No one likes being taken for a fool, especially when it costs them money. A few months ago, I was contacted by a client who I hadn’t seen for a long time. Against my better judgment, I went ahead and booked him. What happened next has inspired a no-nonsense approach to clients who don’t respect my time.
So here’s the backstory:
Our first session was in April of 2016. He had purchased a package on Groupon and upgraded all three sessions. He had cancelled his last massage on the package the same day because he had gotten into a car accident. He rescheduled and finished up his package by the end of May.
He booked another massage for mid June but no-showed. Then I didn’t hear back from him until a year-and-a-half later. I was out of town when I got his email requesting an appointment. My initial instinct was to say no, but I reconsidered. He’s a young guy who is a single parent. Maybe he had been embarrassed about blowing me off so had delayed reaching out again because he didn’t know what to say. I enjoyed working with him and he had gotten good results. I prefer to give established clients the benefit of the doubt, so I gave him some options and he booked an appointment. I let him know that my prices and cancellation policy had been updated since his last visit, and asked him to review the links in his confirmation email.
I have online scheduling that automatically sends reminder emails so I don’t have to remember. The day of his appointment, he didn’t show. I verified his email address in my scheduling software and that a reminder had been sent. The phone number I had for him was no longer in service, so I sent him this email:
The phone number I have for you is not in service. Hope all is well. I wish I would have known you couldn’t make it today so I could have offered your spot to someone else. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to book you again until I receive $75 for today’s appointment. I have a PayPal account.
Here’s the reply I received:
I’m terribly sorry, my car was totaled on Friday night. The whole next day I had to deal with him in the insurance. I will definitely pay that $75 when I make my next appointment.
Sound familiar? He also included this photo with 20171122 as the first eight characters of the file name. His appointment date was 12/9/2017. Obviously, he was unaware the the default file name for photos includes the date they were taken (or thought I was). Busted!
I think it’s a safe bet I’ll never hear from him again. That’s probably for the best. Since then, I show no mercy for no-shows or same-day cancellations for first time clients. They are notified that they will have to pay for the missed appointment as well as pay me up front for any future appointments.
I’m sure I’ll won’t collect any money from any of them since I don’t require credit card information to book a first appointment. Such is the nature of this business. It’s a risk I take, but now I only take it once. At least I don’t have rare clients like this running me around and costing more than the fee for one missed appointment. There’s no shortage of learning adventures in the practice that I love!
How do you deal with no-shows and first-time clients who cancel the same day? If you don’t see a comment box below, please click the Leave a comment link to share. Thank you!