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Cancellations Don’t Have to Mean Lost Revenue


Clients cancel their appointments. It happens, but it doesn’t have to mean lost revenue and it doesn’t have to be upsetting for you or your clients. If you have an approach that is fair and you stick to it cancelations can easily be managed.

Learning Objectives:cancellations

  1. Learn the 4 steps to sticking to your cancellation policy without upsetting your clients.
  2. Understand the alternative ways to work with clients who late cancel. Including written communication and when it is OK to waive the cancelation fee.
  3. Learn why continuing to provide excellent customer service (no matter what happens) when a client late cancels might just be the difference between keeping and losing a client.

In this article I will discuss the 4 steps we take to help avoid the majority of the issues that can come up when clients cancel after our 24 hour predefined cancellation deadline. I will also discuss if and when it is ever OK to waive the cancellation fee.

Step 1 – Set Your CSRs (Customer Service Reps) Up For Success

Whenever a CSR is setting an appointment, make sure he/she remind clients, “If for whatever reason you need to reschedule, please remember to give us at least a 24 hour notice. This allows us to schedule someone else into the time slot you will be missing”.  Having your CSRs do this will regularly remind clients of the importance of advance notice and the value of your time.  It will remind clients that you do in fact have a cancelation policy in place.

Step 2 – Review Cancellation Policy During The First Session

Reviewing your cancellation policy should be a part of your first session check list. All of your trainers should review your cancellation policy and its importance during the first session. Also, make sure that your cancellation policy is clearly stated and included in the documentation your clients sign when they first start working with you.

Step 3 – Work on Something for Your Client if They Short Notice Cancel

When someone calls and short notice cancels, we always ask “Is there anything specific that you would like your trainer to work on during that time?”  That information is then relayed to the trainer who MUST use the time for the client since the client is paying for that time!

Step 4 – What to Do When a Client is Upset

This approach normally does the trick. We receive the 24 hour notice we need to run a successful business and our clients understand why we must stick to our policy.

Those steps work almost 100% of the time for us, but there is always the exception to the rule.  Some clients’ needs and some situations just can’t be resolved this way.  So…if all else fails and you don’t want to lose a client over a cancellation dispute…Try:

Remember, we are here to encourage our clients to stick to their fitness program and we can’t do that if we are constantly losing revenues from cancellations.  It is in everyone’s (yours and your clients) best interest to have a strict cancellation policy.

*IMPORTANT NOTE* If you have made the final decision to waive the fee, be sure not to do it with attitude. It is easy to get flustered and upset in these situations. But making your client feel like you are resenting waiving the fee doesn’t do anyone any good.  Make sure to continue to provide amazing customer service and go over board to solidify the relationship with that client. Remember, each client feels justified in his/her perspective like you feel justified in your stance. You don’t want them to feel like you are upset with them or don’t appreciate their business or think they are a bad person because they’ve “made” you waive the fee.