Patient no-shows: What do you need to know?
Patient no-shows refer to patients who fail to make their appointments without prior cancellation, and as you probably know, they’re a huge inconvenience to your business. They’re intensely frustrating to deal with and can be quite costly to your practice. No-shows cost the healthcare industry approximately $150 billion annually, and for those with chronic pain issues, missing massage appointments can cause worsening effects that require more expensive treatment later on. As a result, it’s important that you take the time to understand how to reduce no-show numbers and ensure that clients are getting through your doors. At the same time, it’s also vital that you maintain a good level of understanding because as annoying as they can be, there are a multitude of reasons why clients may not have been able to make their appointment. There may have been complications at home preventing their attendance, financial troubles, or anxious fears. So while no-shows are irritating, with a little bit of empathy and data tracking, you can evaluate the root cause and aim to alleviate client stresses.
Importance of tracking your patient no-show rate for your massage practice
To reduce the number of no-shows within your massage therapy practice, it’s important that you have the software in place to track no-show rates. Once you have the numbers and data, you can easily establish a baseline and have quantified results to support your business decisions. No-show rates represent lost revenue, and tracking this data can help you oversee your massage therapy business expenses, and allow you to gain control over your finances. You can easily offset the lost profit from no-shows, and identify areas where you can improve to prevent further no-show numbers. For example, you can use the information and data to invest in more staff, upgrade technology, purchase new resources, as well as other benefits. You can maximize your finances, and ensure nothing goes to waste!
Why do clients fail to show up for their scheduled massage therapy appointments?
To better understand no-shows, it’s important that you understand various reasons why clients may fail to show up to their massage appointments with you. To start, clients may not have the means to actually get to your appointment. Many clients rely on public transportation, and it’s not uncommon for there to be delays and closed routes, which can cause significant complications. Conversely, their ride may have bailed last minute, which makes traveling to your clinic very difficult. Some clients may also dismiss the weight of showing up and may not realize the strain it can put on your practice. Clients may think it’s not a big deal, so don’t make the effort to go out of their way to cancel and let you know in ample time. As a result, you may want to emphasize the importance of turning up and how it affects your services, so clients are aware of the trouble they cause. Sometimes clients also don’t have sufficient funds to be able to attend your appointments, which can be particularly distressing. Making sure they’re on the same page with payment options and insurance plans is a great way to ally with clients, and provide them with some comfort when it comes to their finances. This also goes for clients who may be anxious or have certain fears about massage therapy; especially if it’s their first time. Another reason why clients may fail to show is that they simply forgot! We all can forget information from time to time, and so sometimes we should give the benefit of the doubt to increase referrals. Disadvantaged populations, such as those with language and age barriers should also be catered for within your services.
Ways to reduce no shows from your massage clients
There are various ways to reduce no-shows from your massage clients and help you save on money and time. Incorporating the following can significantly minimize client cancellations, and increase customer retention within your massage therapy practice. Additionally, these tips and tricks will help elevate your marketing techniques, and attract new clients whilst promoting loyalty.
Have a clear cancellation policy
Make sure that your cancellation policy is concise and easy to read. This can clear up and prevent any miscommunication, and ensure that your clients can process cancellations appropriately and on time to save you the hassle! Long policies can be confusing, and can actually result in client losses, which is a huge no-no.
Take a deposit at the time of the appointment
Although it can seem a bit daunting, a deposit allows you to reduce the risk of no-shows in holding clients accountable for the time owed and can highlight the weight of your expertise. In having a qualified massage therapy business, you need to take ownership of the value of your care and be confident in your abilities. Clearly state to your clients that a deposit is required so their time slot cannot be filled by another client.
Use an online booking system
Online booking systems can significantly simplify your processes, and ensure that you see as many clients as resources allow. It also frees up time for you to spend and add business value elsewhere, and provides the option for automated reminders and confirmation for clients. It’s an effective way to reduce no-shows and is number one for convenience.
Follow up with missed appointments
It’s always good to automatically follow up on missed appointments with a short and sweet message to let clients know they forgot. Sometimes this can encourage clients to contact you to rebook as soon as possible and can increase the number of rescheduled appointments. With software systems, you don’t need to even put in any effort for this to happen, as automated reminders take care of it for you.
Discounts are a great way to encourage clients to show up, as it provides them with an incentive to attend and receive services for a cheap price. You’re far more likely to reduce no-shows, and in some cases, clients are likely to refer you to friends, which always works well in cementing a positive reputation!
Reach out to clients who fail to show up and offer them options to reschedule with you. Sometimes complications at home can prevent clients from showing when they still want to receive your care and benefit from the quality of services.
Send follow-up appointment reminder messages
As briefly touched on, it’s important that you use reminders for massage clients, as it boosts your chances of clients returning to your clinic. Regardless of whether they show or not, you should always touch base and check in on where they are at, which has the additional advantage of establishing professional relationships!
Enforce your cancellation policy
Although it can sometimes be tempting to make exceptions in certain circumstances, it’s important you treat clients with the same level of care, which means being transparent in your cancellation policy. Make sure it’s easily accessible, and that clients can reach you with any questions or concerns.
Appreciate clients who show up
Don’t forget to always show your appreciation to the clients who do show up time after time. It’s a great personal touch that can strengthen relationships, and also provides positive interactions that are likely to increase your chances of them coming back.
No-shows can be terribly inconvenient, and they’re always a pain to deal with. Hopefully, with our help, you have a greater understanding of why they can occur and are acquainted with various different strategies that can help combat high numbers. It can be an easy mistake of forgetting, or clients may be dealing with their own financial or anxiety stresses that can make attending appointments difficult. Either way, hopefully you can begin incorporating some of our tips and tricks to ensure that you’re prioritizing patient health and concerns, whilst building professional relationships and providing clients with the utmost care.