Recently I have found that more and more businesses are sending text reminders for appointments to make sure customers show up. My doctor, my dentist and even my chiropractor all either call or text me to remind me that I have an appointment with them. The doctor sends a text straight after the appointment is made and another 24 hours before hand.. which is very useful.
With technology being what it is, I assumed that this was an automated service that is magically connected to their calendar and sends out the text message. Well the doctor’s system is certainly automated but for others that isn’t the case. An actual person has to note who is booked in for the following day and start calling them. While this is all obviously designed to reduce the number of missed appointments, I did wonder how many of us simply don’t turn up for appointments we have made. In an age where technology effectively masks who we are (to some extent) and offers us, the consumer, a level of anonymity, is it more socially acceptable to simply not show for something we haven’t had to pay in advance for?
How many people have booked a restaurant and not called to cancel if they can’t make it anymore?
Don’t get me wrong I am not saying that cancellations aren’t going to happen… people get sick, plans change and life often gets in the way, but are we less likely (than we were) to call and cancel the booking? Do we simply not show up?
The impact to a small business is huge. I’ve seen on Twitter & Facebook the frustration of small business owners at the number of no-shows. For a small chiropractor or sports injury clinic this could be huge as a number of no shows over the course of a week can cost the business hundreds. Over a year it can be thousands of pounds.
Last minute cancellations.
Which brings me full circle in a way, the text message or telephone call to tell me that I have booked something tends to come the day before my actual appointment. What if I need to cancel or re-arrange for another date? Surely that only gives the business in question 24 hours (or less) to fill the slot I have just released, how do they fill that? Is that where they start calling the people on their waiting list to see if someone else wants my slot? (see waiting lists post). Let me give you an example…
This Italian restaurant in Peckham, London had such a cancellation with 24 hours notice. The great thing is that the people called to cancel, however the business is now left with less than 24 hours to fill 16 covers, but for a restaurant in London that is a huge hit on your daily income – almost a £700 hit to be honest. Now I am sure that Forza-Win with its fantastic user reviews in TimeOut London were able to fill at least some of these covers but I am sure its not that easy to do on such short notice.
Brook’s Restaurant in Huddersfield, Yorkshire and Flitch of Bacon in Dunmow, Essex have experienced the same problem in the last couple of days, both have fantastic reviews so hopefully would be able to fill these bookings. The saving grace here is that the people who had booked at least called to cancel, but how many occasions do they get people simply not show up?
We can help.
The me:now app will help small businesses advertise these short notice unwanted slots to customers that are already looking for their services. No more waiting lists, no calling around. A customer can follow an individual business or just be notified when a specific type of business near you has availability.
Do you own a business that suffers from cancellations/no shows or maybe you want to fill some of those gaps in your diary? We will shortly be looking for businesses to test the app. If you are interested then drop us a quick line through our contact page.