Why People No-Show For Appointments

Overworked tired man with frustrated expression, looks at screen of laptop

This article was written by Michelle Weger.

Imagine you have an appointment booked with a client.

Just before the scheduled time, you gather everything you need to get ready for your meeting:

  • Your pen
  • Your notebook
  • A fresh cup of coffee
  • Notes about your client or customer

… and then you wait.

And wait.

And 10 minutes after your client was supposed to be there, you grumble about the fact that they no-showed and return to whatever you were doing before.

It’s not much more than an annoyance… except you’ve now wasted some of your very valuable time for someone who didn’t even show up.

Why do people fail to show up for appointments?

In general, people aren’t trying to be disrespectful.

However, people don’t like to be inconvenienced.

There will always be people who simply don’t show up for appointments.But if you’re experiencing a higher-than-seems-reasonable amount of no-shows, the first step is determining why your customers aren’t showing up.

1. People are inherently forgetful

There are a ton of reasons someone may forget about their appointment:

  • They didn’t write the time down (or wrote the wrong time down)
  • They got busy doing something and lost track of time
  • They just forgot – it happens!

And it’s easy enough to say that you should be sending appointment reminders, because you absolutely should be sending appointment reminders. Whether it’s by email or text (or preferably even both!), automated appointment reminders are a simple solution that can be connected to your appointment booking software or CRM.

But it goes further than that.

Think of your appointment booking process and put yourself in your customer’s shoes.

If you call to book an appointment and end up on hold because you can’t get through right away, you’ll probably start doing something else.

You might go back to work while you listen to some jazzy hold music, or you might wander to the refrigerator for a snack.

Whatever it is, when someone finally answers the phone, there’s a pretty good chance you’re caught off guard. That means you don’t have your pen and piece of paper to jot a note down or don’t have access to your online calendar.

You book your appointment, scrambling to get the information down or hope you’ll remember it when you get off the phone… but then something else comes up.

Now, imagine that instead of waiting on hold, the person you were calling had something as simple as a voicemail so you could leave a message.

Or appointment booking software that you could use to book an appointment online.

Between convenience and appointment reminders, your rate of “no-show” appointments can easily go down.

2. Cancelling an appointment is complicated

Let’s say that you didn’t forget about your appointment after you waited on hold.

You wrote the time down and got the appointment reminder.

But a couple of days before your appointment, you realize you have another meeting at the same time.

You already spent a ton of time waiting on hold just to book the appointment. If your only option is to spend more of your time waiting to get through just to cancel, there’s a good chance you’re going to be annoyed or maybe even just hang up.

Letting someone know you can’t make your appointment shouldn’t be difficult.

If you or your reception desk are difficult to reach, your chances of a no-show go up. And if your clients book online but your appointment reminders don’t have information on what to do if they need to reschedule, they’re more likely to just not bother showing up.

The solution? Create a convenient way to cancel appointments.

That could be as simple as implementing a voicemail system or ensuring your online booking system has an easy way to change appointments.

3. Confusion about their appointment details

Is your office in a weird place?

Is there construction nearby?

Do you have dedicated parking?

If your appointment is virtual, does your client know how to use Zoom?

Customers don’t want to do extra work to give you their money. That means it’s in your best interest to provide as much information to them as possible.

The easiest way to do this?

Those automated appointment reminders mentioned above.

When your clients don’t show up for a scheduled meeting or appointment, it affects your bottom line. You can help mitigate that by leveraging automation.

Are you ready to stop wasting time dealing with no-show appointments?

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Michelle Weger - RBC Women of Influence Nominee