Handling Cancelations - Cleaning Talk - Professional Cleaning and Restoration Forum
 
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post #1 of Old 04-07-2014, 07:29 PM Thread Starter
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Handling Cancelations

I've been running a small cleaning business in south Florida for over a year. I've established a group of reliable regulars and when I have a customer that begins to cancel appointments at the last minute or reschedule frequently, I become annoyed. I'm very careful about the way I speak to them because I don't want to lose their business.
Today this happened with one of my very sweet customers, she had an appointment early tomorrow and called me this evening to "reschedule." She's done this frequently over the last month and half, but always says she doesn't want me to quit. I told her this evening that I noticed she was doing this frequently and would prefer that she be honest about keeping my services (I clean her house twice a month for about 6 months).
I guess I'm feeling bad about being so direct, and of course I don't want to lose the business. However, I feel justified. She's no longer a loyal customer if she does this, and I can eventually replace her time slot. I just feel uncomfortable asserting myself, but know it's necessary.
Has anyone had this problem, and how did you handle it?
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post #2 of Old 06-16-2014, 03:58 PM
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You have a few choices. You can let her know cancellations cost you money and that you have to charge for cancellations less than 24 hours out..or whatever. You can mark up your prices to cover cancellations and spread it across all customers. Third, you can offer the customer two pricing options: one with a cancellation fee and a higher price without the cancellation fee. That puts the customer back in control and makes them happy if presented properly.

Jim
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post #3 of Old 07-02-2014, 10:41 PM
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In addition to this, be sure that your customer is aware of the cancellation policy your organisation has. Perhaps you could include this on your website or provide it to your clients when confirming their appointment. It's best to ensure this is provided in writing (i.e. via email).
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post #4 of Old 07-08-2014, 12:24 PM
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Well, she might respect you more after you've brought this up. When I was doing freelance small business communications, I made sure people understood that if they changed the parameters of the agreement, the price went up. Yes, I can have it for you in two weeks at $X. If you want it in one week it's 2x$X. If you want it tomorrow, it costs quadruple. So maybe in a month or so, after the heat is off, you could say that you are thinking of putting in a reschedule fee. Make it enough to get her attention; maybe half the cost of the call? And I would only tell her about it; the other customers don't need to know about this.
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post #5 of Old 07-09-2014, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MHelpdesk View Post
Well, she might respect you more after you've brought this up. When I was doing freelance small business communications, I made sure people understood that if they changed the parameters of the agreement, the price went up. Yes, I can have it for you in two weeks at $X. If you want it in one week it's 2x$X. If you want it tomorrow, it costs quadruple. So maybe in a month or so, after the heat is off, you could say that you are thinking of putting in a reschedule fee. Make it enough to get her attention; maybe half the cost of the call? And I would only tell her about it; the other customers don't need to know about this.
One way to make the policy go down better is to recognize that the customer's time is valuable as well. Your policy should include a two-way cancellation fee. If you don't show up you owe the customer as well. One of the things I truly hate is a doctor's office that charges a cancellation fee but when you go to their office they say "oh, we're sorry we're behind and you will need to wait an hour". Not good business. Having it be two way shows the customer you recognize everyone's time is valuable.

Jim
www.pacificsteamco.com
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post #6 of Old 07-23-2014, 11:15 AM
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Pacificsteam is absolutely right! Having a two-way cancellation fee could really help in such situations.
Regarding speaking to your customer more directly, don't hesitate to do so. While keeping a caring and polite tone, tell her you've noticed she is cancelling frequently and if the reason is in you, you would like to make up for it by offering her a discounted/free basic service. All because you value her as a customer.
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