It may seem obvious, but if you want your clients to behave in a certain way, why not just tell them? Open honest communication really is the way to go.
That’s why I was thrilled to see the following message in a newsletter from my chiropractor:
Missed appointments and late cancellations — our solution
Missed appointments and late cancellations are an inconvenience not only for us, but also for other clients who may have wanted your appointment time and miss out. So in future missed appointments and cancellations on the same day will be handled as follows:
1st missed appt: We understand, anyone can forget once.
2nd missed appt: We’re not very happy — a gift (wine or flowers etc) is required to appease us. Or we will donate your “Missed appointment fee” to charity.
3rd missed appt: Our regular fee will apply.
4th missed appt: Our regular fee will apply and we won’t make any more appointments for you.
What a superb piece of writing, too. It’s friendly and conversational, but it’s also laying down the law.