While it’s nice to have room in your shop’s schedule to handle walk-ins and other unexpected work, a service lane no-show isn’t the ideal way to get that extra time. Rather, no-shows throw everyone off and can take quite a toll on both your shop’s workflow and your bottom line.

Here are two holistic approaches to reducing no-shows that focus on addressing the underlying reasons your customers might not be showing up.

Keep your scheduled customers engaged
A lot can happen in your customer’s world between booking their service and arriving for their appointment: kids, pets, last-minute plans. In a word, life. But sometimes a simple one-touch reminder text or email isn’t enough to keep you top of mind. So why not borrow a strategy from an industry that’s possibly even more invested in reducing no-shows? I’m talking about healthcare.

Think of your last doctor or dentist appointment. After scheduling your visit, you likely received an email or two, a text, and possibly even a phone call at some point to make sure you remembered your appointment. So it makes sense, then, that a few well-timed reminders via different channels can do wonders to help jog your customers’ memories, too. Where many service shops will send out one reminder, try folding in text and email touchpoints—or even a phone call for a more personal connection. It may just get you better results than the single-touch approach.

This is especially true if your reminder allows the customer to confirm their appointment within the communication. If they can click a “Confirm” button and get a quick, short response either via text or on your website, the simple fact of taking action and receiving a response will help them remember. Additional ideas to help customers remember their appointment:

  • Combine an action with a reminder by offering directions to your shop through their mobile map application or Google Maps webpage.
  • If your scheduler notifies you when a customer confirms, that gives you the perfect opportunity to follow up with a quick call to say “got it” and make sure they have everything they need.
  • If customers have a schedule conflict (that is, if they were planning on ditching you!), giving them the opportunity to reschedule right then and there could save you a no-show.
  • If you’re using automated email workflows or triggered communications, try scheduling them to go out a few days sooner than you currently do, then send a quick, actionable follow-up the day before or the day of their appointment.

Cater to customers’ needs by doing business on their time
Another way to combat no-shows is to update your business model. Of course, this is a much more all-encompassing solution that isn’t nearly as simple or immediate as tailoring your customer communications. That being said, taking a more modern approach to assisting service customers is paying off for some dealers bold enough to break the mold. Leading the pack in this arena is Paragon Honda in New York. They’ve adapted a customer-centric approach to service with free vehicle drop-off and pick-up for service customers, eliminating the need for customers to visit the dealership at all. This nips the entire concept of the no-show in the bud!

Regardless of the solution you choose, one thing is key: give the customer something they need. By providing a missing piece of the puzzle, whether it be an actionable reminder text message or an entire service experience that caters to their busy schedule, you can help eliminate barriers and turn no-shows into reliable repeat business.

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