Taking Advantage of your No Show Appointments

How do you feel when someone doesn’t show up for their appointment?

They have taken up a slot on your calendar, you’ve prepared for the appointment, and then when the time comes, they never show up. While a checkAppointments web scheduler has been shown to reduce no shows by up to 99%, there are always a few that slip through the cracks.

Most people’s first response is to get frustrated. Usually we’ll give lip service to the concern that “we hope such-and-such is alright since they couldn’t make it to their appointment,” but we mostly just feel like our time has been squandered.

Last week I had someone schedule a support call for Friday at 6:30pm. The appointment was confirmed but when 6:30 rolled around, they never got on the line. I was pretty ticked off. It was Friday night and I didn’t particularly want to have to stay in the office waiting for the support call. Then when they didn’t get on the call it made me really frustrated that I had waited around at all.

This sense of frustration that we feel when we think people have wasted our time can permeate our outlook for the entire day. Suddenly things that wouldn’t have bothered you before start rubbing you the wrong way. This stickiness factor of frustration is one of the reasons I hate the feeling so much. If I could feel frustrated and get over it in less than 5 minutes, then I’d be fine, but frustration doesn’t seem to work like that.

In a client-centric business, where you’re taking appointments all day long, this can cause serious problems. Just because one person failed to show up for an appointment should not mean that the next client who walks in has to bear the brunt of your frustration.

I know that this is a serious problem that affects a lot of our users, so I decided to develop a list of ways to take advantage of your time when your clients don’t show up for their appointment. The two ways you could potentially take advantage come in the form of gained productivity or reduced frustration. I hope they’ll help you out as I know I’ll be referencing them the next time someone doesn’t dial in:

Take advantage of no show appointments

No Show Advantage Tip #1:

Productivity: Spend the time that the appointment was set for scheduling out social posts for your business. Maybe you don’t have a huge social presence yet but you want to build one. Or, maybe you are already posting on social in which case you know how tedious this work can be. Whichever holds true for you, the time that you could have spent being frustrated about the person not showing for their appointment will now be spent toward marketing your business.

No Show Advantage Tip #2:

Frustration reduction: Do a few deep breathing exercises. I’m sure you’ve been told to “take a deep breath” at least once in your life. Everyone has. Why? Because we all forget to breath deeply which has been proven to reduce stress. We need reminders, and a no show appointment is the perfect trigger to get you to practice. Need a few suggestions on which exercises to use? Try out these from PsychCentral or from Dr. Weil.

No Show Advantage Tip #3:

Frustration reduction: Turn on some music and dance. Physical movement has been shown to reduce stress and, at least in Lucy Barber’s school of thought, dancing is the best form of physical movement to put a smile back on your face. You may feel like a kid breaking the rules by turning on your music in your office and moving those hips, but it will be impossible to stay in your frustrated state of mind.

No Show Advantage Tip #4:

Productivity: Clean out your inbox. I keep a pretty clean inbox, but that takes constant work and usually I have to save the time to get my inbox to the way I like it for the end of the day. When someone doesn’t show up for their appointment, you can dedicate the time to categorizing your emails or responding to ones that you’ve been putting off for a while. An added bonus to this little tip is that you’ll feel less stressed when your inbox is clean.

No Show Advantage Tip #5:

Productivity & Frustration Reduction: Call someone you’ve been meaning to catch up with. Usually it is too late at night when I think of the people I want to catch up with to give them a call. You can also use your no show appointment to catch up with an old friend or family member that you’ve not spoken to for a while. It doesn’t need to be a long conversation but people love knowing that they’ve been thought about and it will make you get a few minutes of social connection in too.

No Show Advantage Tip #6:

Productivity: Send emails out to clients who haven’t had appointments in a while to trigger them to book with you. With your online scheduling system, you can look through your appointments from 3 months ago, 6 months ago, a year ago and find the clients who haven’t been back to see you in a while. Once you’ve identified them, send out a few emails to ask them to book a time to come see you (maybe even send a coupon code) or ask for feedback as to why they’ve not been back in a while.

No Show Advantage Tip #7:

Productivity & Frustration reduction: make a goals list for your week and a to-do list for the rest of your day. I give a lot of lip service to setting aside a time on Sunday evening to write down my list of goals for the week, but there’s more weeks than not that I forget. Again, a no show appointment could be the perfect trigger to get this productivity enhancing task done and have something to work off of for the rest of the day or week.

No Show Advantage Tip #8:

Frustration reduction: Get some outside time in. One of the real losses over the last 50 years for Americans is time spent outdoors. I often hear older generations bemoan how when they were growing up, they were outside until dinner. There weren’t screens everywhere. Unless you already work outside, chances are your outside time is abysmally low. When your client doesn’t make it to his/her appointment, be excited that you can use that time to go outside and get some fresh air (and Vitamin D on those sunny days)!

No Show Advantage Tip #9:

Productivity: Get something that’s pretty small but has been nagging you done. There’s bound to be some bill you need to pay, check you need to cash, email you need to respond to that’s been eating at you for weeks or months. Use the time to get those little pesky things done. Whether it’s simply cleaning off the clutter from your desk or putting something in the mail that’s been sitting in your car waiting to be stamped, getting those small items off your list doesn’t take much but can make all the difference in how you feel.

No Show Advantage Tip #10:

Frustration reduction: Stretch! Similar to the outdoor time tip above, our range of motion on a daily basis doesn’t nearly reach its maximum potential. If you think about your day, you wake up lying down, walk around to get ready, sit down to do work, sit down to eat, etc. Your daily routine doesn’t present many opportunities for you to bend down and touch your toes, open up your obliques, or gently stretch out your back. Recognize all the movement that your body has and nourish the motions it can make that don’t get much attention. When you get time from a no show appointment, use it to the benefit of your body.

 

The trick behind each of these tips is that they can help you turn a situation where you feel frustrated into an opportunity that you didn’t have before. Frustration can be a sign that you need to look at something another way. Instead of looking at a no show appointment as a waste of your time, try instead to look at it as an opportunity to do something you wouldn’t have had the chance to do otherwise.

This can be a hard habit to break. We like having things to complain about and the frustration of someone not showing up for an appointment is something that is easy for other people to get in your corner on. I believe, however, that if you start looking at these situations not as frustrating but as unforeseen opportunities, your whole outlook will change.

Or at least here’s to hoping