This blog post is part 3 of 3 in this Stop The Leaks! series for practitioners who have clients who either are: “No Shows” “Same Day Cancellations” or clients who call right before their appointment and say, “Hey, I’m Running Late”.
So, Today’s post is on:
What to do When A Client Cancels The Same Day? (“Same day” is usually within 24 hours of their appointment time, however some practices will honor a cancellation any time during the day prior.)
When you are looking over your appointment book and happily see everything booked up, it’s a great feeling!
But what happens when your client calls you the same day as their scheduled session, telling you they won’t be able to make it?
Poof- there goes $50, $60, $100, or more gone in an instant from your income that day.
You might feel it’s no big deal, but it really is, because lost appointments can leak huge amounts of money away from your income.
There are 3 successful strategies to handle these clients:
Recognize the client might think that because they move their appointment to another day, they are not actually cancelling on you. But, in reality, they are! They are causing you to lose out on the total revenue you would have generated for that day, unless you can fill it at the last moment.
(Once the plane has flown, you can’t sell the seats.)
Strategy #1: Politely ask them if there is any way they can switch what-ever it is that they say is getting in the way of them keeping their appointment. (Sometimes when we say this, they stop and think for a moment and realize that they, in fact, can move the other thing instead!)
Script: “Mary, I know how important it is for you to continue on your therapy plan with me, and since we’re within my 24 hour re-schedule window, I am holding the time for you. Do you think it’s possible to change the other activity so you can keep your appointment with me?”
If they say no, go on to
Strategy #2: If your schedule allows, politely ask them if there is any way they can come later in the day. (This allows you to generate the income you planned to bring in that day.) Let them know you are making an exception and not charging them for the cancelled earlier appointment.
Script: “Mary, I do have a window of time later this afternoon that I can squeeze you in to… could you make a later appointment with me?”
If they say no, go on to
Strategy #3: As a last resort, before charging them for the cancellation, see if there is anyone else they know who they can send in their place.
The beauty of this last strategy is that it results in you getting a new client, and an extra appointment, because the original client who is cancelling is hopefully going to see you within the next few days, so you have just DOUBLED your income for that lost session.
Script: “Mary, since I really do not want to charge you for a session you can’t make, … as a last resort, do you have a friend, coworker or family member who you could send in your place to take your appointment? That way, either you could pay for their session or they can, but at least someone will be able to enjoy the time that you held with me”
This third Diamond Strategy has generated hundreds of thousands of dollars for my coaching clients who are brave enough to ask it!
One Important Diamond Tip:
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again here. You MUST have your policies established in advance AND your clients MUST know what your policies are BEFORE you can enforce them. (It’s not fair to charge them for something they didn’t know about.)
Now it’s your turn. Please let me know 2 things in the comments below:
#1-Have you ever asked a client who couldn’t make it to send someone else as their replacement?
#2- Do YOU have anything else to share on great ways you’ve found to handle these situations?
Can’t wait to read your comment below!
Business mentor, Educator and Inspirer to Clinic Owners & Solo Practitioners. Love to hear from you ~ Please share your thoughts in the comments below!
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