clients.
Creating and enforcing a cancellation policy shows that you have professional value and that your time means something. It helps encourage clients to pre-book and show up consistently to their appointments. It may feel uncomfortable for you at first, but once you see your no show appointments go way down, you will wish you’d set up a cancellation policy sooner.
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