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Posted by Marian Child, Sep 10 2010 7:17AM

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Dealing with people who miss appointments

I was wondering how other people deal with clients who either "forgot" appointments or, as self employed clients, had to attend a short notice job as they "need to earn money". (yes at my expense)


The way I currently deal with this is:
- I try to text the day before to remind them (I could phone, but some people wont let you off the phone - I am sure we all have several of those.)
- Existing clients sign the disclaimer which includes my terms of "Payment required for missed appointments". But in all fairness, I don't shout this out loud when they are signing.
- If clients have bought a package, they have already received a discount, so the slot I may have filled may have earnt me more money, I therefore deduct a session from the batch.

I don't take credit cards, although am set up with Paypal. I have no internet connection where I work.
I have had suggestions that I take payment in advance, or credit card details. I could take a cheque as a deposit.

You cannot make people pay if they haven't already paid up front. They simply wont come back.

Occasionally I have a few people waiting for cancellations and it is sometimes too short a notice for them to quickly turn up for missed slots, which means that I may lose a client, or work late, especially if they are in pain.

Of course this leads to another question. What are we going to do when cheques are no longer used next year. Especially if we have no internet connection. This is not a rant, I simply have no idea.
Angela Rawlins
Sep 10 2010 2:55PM
Hi

I've had a few! Well - if they have genuinely forgotten - I try to phone them after about 15 - 20 minutes have gone past. I will leave a message and they have got back to me being 'sorry', I get them to re-book and usually do not charge them for the missed one.

Now - I have had a further appointment booked with one or two only for them to deliberately not turn up :(( One I absolutely sure, only came to see how a Hopi Candle treatment was performed so that she could do it her self:(( So cross - I phoned her and she had a message on answer phone saying she'd gone on holiday! I really should have sent her a bill, but didn't!

One lady canceled within an hour of the appointment, so, no last minute chance to fill it. Her excuse was that she had been phoned by her child's school to say s/he was ill, mind you, it was only a half day any way! She said that she would contact me soon - so I text her asking when she could re-book to get told that she was really busy for the months running up to Christmas, but, she had told me that she'd like to take up the 6 wk treatment plan?? I informed her by txt that I usually charge for missed appointments - no response, so, I sent her a bill. This resulted in an angry text saying she didn't like my attitude!!! AND she didn't have a contract so she's NOT paying:(( Well - news for her is, we did have one, a verbal agreement. You'll never guess - she worked for a local renowned Spa who MOST certainly would charge for missed appointments!

The long and the short of it, you can't force anyone to pay for a missed appointment, you can take them to court, but ????? Black list them with your colleagues?? Good if you can get them to pay up front, then you can deduct a treatment. We really should get them to sign an agreement to pay for missed appointments - I think my dentist did.

Lots of therapists I know around my area are too worried that people will not come back, but, do we want them?? We should respect ourselves:))
Marian Child
Sep 10 2010 3:10PM
Even if they did sign an agreement, you could really force them to pay, even though you may be able to legally enforce it. We would be out of pocket.

I think things will change with the chq replacement. Maybe they will have to pay by cash, but it may also be more acceptable to accept BACS payment in advance. Time will tell, but there will be a difference in the way we pay us service providers.
Angela Rawlins
Sep 10 2010 3:18PM
my local shop has a cash machine:)) I've had one client come to me with an empty purse and no cq book:( She did go and get me cash from the local shop. I must admit I haven't even thought about it!

Have to ask my financial adviser,husband what to do!
Kathryn Kemp
Sep 15 2010 1:29PM
Hi there

I always ask for the payment to be placed on the table before I start to "avoid the hassle afterwards as my hands will be oily" ;-)

Haven't had any problems with it so far.
Marian Child
Sep 15 2010 7:44PM
Kathryn. That is a fantastic idea
Angela Rawlins
Sep 16 2010 12:51PM
Asked my husband about the no cheques thing and he said that as far as he knows there as been no approval as yet.
Angela Rawlins
Sep 16 2010 12:52PM
We went off track a bit - it was 'how to get payment' for missed appointments - probably near on impossible!
Marian Child
Sep 16 2010 1:01PM
I got it wrong. I thought that cheques were being withdrawn next year. It is being targetted for 2018 and only providing suitable alternatives have been worked out. It is some banks cheque guarentee cards that are being withdrawn next year.

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