No-shows and last minute cancellations are the bane of a service sector which does most of its business through appointments scheduled in advance. The recent article in the Toronto Star prompted me to write this.
The Star article focussed on one small restaurant in The Junction area of Toronto, with fewer than 60 seats.
“The kitchen was preparing a ‘country breakfast’ that day, Nov. 19, featuring a house-smoked bacon, homemade quince jam and pork terrine. A cancellation the night before was nothing the staff couldn’t manage. But then the calls started coming in faster, some guests cancelling as little as 10 minutes ahead. By the end of the day, it would be the restaurant’s worst Saturday since opening in June 2012. All told, owner Darcy MacDonell faced 97 cancellations and no-shows in those 24 hours. He cut two servers and estimates a 15-per-cent loss in revenue, about $2,000.” (my emphasis)
I would never claim that spas/salons suffer the problem on the same scale as the restaurant industry. Nevertheless, it is an issue. As Coco explains in its recently adopted policy on cancellations/no-shows:
Late cancellations and “no-shows” leave our estheticians with empty appointment times. Also, we may have had to turn away other guests that could have enjoyed that appointment time. Due to this, guests that do not honour their appointments or cancel less than 24 hours in advance will be charged fees.
When booking a service at Coco Beauty Bar that is over $50.00 in value, we require a credit card number or pre-payment at the time of booking to hold your reservation.
In order to provide all our clients with the highest quality of service, we ask that you provide a minimum 24 hours notice if you are unable to keep an individual appointment, and 48 hours for group (4+) bookings . Failure to do so will result in a 50% late cancellation charge applied to your credit card. “No shows” will be charged full value of the treatment that was booked. Scheduling an appointment with us is your acceptance of this policy.
We understand that situations may arise where you can’t make it on time and we will try our best to accommodate clients who arrive late for their appointments. However, if we cannot extend your time with us due to other bookings, your service may be altered in order to accommodate our other bookings. We reserve the right to charge 100% of the treatment price when accommodating late clients.
It’s a fine balancing act from the business point of view between wanting to safeguard the bottom line and not driving some people away. Do you get respect from clients (i.e. a recognition that you’re a serious business) from this policy or do you put off customers, both regulars and possibles, who are not used to it?