Coordinating an appointment-based business while maintaining your sanity is nothing short of an art form. Even after taking all of the precautions, everything that could happen will happen eventually.
However, it becomes an issue when obstacles cause financial losses and lower customer retention rates. Here are ten ways to boost your revenue growth and keep customers in appointment-based businesses.
Use Social Media As A Tool
Social media is an underestimated marketing tool for appointment-based businesses. It’s a quick way to reach customers, make announcements, and manage schedules. When your customers follow, turn on notifications and engage with your posts, it increases your organization’s exposure.
Keep Your Systems Updated
Technology has evolved so rapidly over the years and has allowed appointment-based businesses to work smarter, not harder. It’s recommended to choose systems, not just for scheduling, but for every aspect of your business.
Make a list of what you could use help in, and check with this HRIS Vendor List – HR Payroll Systems will fulfill all those needs. The less time and effort spent with menial tasks, the more you and your staff can focus on stellar customer service.
Find Your Magic Number
Certain businesses such as spas and health centers are appointment-based businesses that have a threshold from acquisition to retention. In retention marketing, it’s called the “magic number” – a set number of visits, purchases, or engagement needed to turn a new customer into a loyal one.
If it takes a certain number of visits for customers to establish a routine and fall in love with your service, use it to your advantage. You can offer discounts for the first one and another when they schedule a return, “Buy One, Get One Free,” or package deals for multiple visits.
Clients not showing up (or showing up late) sets everyone back for both the company and others who are waiting for service. On top of revenue, it robs you of effective time allocation, productivity, and customer engagement. It also costs five times more to acquire customers than it does to keep existing ones.
Prevent no-shows by staying in touch with customers. There are automated tools you can use to send texts and emails to remind them of their appointment. Check-in with your customers for confirmation, then set reminders the week of their appointment, then 24 hours before it.
Researchers from the Department of Primary Care and Social Medicine at Imperial College London did a study on non-attendance behavior in clinics. They found that no-show rates were 38% lower among patients who received a text message appointment reminder. Could you imagine how much revenue would have been lost if one-third of your customers didn’t show up?
Bonus tip: with an automated system, you can also take the opportunity to send personalized birthday messages. It is a cost-effective way to show that you care and appreciate your customers.
Create a Cancellation System
Another way to reduce non-attendance is by handling bookings over to clients. On top of implementing a strict but reasonable cancellation policy, online scheduling software can facilitate the process for both parties. Clients can cancel and reschedule to their preferred times, and the slots can be filled by new or returning clients that would like to be seen sooner.
Fill In The Gaps
Depending on what your business is, you can have slow periods during the day, certain days, or even seasons. Take note of your least busy times, and offer incentives to visit. For example, you can boost traffic during off-seasons by hosting events, discounts, and package deals. Another way would be to introduce additional services that may be more convenient for your clients.
Create A Loyalty Program
A good customer loyalty program is an on-going incentive to continue visiting an establishment. This can be in the form of punch cards, reward points, member discounts, and even a referral program.
Follow Up With Lapsed Customers
So you have clients that haven’t made any appointments and stopped showing up at all. Taking time to follow up improves your retention rate and obtains more appointments. Checking with them can help you pinpoint why they are not returning and how to solve it.
A little motivation can go a long way. Ask them for their feedback and offer exclusive deals or perks. When your clients feel appreciated, they’ll be more likely to return. Automated emails can also send “We Miss You” emails when it detects inactivity.
Know Your Target Demographic
Depending on their age group (among other factors), they may have a preference when it comes to processes such as paperwork and scheduling. If you have a more senior customer base, the newer systems may not be ideal if they need technical or visual assistance with their appointments. They are more likely to prefer phone calls over emails or text.
For young adults who are computer literate, they may lean towards receiving text or email notifications. They may also be familiar with or prefer online booking. If you cater to clients of all ages and backgrounds, your best bet is to offer their choice of contact options.
Integrate Your Scheduling With Point of Sale
Your transactions and scheduling should go hand-in-hand when it comes to appointment-based businesses. The ideal system can keep track of openings as well as payments. Managing your business and transactions in one place helps simplify record-keeping, ensure timely payment for services, and keep everyone on the same page.
Adaptability and organization is the key to mastering appointment setting, no matter what industry you’re in. Find the approach that works for your business, and you’ll be sure to keep customers (and your staff) happy while you increase revenue growth and retention rates.