Prevent Last Minute Cancellations

A common complaint I hear from business owners is on the topic of how to prevent last minute cancellations. In case you aren't familiar with the term "no-shows", these are client who have an appointment scheduled at our massage office and then don't show up for their appointment. Sometimes life happens- clients can have emergencies or get sick- so I'm not writing about those cases.


Preventing No-Shows

Hopefully you have policies in place at your business to help cut down and/or prevent no-shows from happening. Policies such as requesting full or partial payment in advance or charging the client for the missed appointment are all great ways to prevent last minute cancellations.


Make sure your policies are found on your website and intake forms. They should also be verbally communicated with each new client during their intake process.


Another way to deal with no-shows is to keep a list of clients who are willing to come in on short notice so you can contact then when an opening is available. However, when someone no-shows multiple times, it's probably wise to let them go completely or require they pay in advance to schedule another session.


Keep careful records of each no-show and document the reason they didn't show up. This way you can notice if there is a recurring theme and see if it's something on your end that needs adjusting.


It's human nature to want to place the blame on others but if we are experiencing regular no-shows, then it probably has something to do with us or our business. I've been fortunate to have very few no-shows over the years. I don't think it's luck or that I'm the "best" massage therapist. I attribute my record of few last minute cancellations to something else altogether. It's not a secret and I don't mind sharing it with you.


Add Value To Your Sessions

The best way to prevent last minute cancellations is to add value to your sessions. So simple, right? If you add value to your massage, you help your clients feel important. They will respect you and want to show up for their appointments! A great way to add value is simply behaving in a professional manner.

For example, greeting and addressing each client in a consistent and kind manner is a good start. This is a great way to gain your client's trust because they will know what to expect. Even if you have had a rough day, don't let it show to the client because they will notice and may take it personally.


Some other ways we can add value:

  • Using hot towels and/or heat packs
    • Warm, dry for under the neck
    • For the client to wipe off with after the session is over
    • To wipe lubricant off the feet after working each foot
  • Use essential oils during the session (with client permission) and not charge for it
  • Calling 1 day in advance to remind clients of their appointment time
  • Keeping "tickler files", notes about the clients personal life on their file, such as a recent vacation, child graduation/wedding, pet's name, etc.
  • Paying attention to if your massage room is comfortable
  • Is your equipment sturdy, or does it creak and shake?
  • Is it easy for clients to get to your office?


All of these add up and can create a place of security and comfort for the client so they won't want to miss their next appointment!