How to Prevent Last Minute Cancellations
If you run a service business, there will be times when your customer cancels on you at the last minute. Sometimes you aren’t made aware that the customer is cancelling the service until you arrive on site!
Of course, last minute cancellations are frustrating. But cancellations are more than just the frustrations of going to an appointment only to find out your services aren’t required. Last minute cancellations are expensive.
In addition to the value of the service visit, other financial costs include employee time and wages, mileage on your vehicle, and the cost of gas.
Furthermore, the time spent going to an appointment that is going to be cancelled is wasted time that could be spent on another visit or other business related tasks.
Cancelled appointments can be a problem, but they don’t have to be. A strategy for your field service company to prevent last minute cancellations is a great way to improve your team’s efficiency and save wasted effort.
Setup your Strategy
So you know that cancelled appointments can hurt your bottom line. But how do you go about setting up a strategy to prevent last minute cancellations?
One great tactic to prevent last minute cancellations is to remind your customers, in advance, about their upcoming appointment. This will remind customers that they need to be prepared (if required) for their appointment and will give customers an opportunity to cancel in advance if needed.
Typically, there are 3 ways you can remind your customers of an upcoming service appointment: a phone call, an email, or a text message.
While there is a nice personal touch to a phone call, there are a couple of challenges with this method of reminding your customers of an upcoming appointment. Sometimes customers can be hard to reach over the phone and if they don’t have voicemail you can’t leave a message. Another challenge with phoning every customer before their service appointment is that this process can take a lot of time. The point of reminding customers about their upcoming appointment is to save time—not to create more work!
With email or text message reminders, you’ll always leave a message and you don’t run the risk of a customer not answering the phone. Also, setting up a process to email or text message customers before an appointment is easily repeatable by following 3 easy steps:
Step 1: Assign a Point Person
If you’re going to send out appointment reminders, you need a person at your company who is in charge of the communication. When you send out a reminder, you are opening the door to new customer communication. The point person will need to answer any customer questions or reschedule appointments if required.
Step 2: Create a Template
Once you decide who will handle any questions that pop up from your appointment reminders, you’ll want to create reminder templates. The templates should work for all potential appointments and customers. We’ve included a couple examples below:
Hi [customer name],
This is a friendly reminder from [your company name] that we have an upcoming service appointment.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by email at [point person email address] or by phone at [point person phone number]
[point person name]
[your company name]
[point person phone number]
Text Message Template:
Hi [customer name],
This is a reminder from [your company name] about our upcoming appointment at [appointment date and time]. Please contact us at [point person phone number] if you have any questions.
Your templates might vary a bit from the examples above, but remember to always include date/time information about the appointment as well as your contact information.
Step 3: Send Your Reminders
The last step in this process is to start sending out your reminders!
Reminders can be sent out manually by your point person or you can automate this process through software like Jobber. Jobber’s Client Reminder Emails and SMS Client Reminders help speed up the process of sending out these reminders. Using software also eliminates the possibility of human error when sending out the reminders.
Appointment Reminders for Better Customer Service
We’ve gone over how appointment reminders help prevent last minute cancellations, but what we haven’t touched on is how appointment reminders improve your customer service.
Appointment reminders are a great way to engage with your customers – and an engaged customer is a happy customer! When combined with customer service follow-up emails, this gives you an opportunity to provide exceptional customer service before, during, and after a job.
Currently, less than 20% of field service companies are sending out appointment reminders. Be ahead of the curve! Provide industry leading customer service by sending out appointment reminders – your customers and your bottom line will thank you!