Usually, there is a fairly lengthy statement on the back of an appointment card or on a website that outlines their cancellation fee policy. This will go into great detail about the time limits and dollar amount you will pay if you forget to cancel and fail to show up for the appointment.
I know this sounds like a horrible threat. It is meant to sound awful. So awful, that you won’t ever have to pay it. It is meant to keep you from being late, or from forgetting to cancel.
It is certainly not customer friendly in any definition of the words “customer service”. So, should we even consider this to be part of our customer communications and our client policies??
Here is why I say no.
- It won’t ensure that a customer won’t forget to show up, because they are buying their daughter a new dress to wear to the sweetheart dance (since it was rescheduled and 6 weeks ago, the weather was much colder) and they were really enjoying time together and completely forgot about music lessons.
- It won’t be enough money to keep them from finding a new (amazing) physical therapist or hair dresser, because great ones are difficult to find.
- It won’t be an amount, that you the provider (in fair exchange) pay them when you are over an hour late inviting your customer, into your office to be seen. (Come on… think about it. Those of you who have a doctor’s office or a rehab therapist who run chronically late…you know who I mean and they are worth waiting for…really.)
If the provider is amazing, they should have enough business, they over book because they can work 2 or 3 clients at a time or they themselves tend to run late because they enjoy helping you and their other clients so very much. To that end, they are both willing AND able to reschedule you with no problem, they make up the time on the appointment with help from other staff and give you refreshments to help you relax…
All of this, most certainly without charging you a cancellation fee. They might even stay late to help you if you do realize you are running late and call to say you will be nearly an hour after your appointed time due to a bad traffic accident. How much do you care about your customers, your clients or your patients, to happily update the schedule for another mutually convenient time?
~ Dawn aka Hat Girl