Customers show up late or not at all?
Today I read a message online where a business owner was very disappointed that people make appointments and then don’t show up.
Please click to listen to the audio Podcast 005, or scroll down to read the transcript below:
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Here’s the message:
“I have had two new customers enquire about my service and they tell me that they are going to drop off flyers to me. They tell me the exact time and day and DON’T SHOW UP. Have you ever experienced this? It’s so annoying and I find it very disrespectful.”
The bottom line is that people might not show up for many reasons, some of which they don’t feel they can communicate to you. Other folks might not give it a moment’s thought that you might have sat in your office waiting for them – they might not realise that’s the situation at all.
My suggestion is – educate your potential customers.
Educate your current customers.
If anyone uses behaviour which affects you badly, educate them in advance so they know what YOUR EXPECATIONS are (in the nicest possible way).
This is not just about them – it’s about you and your time – and courtesy on both sides – so engage them in a longer conversation to let them know what’s going on with you and how you deal with appointments and meeting folks who make appointments.
Once they know YOUR story, they’ll have a lot more information about you – remember, if you ASK A QUESTION of them, they’ll HEAR YOU loud and clear – so let’s see if I can give you some examples.
Simple tips to to make sure customers show up or let you know if they can’t make it
I do know how disappointing this can be when someone doesn’t show up when they said they would, and over the years I’ve tried to come up with ways to help streamline business processes by pinpointing (a) what the problem or glitch is, then (b) working backwards to find a way to hopefully eliminate/reduce it.
In this case, perhaps there’s a bit of room for you to ‘educate’ your potential customers and prospects, so they fully understand you’re a human being who is adding their name into your appointment diary.
Maybe you could try something like this – the next time someone makes an appointment with you for something similar, keep the converstion going by letting them know you’re “blocking out some time” in your diary, and you’d love it if they have time to have a cop of tea or coffee with you, so you can find out more about their business. (I’m not sure what your business is, so don’t know if this appropriate or not in this case.)
- You could also say something like, “I’ll absolutely make sure I’m back in the office on time as I’d hate to miss your visit by a few minutes.”
- You could also mention you will have some great information to exchange with them (your own brochure or flyer) and say out loud that you’re “really looking forward to meeting them” – which makes them feel “heard” and “special”, like they’re not the 50th person you’ve spoken to today.
Once you start to make a ‘connection’ with them, they’ll see you in a different light.
- Before you hang up the phone, you could perhaps say something like, “If there’s any chance whatsoever that you can’t make it, would you be able/be so kind as to call/text/email me to let me know? I have another appointment outside my office (or whatever makes sense for you to say) before (or after) yours, and it would really help me if I knew you weren’t able to make it for any reason. Thanks so much for understanding! Looking forward to finally meeting you in person :-)”.
Say all of this with a smile in your voice so they start to feel like they’ve just got to know you a bit better. 🙂
After customers show up
When potential customers show up, be grateful – let them know how pleased you are, be very friendly and continue the conversation you may have started over the phone, email or text message. After all, you’re trying to build a business relationship which might last years, and benefit you both.
If the potential customers didn’t show up:
- do not stalk them by sending a bunch of disappointed emails
- do not call them and make them feel bad
- do not send lots of texts saying, “Where are you????”
The reason you don’t do any of these things is you don’t know (yet) what happened – there may have been an emergency of some kind, there may have been a situation which meant they could not contact you – if you are angry or show your disappointment, or STALK that potential customer (as mentioned above), then the business relationship is over before it started.
If they didn’t show up, you could wait 24 hours and contact them back, and ask if you can still be of any help to them – don’t be angry or disappointed, don’t make them feel bad, but be genuinely friendly. If the relationship is meant to be, then this is the call which might decide it one way or the other.
If you always remain calm and friendly in all your business dealings, everyone around you will appreciate that.
These techniques have worked for me and others I’ve recommended them to when trying to make sure potential customers show up, perhaps they might help you too – remember to educate your potential customers by giving them plenty of information so they know how you and your business work – so if they don’t show up, you’ll know how to handle it with grace.