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Dealing with last minute cancellations and no-shows

29 Jan 2024 by Diana Beaufort

Running a successful salon business has its fair share of challenges. One frequently recurring issue that is incredibly frustrating for salon owners is dealing with last-minute appointment cancellations and no-shows by clients.

These unforeseen disruptions can have significant implications for your salon, spa or clinic, as they can affect profitability, staff schedules and incomes, and client relationships. In this blog, we explore some ways that we can mitigate or even eliminate this infuriating pain point.

Implement a clear cancellation policy

Create a cancellation policy for appointments that are cancelled within a certain time frame of the appointment (e.g. 48 hours before the appointment) and communicate your cancellation policy to clients when they schedule an appointment. Include details such as the required notice period for cancellations and any associated fees. You can also create a policy for no-show appointments and make the associated fee higher (as it can be much harder to fill that gap since it’s too late).

Confirmation calls or messages

Send appointment reminders

Contact clients a day or two before their scheduled appointment to remind them of their booking. This serves as a gentle nudge and gives them an opportunity to reschedule if needed. Learn how to customise your appointment reminder here.

Send appointment confirmations

After booking an appointment, send a confirmation email or text message to clients. Include the date, time, and any specific instructions to ensure they have all the necessary information to make their visit seamless.

The best way to do this is by setting up your everyday marketing in Kitomba, this is where you can set up personalised messages that will automatically go out to your clients x days before their appointment to remind them. Learn how to set it up here.

Women talking to her client


Offer incentives for prepayment

Encourage clients to prepay for their appointments to secure future revenue by offering small incentives such as discounts or loyalty points. This can create a more substantial commitment and reduce the likelihood of your clients cancelling.

Kitomba’s Online Booking system allows you to collect customisable deposits for your services, and they automatically get added to the invoice when your client checks out. Here’s how you can customise it to suit the needs of your business and your clients.

Choose your deposit type and amount

Kitomba’s Online Booking system allows you to collect either a percentage of the appointment value, a dollar amount or full payment. You can also set the system to only collect deposits for certain services, so if you are finding only your high-value services are experiencing last-minute cancellations, you can turn them on for only those services.

Create your deposit policy

You can create a deposit policy that’s tailored to your business. Choose whether clients can cancel online, and if they receive refunds for cancellations.

Find out more about taking deposits with Kitomba’s Online Booking system here.

Build strong client relationships

Develop a personal connection with your clients by providing excellent customer service. When clients feel valued and connected, they are less likely to cancel or no-show. A great way to remember personalised things about your clients is to write them on their Kitomba client cards. For example, you could write down the type of tea or coffee they prefer to keep in their client card so you can be prepared for next time with their favourite beverage.

Keep track of patterns

Pay attention to any recurring patterns of cancellations or no-shows.  If there is a particular type of appointment, time, or day that a client tends not to show up or be late for an appointment you can take note of it in Kitomba’s client card. This way you can be wary of serial offenders.

salon receptionist


Maintain a waiting list

Keep a waiting list for clients who want specific times or services. When a cancellation occurs, you can quickly fill the slot by contacting clients on the waiting list. 

Often keeping a waitlist is an admin-heavy task for your team – not ideal when you’re busy! With Kitomba’s Waitlist feature, you can quickly and easily add clients to your waitlist and drag and drop them into your appointment book when you have an empty spot to fill.

Offer flexible rescheduling

If a client needs to reschedule their appointment, be accommodating and offer alternative time slots. This reduces the likelihood of them cancelling altogether.

Remember, even with implementing these strategies some cancellations or no-shows may still occur.

By prioritising efficient scheduling, cultivating positive client relationships and implementing appropriate policies, salon owners can navigate this problem ensuring smoother operations and a thriving business.

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Posted by Diana Beaufort Business tips

Diana Beaufort

Diana Beaufort

Diana is the former owner of the award-winning salon Reds Hairdressing. Her salon was known not only for its work but a reputation for exceptional business skills, results, and outstanding training programmes.

After moving out of her salon, her focus has been on helping small business owners achieve greater success through improved clarity, focus, and practical planning. Coaching and mentoring have been a passion for much of the past decade and have helped her achieve the success she has enjoyed.

Diana is an ACC accredited coach having achieved the ICF (Associate Credential Coach) Gold Standard. Her focus is in leadership coaching with a special interest in Neuroscience and Positive Psychology.

She has also won awards for workplace culture, team development, business strategies, and staff training with many satisfied clients from a variety of industries.
Diana Beaufort

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