It’s 11 a.m. and you’re expecting a client any minute. You check your calendar and confirm: She’s scheduled for the next hour.

Five minutes go by. You chalk it up to traffic.

Ten minutes. She’s probably parking.

Fifteen minutes. Are you serious?

By this point, it’s pretty clear: Your client is a no-show. Frustrating, right?

No-shows and cancelled appointments can be the bane of every small business owner’s existence, and understandably so. Not only do you miss out on revenue from your no-show client, but a client cancellation—or worse, a full-blown client ghost—can throw your entire schedule off.

So, how do you reduce no-shows?

Enter: Schedulicity, an app that drastically reduces missed appointments whether that’s thanks to last-minute client cancellations or just plain forgetfulness.

Here’s how you can cut down on no-shows—and how Schedulicity makes it a snap.

1. Send Out Appointment Reminders to Reduce No-Shows

Your clients booked you for a reason, so they likely would rather keep their appointment than miss it all together.

But sometimes a stressful day at the office or with kids means things start slipping—including their appointment.

That’s why reminding your clients can make all the difference. Sending out a simple appointment reminder—either through emails or text messages—can drastically affect your bottom line. Schedulicity does this work for you, automatically reminding clients of upcoming appointments. The result? Fewer clients canceling appointments last-minute, and it also leads to reducing no-shows.

Most of the time, people just need a gentle reminder, and they’ll be right on time.

2. Make It Easy For Clients To Rebook

When a client needs to reschedule, they might balk at the idea of having to make a phone call (who isn’t afraid of the phone these days?) or deal with an email exchange. Instead, they might just abandon the appointment altogether, leaving you checking your watch.

That’s why you should make rebooking totally seamless. The less effort a client needs to take, the more you reduce no-shows.

Schedulicity’s scheduling app allows your clients to edit their appointments online instead of having to call. Now that you’ve taken away the barriers to rescheduling, you’re much more likely to have advance notice of their cancellation rather than a no-show.

How do you make sure you aren’t blindsided by a no-show?

Make rebooking easy. Schedulicity’s scheduling app allows your clients to edit their appointments directly on your calendar instead of having to call in. With Schedulicity’s rebooking feature you’re more likely to have advance notice of their cancellation rather than a no-show.

If the client is able to rebook their appointment easily online, they are less likely to become a no-show.

3. Open Client Communication Equals Fewer Client Cancellations

With service-based businesses, it’s critical that you build relationships with your clients. Your clients come to like and care about you, as you do for them.

Most clients don’t want to hurt your business or cause any frustrations for you. But sometimes, they just don’t think of the impact of a missed appointment. So what do you say to no-show clients?

We all know how important it is to communicate with our clients. Let your clients know that as a small business, every “no-show” hurts. A missed appointment is a slot that another client could have booked.

After sharing the impact missed appointments have on your business, you may notice positive changes, reduced no-shows, and more business!

In general, the more open you are about communicating openly with clients, the less likely they’ll become no-shows. Sometimes that means sending an announcement, a reminder, or simply telling them how important your schedule is to your business. Schedulicity’s in-app Email Marketing feature allows you to directly message clients and book more appointments, all in one platform.

Regardless of whether you use our app or just old-fashioned email, the more rapport you build with clients, the less likely it is they will ghost. Instead, they’ll take that 24-hour cancellation policy (or whatever you decide your cancellation policy will be) seriously—and you’ll see fewer lost hours.

Learn how to set up your cancellation policy on Schedulicity here.

4. Consider Appointment Deposits

If you notice that some clients are serial cancellers and you’re losing money-making opportunities every time they don’t show up, consider setting up a deposit system to book appointments. Small deposits helps encourage stronger commitment to an appointment as most people will follow through with their transactions. (Schedulicity offers an integrated payment processor called Schedulicity Pay for businesses. Read more here.)

Deposits, however, are different than charging a fee for a no-show. Clients are often turned off by these types of fees, and are more than likely to just skip out and find another provider. By offering deposits, the client will be more inclined to keep their appointment without making them feel guilty, since the money goes toward their service.

BONUS: How to Respond to a Client Cancellation: A Template

Sometimes even the best-laid plans don’t work out. But what do you say to a client who cancels last-minute even if you have a 24-hour cancellation policy? Here’s a handy cancellation policy template on us:

Hi [Name], 

Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know! Would you like to reschedule for a time that’s better for you? If so, I’ll send you some additional options.

Here is a link to our cancellation policy [insert a link to your policy]. As a reminder, we do need to keep the deposit of $X because it’s less than 24 hours in advance of your appointment. For future reference, you can cancel directly through your Schedulicity app before the 24-hour window to apply your deposit to a future appointment when you reschedule. Thank you for your understanding!

Regards,

[Your name]

If you receive push-back on the deposit, try this additional cancellation policy template:

Hi [Name], 

I/We understand these things happen! We use this cancellation policy to offset the lost income for that hour since we weren’t able to book another client in such a short period of time. This ensures that our bottom-line isn’t affected by unexpected no-shows or last-minute cancellations. As long as you reschedule more than 24 hours in advance, we’re happy to accommodate you!  We’d love to see you soon and appreciate your understanding.

Regards,

[Your name]

Or, try:

Hi [Name],

I/We understand these things happen! We use this policy to offset the lost income for the time we set aside for your appointment. This ensures that our bottom-line isn’t affected by unexpected no-shows or last-minute cancellations. If I can find someone to fill your booking last-minute, I’ll be happy to waive the cancellation fee and return your deposit! I’ll let you know if I can find someone! In the meantime, please let me know if you’re interested in rebooking!

Regards,

[Your name]