A lack of planning on your part…does not constitute an emergency on my part.
So last night I’m on my way home, in the middle of traffic on my ebike, having just finished a long day. Well shorter than usual, by about 2 hours. I finished up at 6 pm, instead of 8 oclock ( my usual close) because for whatever reason I had no one scheduled after 6. It happens occasionally , and when it does, I’m more than happy to actually eat dinner WITH my kids rather than hours after I’ve put them to bed. As I’m weaving in and out of traffic , my cell rings and I hit the speakerphone and pull over.
It’s one of my groupon clients and this client is wondering why she cannot book an appointment, for , an hour from now. Now I explain my booking policies with every client consultation. I have a number of policies that are enforced by my booking/scheduling system including:
appointments must be scheduled a minimum of 6 hours in advance.
While you can cancel an appointment online , you cannot do so if it is less than 24 hours before your appointment. In this case I reserve the right to charge for the appointment as a cancellation fee as I cannot sell the time generally at this point.
If you are late for an appointment, it counts as treatment time . This is one policy I am having to enforce much more frequently these days.If you dont show for an appointment, then I charge for that appointment before your next treatment commences.
I try and give some leniency on these policies, but if I’m honest, I give way too much already. Often it is not possible for me to take a client for their full time if they have arrived late. This leniency once provided a single time, then becomes the expected norm. Until I dont accept the excuses anymore.
This particular client had wanted me to turn around ( did I mention I was 3/4 of the way home, in pouring rain?) to treat them, and the answer was no. The next question, well when you can you book me tommorrow? I cant. My schedule is Full ( I’m actually on my lunch currently the only 30 minutes I have without a client). Said client then proceeded to throw a fit over the phone. “You have to take me, I have a date tommorrow!” . I dont think the statement above, was quite the answer she expected.
These types of interactions can and will occur.The first time it happened was on sunday , as I was closing. A new client, who had never had a consultation with me, went ahead and booked a 15 minute appointment with me. She acted surprised when she showed up 20 minutes late for her 15 minute appointment, that I had already changed out of my office gear into shorts and light top and was just about to walk out the door. The excuse was "But there was traffic, and I wasnt THAT late? They were outright asked to leave, and I highly doubt they will ever book with me again.
My schedule is available to book in YEARS into the future. I’m disappointed to say, that many clients dont take advantage of this option though some do, they are the ones you will generally see have beeked 2-3 weeks ahead of time. Too often they wait until the day before, or sometimes, minutes before they decide they want an appointment. Then act surprised when there is no availability ( which more and more is the case, my schedule fills up these days with just the clients who do book ahead. I try and accomodate those stuck in traffic, but I only allow for 15 minutes on top of your appointment time to take care of billing and greeting you, and if someone is booked right after you I have no option but to stick to my guns. I’ve done 5 minute treatments before and billed the full hour because that is what I have to do. I’m sorry if you were surprised there was a snowstorm in february and the traffic was slow. It happens so frequently, that I am now having to be an enforcement nazi on my own company policies. When 5 or 6 clients in a day are late, unfortunately, you have a problem. I’m not EVER late getting in to work, doesnt matter time of year , or roads, or the babysitter is late, I plan ahead for contingencies.Most electrologists I know, have to run a very tight ship when it comes to scheduling.