6 Ways Appointment No-Shows Hurt Service-Based Businesses – and What to Do About It
If you’re a service-based business owner, you are more than likely familiar with the infamous appointment no-shows.
You know them well. The customers that schedule an appointment and fail to show up from time to time again. Across industries, the average no-show rate typically ranges from 10-15%. In healthcare, you can see even higher numbers: in North America, the average patient no-show rate is 27%. Can you imagine more than one-fourth of your customers not turning up?
While at plain sight no-shows can seem like a trivial business issue to deal with, it is eye-opening to learn the far-reaching impact of missed appointments on service-based businesses.
So what is the no-show rate in your business at the moment?
Simply overlooking no-shows is not the best business strategy; it can negatively impact your business, big or small, in more ways than one would imagine at first glance.
Before we can start applying smooth solutions that will make for more productive business and happier customers, let’s look at why people miss appointments, exactly how they hurt your business and why you urgently need to reduce your no-show rate.
1. Appointment no-shows rob you of effective time allocation
One of the biggest problems with no-shows is the fact that they are an absolute opportunity vacuum and deprive you of the valuable chance to interact with your customers. The time spent waiting on a customer that never shows up is a precious asset for your business that is better spent on a customer that does turn up.
As a business, it costs you five times more to gain new customers than to retain existing ones, and still, 44% of companies tend to focus more on acquiring new clients than on perfecting their customer retention journey.
What exactly does this mean for you? It means a good amount of time is best spent on keeping your existing customer’s attention and time to ultimately maximize your overall revenue.
2. Missed Appointments cause loss of productivity
An empty business with customers failing to show up is not the most productive setup, especially when there are fixed expenses that you’ll have to cover regardless of how your business performs.
On top of that, your employees can’t take care of your no-show customers, but you still have to pay them for their time. Operating at a loss doesn’t have to be the everyday reality for your business; you could implement an appointment scheduling program that optimizes your calendar and spots no-shows before they happen.
3. Appointment no-shows result in loss of customer engagement
One of the greatest ways for your business to grow is the ability to take in feedback, analyze, and rework your strategy.
How can you do that when a valuable percentage of your customer base fails to attend their appointments in the first place? Such occasions only tell you one thing: no-shows are hurting your business. But you already know this, don’t you?
You are losing the lucrative and important opportunity to meaningfully build the relationship between business and consumer. When attention is short-lived and your competition is just around the corner, the pressure on businesses to build solid customer relationships has never been greater.
Reducing the number of missed appointments by implementing a system as powerful as 10to8 Appointment Scheduling Software can mean the gainful practice of engaging with more customers for longer. 10to8 customers have seen a 90% drop in appointment no-shows; that’s a whole lot of relationship building!
4. Missed appointments are unnecessary loss of revenue
It almost goes without saying, yet it’s still a very important point to make, especially when a business’ measure of success is ultimately their bottom line.
According to our research, appointment no-shows can go as far as $26,000 in losses for small businesses with a $120,000+ yearly revenue. That’s over 21% of the revenue that could easily be retained.
As you can guess, that number is more likely to go up in proportion to revenue, unless you do something about it right now.
Appointment no-shows can go as far as $26,000 in losses for small businesses with a $120,000+ yearly revenue. That’s over 21% of the revenue that could easily be retained. Click To Tweet
5. Appointment no-shows hurt the rest of your customer base
Everything in your business, especially when it comes to scheduling, is interconnected. This means failure in one area can mean direct failure in another.
This is particularly true for no-shows. Picture this: you have two to three (maybe more) no-shows a day. What exactly happens then?
You have to constantly work around those no-shows to cater to the customers that do show up and ensure that they get the best treatment and service possible.
But because of no-shows…
- Will you wait just ten more minutes for your customer to turn up and waste your time?
- Will your previously scheduled customer come in late and throw off the whole schedule for the rest of the day?
- Do you or your staff know what to say to late clients?
- Will your waiting customers demand more effective treatment of their time and become upset with your services?
- When a customer misses the appointment was there another customer put on the waiting list who would have turned up? Will this customer go to a competitor?
- Will you look unprofessional?
These and other questions are important to consider when you aim for absolute customer satisfaction, the best customer service experience you could possibly offer, and maintaining an overall positive brand outlook.
Without a scheduling system, while you or your staff try to navigate through all these overbearing issues with each no-show, your customers are inconvenienced. 33% of Americans say they would consider switching to another company after only one single bad experience.
This can come as a heavy blow to small businesses and start-ups when customer retention and satisfaction are especially vital for survival and growth.
Eliminating widespread inconvenience and ineffective time-wasting can be as simple as sending a text reminder, the widely preferred method of appointment reminders, to serve your customers better than the rest of your competitors.
6. Missed appointments slow down your overall business growth
Growth is the ever-present goal on every business’s agenda. It’s always a strategic component of business success and outreach.
Business growth is clearly not helped by lost time, lost revenue, and lost customer engagement.
A study published by the BMC Health Services Resource tracked and documented the negative effects of no-shows in the health industry over ten organizations and arrived at eye-opening results when they found the average no-show expense for a single customer was $196, which quickly adds up to millions of dollars in losses over time.
That’s easily salvaged money that can be used for strategic growth and new customer acquisition with an effective system that applies automation and supportive features to your advantage.
10to8 Makes Appointments Happen.
To minimize no-shows and maximize customer engagement, online appointment booking is one of the smartest moves you can make for your service-based business.
10to8 gives you the ability to send your customer not only email but SMS reminders to make sure their scheduled appointment is always fresh in their mental to-do list and decreases inconvenient last-minute cancellations.
When you try to reach a customer the first time, and they fail to read the message, it’s always a good idea to persist in case they were busy, unable to answer at the time, or distracted, and 10to8 can do all of this.
You are able to reach out to them manually, in a caring and personal manner, and make sure they make it to their appointments on time. Or they can reschedule promptly so as to not throw off other appointments by last-minute changes.
In short, 10to8 can help propel you forward and put you a step ahead in your business growth goals by minimizing losses crucial for a thriving business. It empowers you to leverage your growth, grow your customer base, and increase your customer lifetime value.
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Richard is the Managing Director and Co-founder of 10to8, responsible for day to day running of the company. He has been with 10to8 since he completed a Ph.D. at Oxford.
Richard previously worked in the City, and at several technology companies and startups.
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