Many of us have cancellation policies in place. They differ from person to person and industry to industry, but most often, the client/patient is responsible for some portion of the cost of the appointment if they fail to show up or cancel within a certain period of time.
In the last week I had 3 different clients cancel within the 24-hour window I have noted in my cancellation policy (which they all sign on the intake form, and, it’s on my website). Client A had a young child with a fever, client B worked late, and client C decided that they didn’t want to keep their appointment just few hours before they were scheduled to come in.
Client A is a client that I had only seen once. They called very early the morning of their 2nd appointment and told me their child had a fever. Obviously, they needed to tend to their kid but this typically isn’t an emergency to me, even if it is to them. But in the days of COVID, fevers are a pass. Besides, I was able to fill the slot. So, I didn’t request they pay the cancellation fee.
Client B had been coming to see me for a few months now. They didn’t show up and 15 minutes into their session I texted to make sure they were OK and to remind them of my cancellation policy. They said they got held up at work and could come now. I was unable to accommodate that as I had a client following their appointment. I said that I can put them in next week – same time slot – and they said that would work. They then asked if they would still be responsible for today’s appointment. I said yes. They came by to pay their fee ($5 short) and they have no intention on returning as they were not happy that I charged them.
Client C was a new client. They reached out via Facebook earlier in the week and we went back and forth to set up the appointment. I texted the night before to their phone with no reply so the morning of I sent a message via Facebook. They confirmed and then asked if my pressure was “hard” because they can’t feel light pressure. I answered that although I have firm pressure, I don’t classify myself as a deep tissue therapist but I’m certainly not “light” by any means. They then apologized & canceled their session. Being that this was someone I did not know, charging them on the spot wouldn’t work. But if they were to call again, I’d take payment up front and let them why. Take note, if I didn’t reach out to confirm, they most likely would have just come in and gotten their massage.
When a client calls me for an appointment, I schedule their time accordingly. Time is added before and after, depending on the type of session, and how difficult the session is for me physically. Not to mention I want to give clients time to chat before so we can do what’s best for them during their table time with me. I also won’t over book myself because I value my clients. I want to be sure that the first client and the last client of my day get the very best from me.
People come to me for a myriad of reasons and I am very appreciative of their trust, and their business. I value their time. I expect them to value mine. And for the most part, they do. But every now and then…
In years of doing personal development, I’m always looking for the lesson. This one was interesting because even though my policy is in place because I value my time, the fact is, I haven’t been good with my time lately. Turns out, I haven’t been valuing it properly.
I’ve been doing too much ‘at once’ and not focusing on any one thing. I’ve learned that when you create a task list, and focus only on one item at a time, and, follow it through to its completion before moving on, you can get so much more accomplished. Not sure why I have deviated from this. It’s time I get back to it.
One part of this message is for the client/patient to please be mindful of canceling appointments. We understand that things come up. But you must understand that when you don’t follow through on your commitment to your appointment, we pay the price. Quite literally. We ask you please respect our time, as we respect yours.
Secondly, learn how to value your own time. Manage your task list and be laser focused on things you need to get done. Time is the only thing that you can’t get back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Don’t waste a minute of it.