What's a Reasonable Cancellation Policy for Online Appointments?

Set policies & procedures that are reasonable for appointment cancellations and reschedulings

Set policies & procedures that are reasonable for appointment cancellations and reschedulings

When you automate your appointments with a web based reservation system, you’re well on your way to Efficiency City. Say hello to more time to let the kids play at the park, organize a more complex dinner, or even spend some extra time planning the next day. However, your trip doesn’t end there.

You’ve reached milestone number one. When setting up your scheduling website to begin accepting online appointments, you must consider your PC’s or policies and procedures. No business runs smoothly without ‘em, and you need to be sure to clarify them for your clients before they begin booking appointments with you. In today’s post, we’re going to discuss some considerations that you should be make when crafting your cancellation or rescheduling policy.

How do you handle last minute cancellations?

Does your business allow last minute cancellations or are  you considering to allow last minute cancellations? If so, you then need to determine the timeframe in which you’ll allow clients to cancel appointments with you. If 24 hours is ample enough time for you to be able to adjust your schedule accordingly, then in the checkAppointments’ BackOffice you can add a statement for this guideline in your Policies & Procedures section by following these directions:

  1. Go to the “Scheduler” tab

  2. Click the “Scheduling Design Page” option

  3. Check the box in the “Show Policy section”

  4. Click the “Edit Policies & Procedures” button

  5. Type in and edit your guideline

  6. Click the “Done” button

  7. Click the “Save” button at the bottom of the page

  8. Preview your web scheduler by clicking on the link for your website at the top of the page

How should clients go about rescheduling appointments with you?

Like cancellations, you should choose a timeframe that would allow you to re-group and proceed reasonably with your services. If 24 hours is not enough time for you, then you might choose 48 hours and so on and so forth. You might opt to have clients send an email if they need to reschedule versus calling in, and you can let them know your guideline in your Policies & Procedures section or even through an email by customizing your email templates.

Adding this guidelines to their confirmation emails and even reminder text messages would be most helpful so that clients would be able to have a quick reminder and a fast way to reschedule if they need to. Follow these directions to add your guideline within their appointment confirmation emails:

  1. Go to the “Emails & Texts” tab

  2. Click on the “Email/Texts to Clients” option

  3. Click on the “New Appointment email sent to CLIENT” template

  4. Click the “Customize this email” button

  5. Add your guideline to the email template

  6. Click the “Save” button

  7. Preview your web scheduler by going to the “Scheduler” tab > "Scheduling Design Page” option > and clicking on your scheduling website’s link

Now your clients will be able to see your guideline regarding rescheduling within their confirmation email.

If you would like to add this guideline to their text message reminder, simply follow the instructions above, but choose the “Appointment Reminder sent to CLIENT via Txt Msg” template.

Those are general things to consider when crafting your policies and procedures for online appointments. Save yourself and clients the hassle of miscommunication and the likelihood of broken trust through appointment no-shows or late arrivals. Build and maintain client relationships by clarifying your expectations up front so that each party can act reasonably.

How has clarifying expectations worked for your business in the long-run? Did this help to prevent appointment no-shows and were you more able to effectively utilize your time? Let us know by sharing how setting up your policies and procedures section has worked for you in the comments box below & tweeting today’s #TweetIt message.