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Missed appointments are one of the biggest challenges facing salon owners today. In the beauty industry, time is money, and regardless of the reason for the no-show, the truth is that a salon’s revenue and profitability can be significantly affected by missed appointments and last-minute cancellations. Quite simply, a missed appointment is a missed opportunity.

So what can you do to minimize no shows?

Make cancellations convenient.

Consider your target audience. Are you trying to attract a younger audience from the millennial generation? Many millennials may not qualify as “digital natives,” but they’re certainly young enough to have successfully made the shift over to digital processes. Talking on the phone isn’t for them.

This generation is more likely to cancel an appointment in advance and provide you with enough notice to refill the slot if they have alternative methods for doing so which don’t involve direct human contact. Providing your clients with an online appointment booking platform can help. There are some great online booking platforms that are very cost-effective to use.

Send appointment reminders.

When no-shows are costing your business money, it’s natural to want to point fingers and direct the blame onto your clients. But it’s important to remember that, in many cases, the reason for missed appointments is simply that a client has simply forgotten. Life is hectic, and things can and do get in the way. So, to reduce the costs of no-shows, try optimizing some of your own internal processes like sending email reminders, text messages or calling to confirm the appointment the day before.

Generate and circulate a cancellation policy.

Cancellation policies are a tricky topic. Some salons are for them, some are against them. Some clients are for them, some are against them. But in terms of minimizing the cost of no-shows, having a solid policy in place can help you to recover some of these lost earnings. If you don’t already have a cancellation policy, now is the time to create one, and circulate it to all staff and customers.

There’s really no right or wrong when it comes to generating a cancellation policy. It’s important to do what feels right to you. Some salons choose to claim back 100% of the cost of a missed appointment. Others will strive to claim back 50% or less. One of the best ways is to request a deposit from your clients. This will financially protect you and provide customers with an incentive to attend their booking.