In 2016, Uber began allowing drivers to cancel rides for users who were more than five minutes late for pickup and to charge consumers late fees for making those drivers wait. The company argued that drivers waste gas and miss out on serving other clients when they’re stuck waiting and riders don’t show up.
Yes, even the most technologically advanced businesses struggle with no-shows.
The consequences of no-shows go beyond transportation giants like Uber. They’re a huge drain on companies’ bottom lines. One National Center for Biotechnology Information study estimated $16.65 million in revenue lost to no-shows in a single year — across just 10 organizations in a single industry. When clients skip their appointments, they inconvenience customers who may have wanted those slots and cause significant financial losses for service providers themselves.
Although no company jumps for joy when a client doesn’t show up, those missed appointments hit small businesses particularly hard. Fortunately, several strategies can help companies reduce no-shows and reclaim revenue. In fact, since introducing its no-show policy, Uber has seen its revenue continue to grow. Here’s how other businesses can aim for the same:
1. GET IN YOUR CUSTOMER'S HEAD:
If you’re worried about customers forgetting to show up, just remind them (it sounds simple because it is). Today, texts and emails are much more effective than the traditional phone call and voicemail. Texting, for one, has become the preferred method for receiving appointment reminders. Your customers, in fact, are practically asking you to offer them this. An Internet Journal of Healthcare Administration study showed that healthcare providers who text patients ahead of their appointments reported a 35 percent drop in no-shows. That represents a large number of appointments and a lot of revenue.
If you don’t currently send text-message or email reminders, it may make sense to look into this communication choice. Plenty of services will automate these messages for you, including new AI platforms that trigger voice, text and email reminders to customers. And, even if you have to task someone with sending texts and emails manually, that action may be worth it.
If your staff members are too busy, hire a part-time temp to manage your reminders. The income you’ll generate by reducing no-shows will likely outweigh the cost of the temp.