How to Avoid Client Cancellations for Lash Appointments

We’ve all been there – no shows and cancellations for lash appointments are possibly the most frustrating thing about running your own beauty business. “The dog ate my appointment card”, “work was crazy” or just simply, “I forgot”, we’ve heard them all!

As lash technicians, every lash appointment directly impacts your profits. Last minute cancellations and no shows are disastrous for profit margins, especially for larger treatments like a full set of mega volume lashes. It’s often circumstances that you can’t control that cause a client to not attend their appointment, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t put in preventative measures and policies to avoid cancellations becoming the norm. Here are our top tips on how to avoid client cancellations for lash appointments.

Implement a lash treatment cancellation policy

Many lash techs are apprehensive about creating a cancellation policy for appointments. Some new clients may see a cancellation policy as intimidating, but salon policies aren’t just the norm, they’re necessary.

Think about when you’re booking a hotel. The hotel tells you at the point of booking that if you cancel or reschedule after a certain date, there will be a charge. No one sees this as the hotel being difficult, they simply have a limited amount of space and they can’t afford for people to not turn up. Most hotels will either take a deposit or take your card details to ensure that if you do need to cancel, you do it in a timely fashion to get your money back. The same applies to your lash business

What to include in your lash appointment policy:

1. A minimum reschedule or cancellation notice, ie: 24 or 48 hours.

A minimum reschedule or cancellation notice is the pillar of any good cancellation policy. It’s up to you how long this minimum cancellation period is, however, the industry standard is 24 hours. If you want more time to fill your now empty appointment, 48 hours is also a good option.

2. Penalties for no-shows or last minute cancellations.

Introducing penalties for no-shows is another core element of your salon policy. If you’re having to turn away new business while your current clients are cancelling, that’s a big issue. We recommend operating a ‘3 strikes and you’re out’ rule if a client repeatedly cancels at the last minute or doesn’t show up to their eyelash extension appointment. Just like when you reward clients for their loyalty with discounts and special offers, the reverse applies.

This policy can be as loose or as strict as you need it to be, if you have a loyal client base that has been coming to you for years, it can be a good idea to be a little more lenient.

3. Compulsory deposit upon booking.

Make it standard procedure to take a deposit to confirm any lash bookings you receive. Whether you’re a beauty therapist based in a salon or an independent lash technician, taking deposits ensures that your clients are more likely to attend their appointment, or if they do need to cancel, they’ll do it in a timely fashion.

You can accept refunds on deposits or make them non-refundable. We recommend making them non-refundable as you may not have enough time to fill that appointment time slot and risk losing a full appointment worth of revenue.

4. Refund rules.

If you do decide to go for refundable deposits, you may wish to charge for cancellations. We recommend making refund rules that tie in with your minimum cancellation period. For example, if a client cancels before the 24 hour window, they can be refunded for their deposit minus a cancellation charge.

5. Lateness fee or reschedule.

If clients arrive at their lash appointment over 15 minutes late, we absolutely recommend you change their appointment time. It’s not fair for the clients that arrive on time for their eyelash extensions to be waiting for you to finish a latecomer’s full set. Alternatively, you could charge a ‘lateness fee’ for clients who arrive over 15 minutes late for their booking.

Other tips to avoid client cancellations:

Hand out salon policy cards alongside appointment cards

Make sure that you hand out salon policy cards alongside your lash appointment cards. This makes it clear to your client that cancellations, late arrivals and no shows are not acceptable. Having all of the policies for your salon written down makes it easier to enforce them later down the line as all of your clients will have your information to hand.
At BELO LASH, we offer premium quality pre-made paperwork packs, including client record and consultation cards, salon policy cards and aftercare cards. Alongside appointment cards, provide your clients with professional looking policy cards that are an extension of your quality treatments.

Offer alternatives to refunds

If a client has extenuating circumstances that makes their cancellation or no show plausible, offer a voucher, gift card or credit in place of a deposit refund. This means that you’re not losing out on any revenue, and your client doesn’t have to pay for a deposit twice.

Use an Appointment book to track your client's record

Keep all of your client records neat and tidy in a BELO appointment book to easily keep track of your appointments and any cancellations that may occur. This means that you can clearly see any gaps that need filling and which clients have a perfect track record!

Reschedule rather than cancel

If a client calls to cancel their appointment, offer to change the booking time or day instead. That way, you have more control over your diary and ensure they don’t come back too late for their next lash appointment. This is important as we recommend that if clients attend an appointment with less than 50% of their lashes intact, they’ll have to book in for a removal and a full set of eyelash extensions rather than just an infill.

You may also be interested in our blog on how to improve eyelash retention for your clients.

Cancellations are inevitable, it's how you handle it that matters!

At the end of the day, clients are inevitably going to cancel their bookings at some point in their lash life! That’s why having a clear and well-communicated cancellation policy in place in your salon or in your freelance practice is key. Whether a client needs to change the time of their appointment or cancel, ensure it’s on your terms by following these steps.

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