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How to Deal with Increased No-Show Rates After COVID-19

Businesses all over the world take appointments for various reasons. Some book meetings with clients, while others take bookings for haircuts, health check-ups, and more.

The need for booking appointments increased substantially since the pandemic, as scheduled retail shop visits, pre-booked gym sessions and classes, and well-organized hospital appointments are now crucial. They can mean the difference between a controlled number of people being together and new coronavirus outbreaks.

Booking appointments is easy; We’re just one click away from selecting the perfect time-slot that suits our schedule. What’s difficult is to remember the appointments that we’ve booked.

Customers often miss their appointments and there are many reasons why no-shows happen.

It may not seem like a big deal to customers as they have no insights into the harm appointment no-shows cause, but an increase in missed appointments can push a business to bankruptcy – especially after months of hibernation. So much so that hospitality professionals have launched the #NoMoreNoShows campaign to address this issue.

At 10to8, we work with service-based businesses in education, healthcare, fitness, retail, and many more. To do our part for the #NoMoreNoShows campaign, we surveyed the businesses that we work with in order to unearth the real impact of appointment no-shows. We also created a vast no-show resource library to help businesses educate customers about the effect that no-shows have on their business.



COVID-19 lead to an increase in appointment no-shows

A lot of businesses reopened recently after a dry run of the last few months. During the lockdown, some were able to take their businesses online with virtual appointments, but many businesses had to shut completely.

What has changed with the lockdowns easing in many countries? Our customers shared with us how the last couple of months have been going for them…

“I would usually have around 27 bookings (a week) before COVID-19, and then I had around 3 a week for around 3 weeks which was very scary, and slowly it has now returned to around 20-21 a week. I was taking on bookings for around 50% of my usual rate as some work was better than none, it was tough to keep going.” – Rabina, a therapist told us.

Dreams Hair Salon has seen a similar effect; their booking volume decreased by about 60-80% due to the global pandemic

Not only are service-based businesses getting fewer bookings than before, but the majority of them have also noticed an increase in no-shows. 62% of the businesses said that since COVID-19, the no-show rate has significantly gone up.


increase in no-shows after COVID

How can businesses reduce appointment no-shows?

Businesses already have their work cut out, the last thing they need during these difficult times is to have customers forget about their appointments – or find them redundant to cancel. Thus, they have put various actions in place to reduce no-shows.


Actions that businesses undertook to reduce no-shows

70% set up reminders

Sending out reminders is one of the most underrated yet important things businesses can do to reduce no-shows. We take pride in 10to8’s communication and reminder features as they are proven to reduce no-shows by up to 90%.

Despite the positive impact of reminders, only 70% of the surveyed business owners have set them up. Here you go, a bottleneck; without reminders, customers are more likely to forget their bookings.

Despite the positive impact of reminders, only 70% of the surveyed business owners have set them up. Click To Tweet


30% communicates the cost of no-shows

One of the main goals of the #NoMoreNoShows campaign are to raise awareness and educate customers about how severely no-shows hurt businesses. To do this, businesses could try to communicate how much they lose when a customer does not arrive for the appointment.

30% of the surveyed say that they are publicly sharing how much no-shows cost them.


20% takes deposits at the point of booking

Taking deposits is a common way of trying to reduce the number of missed appointments and wasted resources. Nobody likes to pay for something that they did not get to make use of.

Based on her experience, Jo Peirson of Intuitive Health & Wellness Warrior mentioned that charging the clients upfront helped them to avoid no-shows.

Lee Andrews from Male Grooming has implemented a policy on their 10to8 page through which the customers have to pay upfront while booking.

However, such actions can result in a lower volume of bookings in the first place. Maybe this is why only 20% of the participants are taking deposits.


40% has adjusted their change and cancellation policy

It is important to inform the customer at the time of booking that it is perfectly okay to cancel an appointment as long as it happens in a timely fashion. A timely cancellation is better than a no-show as it makes room for other customers who are in need to book the slot.

Having a clear cancellation policy that outlines the notice period and charges for cancellations, if any, can go a long way to make sure that clients take the appointments seriously.

40% of the business owners who filled out our questionnaire had started charging a cancellation fee and 20% are now implementing a longer cancellation notice

“If you are unable to attend, please do let me know as soon as possible with a minimum of 48 hours so that the appointment could be offered to someone in need” – this is Rabina’s personal message to her customers. It’s okay to cancel, just please do it on time.

40% of the business owners who filled out our questionnaire had started charging a cancellation fee. Click To Tweet



How 10to8 helps service-based businesses reduce no-shows


how 10to8 helps


10to8’s mission is to rid the world of wasted time. Not only do we have an automated email and SMS reminder system to reduce no-shows, but our users also get a 10to8 online booking page where they can share their cancellation policy and staff availability.

Integrations with over 1500 applications ensure that businesses can take online deposits at the point of booking, take care of invoicing, and with 10to8 you can even spot a no-show in advance.

“Before 10to8, no-shows cost me around £200+ a month. Whereas now they cost me around £40 a month. I am a small business so the £200+ was really hurting my business and wasting my time when I had turned away appointments.” – Rabina mentioned.

To help you educate customers and reduce your no-show rate, we have created a plethora of resources that you can use. Find our #NoMoreNoShows resource library here.


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Karan is a Digital Marketing Intern at 10to8. He is passionate about the music and tech industry, and keen to learn more about business in general.

As a current MBA student, Karan aims to broaden his knowledge and move into a managerial role.

Karanpreet Ajmani

Digital Marketing Intern, 10to8 Appointment Scheduling Software

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