Your customers lead busy lives. It is very common for the details of a reservation to slip their minds, between the time an appointment is scheduled and the actual date of the service. This happens to the best of us. With so much on the go, your customers will sometimes forget necessary details or even the appointment itself. Missed appointments occur for a variety of reasons, so it’s important that your policy addresses this. If you’re having issues with no-shows and aren’t exactly sure why they keep happening or how to reduce them, try out some of the following tips as a starting point.
AUTOMATE CONFIRMATIONS AND REMINDERS
Automation is a timesaver! Use automated emails and text messages (SMS) to prevent customers from missing their appointments. The confirmation provides them with all the necessary details of their booking and should also include instructions on how to reschedule or cancel if needed. The reminder then gives them a heads up a few days before their appointment and, similarly to the confirmation, should give your customers a chance to reschedule or cancel if they can no longer make the designated date or time. Instead of losing revenue, you now have a chance to fill this slot!
While confirmation and reminder emails are a great way to provide detailed information, SMS confirmations and reminders should be short and sweet. SMS is a great option to get in front of your customers to grab their immediate attention. Keep the text to the point with only essential information as well as a link to where they can access more details or reschedule their appointment.
REQUIRE DEPOSITS OR PREPAID PAYMENTS
Another easy way to reduce no-shows is by requiring a deposit or even full payment at the time of booking. Your customer is committing to your business, so leaving a deposit or paying in full can be a way of ensuring they arrive for their appointment, especially if they want to save their spot during peak season. Paired with the ability to reschedule or cancel a certain amount of days before the actual reservation, this can be one of the best decisions you make for your pet business.
A kennel management software that integrations with online credit card processors can help you efficiently manage payments and deposits. Store your customers’ credit cards securely online and charge them directly from your software. If your kennel management software includes an online booking portal for your customers, they can add their credit card information at their convenience during the booking process. This eliminates the need to call or spend unnecessary time at your facility figuring out those details.
REVIEW YOUR NO-SHOW POLICY AND FEE
It is essential to review your No-Show or Missed Appointment policy with your customers when they are booking an appointment either in person or online. Make your policy accessible to your customers in print and digital copy so that both you and your customers can refer back to or review it if needed.
Your no-show policy should appear in your Terms and Services Agreement or any other agreements and waivers that your customers may sign. Lay it out clearly and in simple terms, so that it is easy for your customers to read and understand. Consult your lawyer to make sure your policy is written correctly. Be sure to also outline any charges that may apply under these conditions so that there are no surprises for your customers upon check-out.
Bring the policy to their attention when they are reserving a spot at your facility, by highlighting it in their copy of your Terms and Service agreement. If it isn’t already in your Terms and Services agreement, consider adding it to the contract so that your customers have all the necessary information in one document. Otherwise, you can create a separate agreement and provide your customer with a copy. Additionally, if your customers are booking online or by email, attach a copy to the email with a quick explanation.
INVEST IN AN ONLINE BOOKING SYSTEM
An online booking system incorporates many vital aspects of managing a pet business, including managing no-shows. Investing in a kennel management software that can automate many different administrative tasks and offers online booking is the best option when searching for a tool that can help you manage your day-to-day operations. Find a pet business management software that allows for your customers to not only book online, but create an online account. With this feature, your customers will be able to log in at their convenience to book, update their account and pet profile(s), as well as reschedule or cancel their appointments if needed. A robust customer portal will provide your customers with the freedom to do things on their terms, which benefits both you and your customers. You won’t be bombarded with calls and emails, letting you get back to doing what you love; caring for your furry guests.
With ProPet, you can allow your customers to edit to their current reservations. Customize the settings to let your customers revise either unprocessed bookings (not yet approved by you or your staff) or only previously booked and pending reservations. You can also restrict your customers from changing specific details, or give them the freedom to change any information, including the dates and times, booking instructions, rates, and additional services. Easily select which changes require approval by you or your staff and for which you like to receive notifications and emails.
HAVE A PRESENCE IN YOUR CUSTOMERS’ LIVES
Whether it’s a passive physical presence or an engaging online presence, it is always a good idea to be a part of your customers’ lives in some way. For a passive approach, consider giving out magnets with your business details and logo, so that each time your customers walk by their fridge or wherever they place the magnet they think of your business. The physical presence in their lives is subtle and not intrusive, but your pet business will remain in the back of their minds.
For a more engaging presence, there are a couple of different things you can try. First, consider creating a monthly newsletter for your customers. You can include relevant information about your pet business, along with promotions or special offers for the coming month, as well as any local events in which your clients might be interested. Secondly, become active on your social media accounts. Be sure to post regularly on Facebook and Instagram to get in front of your audience and comment on their posts to provide a genuine connection rather than an automated one.
If you’re interested to see how ProPet can help you reduce no-shows and lost revenue, click the button below to get started!