The Throughlines Blog

How to keep your clients happy whilst enforcing cancellation policies

Business, Communication, Patient care

There is no avoiding the reality that, for a myriad of reasons, from time to time, your clients will need to cancel their appointments. It can be very frustrating, especially when your diary is maxed out and you’ve had to turn others away. Of course, everyone is human, and things happen, but you shouldn’t have to bear the costs associated with a cancelled appointment. Believe it or not, cancellations are a wonderful opportunity…

Why you should have a cancellation fee policy.

We all know that monetary charges, however small, influence perceived value.

When a client knows they will have to pay a fee for a last-minute change, it helps them understand that your services are specialised and in-demand. It is a clear indicator that your time is precious and deserves compensation.

Staying mindful of cancellation fees can help a client reframe their engagement with you as an investment not to take lightly.

The policy reminds the client that they are not the only person you are helping. Cancellations should occur as early as possible to give others a chance to book with you. This thought in itself promotes an altruistic attitude, placing value on the treatment that you offer. It frames your service as a finite resource not to waste.

Respect for your time as a service provider is critical. Time is usually the only constraint you work to and can charge for. Time really is money in a health clinic or practice. To run your business and finances with as little disruption as possible, you need a strict enforcement of the cancellation policy.

The moment happens…a client calls to cancel

The moment to enforce the fee can be a very tricky one for some health practices to manage.

It can be awkward or emotional. Clients may become upset or angry. In many cases, they feel betrayed by the person who, in every other scenario, cares so much about them. They may be dealing with a situation that is beyond their control. They may have simply forgotten the appointment. At worst, they don’t respect the appointment in the first place. No matter the reason, the moment will surely occur – the phone rings or the inbox buzzes with a ‘cancellation notice’.

This moment need not be the ‘elephant in the room’, or an awkward conversation.

For us at Throughlines, this moment is an opportunity. It’s a chance to truly connect with the heart of your service, as well as the situation the client has found themselves in. It’s an opportunity to convey value and ‘flip the vibe’ from a tense situation into something positive to look forward to.

How we handle the ‘cancellation fee’ chat with your clients

Our admin team is professionally trained. We’re equipped with the interpersonal skills needed to connect with your clients. We reframe the cancellation fee from being a stressful issue, to an unfortunate but reasonable ‘blip’ on the path to good health. It may not have been planned, but the fee is still a valuable part of the engagement with you and all for the greater good.

When a client calls to cancel and the cancellation policy is in play, we:

  • Listen to and empathise with their current situation
  • Pose the question once more…

Is there any way you could make your appointment?
It would be such a shame for you to miss out and I would love to help you avoid a late notice fee

  • If not, we reinforce your value, staying closely connected with the clients position
  • Empathise with their new situation – Not only are they dealing with the situation that has landed in their lap, but they are also missing out on the value YOU provide. It’s a scenario that deserves genuine sensitivity
  • Plan their way to fixing the issue as smoothly as possible. Getting them back on track with their treatment plan is the ultimate goal

We champion you and your services with positivity and solution focused thinking. The patient is so lucky to be on your books! We have a conversation with them. We’re clear, friendly and firm in our language and our manner. We ensure we succeed by rescheduling them as soon as possible.

This approach creates a positive impact. An environment where the client’s appreciation of your services, and their desire to meet with you, increases after needing to pay a cancellation fee.

Leave it to us

It is very difficult for a practitioner themselves to achieve this outcome in the same manner, because it’s difficult for them to portray their own value in the same way. “You’re so lucky to be on my books!” has a very different ring to it!

It can be stressful and mentally draining to hold the awkward conversation. That energy is best left channeled into practicing your specialty. Their personality plays a big role, as does the practitioners level of specific administration or customer service training. Gaps in these areas cause strain that tends to negatively affect the therapeutic relationship they have worked so hard to create.

Authentic and calm – we’re here to help

If you would rather avoid these conversations and have experts manage this tricky part of business, leave it to us. We’re experts in creating authentic connections with the public. We support your policies in their entirety, leaving you with zero awkwardness and no cancellation fee policy trouble.

Remember, You are amazing and well-deserving of payment whether the client attends or not.

Contact us to streamline your cancellation policy systems today.

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