No Show Cancellation Policy: What To Say And Write

I’ve been writing a series about no-show cancellation policy, and I’d like to go into more details today.

My cancellation policy is a combination to deter both no-show rates as well as deterring late-comers.

In our written/documented policies and verbal ones, we share this:

We respect our therapists and patients’ time. Therefore if you are late for the session, we will still finish on the same pre-arranged finish time, to ensure that the patients after you who comes on time, will be able to enjoy starting on time and having the full therapy session.

If you are unable to make it for your therapy session, kindly inform us 12 hours in advance so that we can give that slot to a patient on our waitlist. If you do not inform us in advance, we will bill you a cancellation fee that is the full price of the session. Thank you for understanding.

This is printed large enough to easily be read and goes on the wall at the front desk in every of our clinics; a summarized version goes onto every SMS reminder, and it is in the New Patient Form where the front desk briefs the patients and the patient will have to initial on it to acknowledge that they had read and understood it (we have a few patients who still say that they “didn’t know” but that’s not a good reason because they have at least 3-4 exposures to it).

If you hadn’t started it yet, and if your freelancing/solo practice has late-comers or no-showers, quickly start it – yes, some will be flustered and make some noise, but generally 95% of your patients will be happy with you.

Is that true? 95% or more will be happy with the policy?

Of course.

Imagine that you have a place you want to go for, say a date, a dinner, an event etc, and you call or email or sms to make a reservation. And you’re given a date and time, and you show up on time.

Imagine that even if you show up on time, you’re delayed, and the person in-charge tells you “sorry, the person before you came late, so you have to wait.” (Basically he’s telling you: Too Bad).

Then what?

If instead, you see the person in-charge telling the late-comer to finish on time even if they came late, and they have to pay in full, what do you see, think and feel?

“You’d feel that you’re honored, and the in-charge respects you and your time.”

So if your practice is full of late-comers and no-showers, basically you’ve been passively punishing your good, on-time, and show-uppers…and worse, you’ve been rewarding the late-comers and no-showers.

And that’s why your practice may have quite a few late-comers and no-showers.

Once you put in this policy and enforce it, trust me, your good patients WILL LOVE YOU FOR IT.

But what about those late-comers and no-showers? Don’t they get to be taken cared of?

Great question!

That’d depend on you.

I will first and foremost train them to come on time and show up for treatments without punishing my existing good patients and within my clinic timing; if they cannot comply, I will enforce the no-show/late policy and then send them away.

It’s easy for me to write this now, because I’ve actually tested this on:

  • habitual late-comers/no-showers
  • unruly and rude patients
  • patients who are demanding and “threaten to go elsewhere”

I smile to them, and ask them to comply. If they don’t, they can go elsewhere.

And I’m fine with it.

I’ve done the numbers: if I have even up to 5% of such patients, it causes me so much annoyance and irritation to me and my front desk and therapists, and it takes so much time to handle and pacify them that…when I remove such patients from the business,

  • we are so much more relaxed and zen-like
  • we have more time to take care of our good patients

It is a very simple and straightforward answer.

I will not tolerate such patients, ever. It’s a waste of resources.

Of course, dealing with patients in pain, sometimes they may lash out, so at times, we learn how to maneuver and manage them. But once we investigate and discover that it is the patient themselves who are unruly, rude, threatening – I’ve given the simple instruction to blacklist the patient and send them away.

It is your business, regardless if you’re a freelancing therapist or running clinic(s). Make sure you’re happy. If you find it difficult to do, find someone who can help you do this.

Your therapy business will transform - for the better =)

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