R E A D E R E X P R E S S I O N S
We Asked: What is your policy for handling clients who miss appointments or are chronically late?
Here is what you told us…
I did, several years ago, have a client who would show up for her appointment 60-90 minutes late, or never show. After telling her repeatedly how important it was for her to be on time, I finally discontinued providing my service to her. I am a professional. I expect my clients to treat me as a professional. If they do not respect me in that manner, I have no problem with them going elsewhere for massage service. I can honestly say, at this time in my practice, I do not have any clients who are chronically late or miss appointments.
They get a shorter session and pay for the full time they were booked for. Once they realize it’s expensive to be late, they usually mend their ways.
When clients make appointments for the first time, I tell them about my 24-hour-notice [policy]. However, I still confirm their appointments a day before (some clients simply forget their appointments, and reminding them helps). I work with an M.D. who specializes in auto accidents, personal injuries and malpractice reviews. Patients make appointments on a weekly basis. When a client is a no-show without 24 hours’ notice and no legitimate reason, like a medical or family emergency, on their next visit with the M.D. they are told of the importance of keeping appointments. Regarding chronic latecomers, we simply reschedule them and explain to them that a time is allotted to one patient and if we are booked there is no way to accommodate them.
I gently remind them the first time, strongly remind them the second time. Then the time starts coming off their appointment; i.e., if they are 10 minutes late, they only get a 50-minute massage. If they are chronically, drastically late (at least 30 minutes), I drop them as clients.
Even though our "suite of serenity" gives the effect of complete relaxation, we run our business like a business. When a client visits for the first time and is interviewed, we explain our late or no-show policy. Very simply, they are allowed to miss one appointment. The second time they miss we call them and kindly instruct them that they must call for their next appointment on the day they want a massage. If space is available, we will gladly see them. Those who are chronically late are told that it is their appointment time they are cutting into – not the session of the next client. We also charge full price for those who are late; after all, the time on the table was reserved for them. We rarely have problems, because even though we are firm, we always are courteous with our policies. The clients then realize this is our career and we take it very seriously.
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