3 Rules to handle client cancellations

Three rules to handle client cancellations

Fabienne Fredrickson
August 21, 2013

client-cancellationsI get a lot of questions about how to handle client cancellations. This is such a common problem, but many business owners have difficulty knowing the best way to deal with a client who cancels at the last minute. What I’ve found is that you need to know three basic concepts to address the situation.

1. Communicate Rules Up Front. When a client signs up, you send them your welcome letter and packet which could be sent via snail mail or email. Instead of many separate pages, you can create one big PDF document with all your policies and procedures.

In this document, spell out all the ground rules about calling, cancellations, in person versus phone or Skype, etc. Ask your clients to be sure to read the full document to avoid any misunderstandings later, then sign it and send it back to you. People like to know what the rules are because it makes things easier. In doing this, you are setting up boundaries before they start working with you so they know how you work.

2. Address Boundary Issues Directly. If a client breaks one of your rules or policies, I recommend that you copy and paste the section from your policy agreement and send it to them in an email. You can say something like, “I just want to remind you of my policy about cancellations so we understand each other. This is how I work. We’ll let it go this time. I know how life gets in the way. But please understand, next time you’ll forfeit your session” or whatever the transgression was about.

3. Services Are Prepaid. When working with clients who are signing up for a series of sessions with you, having them prepay for the service works best. Then they are invested in working with you. If they face potentially forfeiting a session, they are more likely to show up and follow your policies. This is a question of setting up boundaries and enforcing them. You don’t have to be mean. You can be very loving during this exchange about policies. The point is, your clients will know what is okay and what is not okay.

Your Client Attraction Assignment
Have you created your welcome package yet? Do you have your policies all spelled about cancellations or other situations that frequently crop up with clients? Make time this week to prepare your policies if you haven’t already taken care of this. If you did this a while ago, take time to review and update them as needed.

Now, if you’re just starting out and trying to fill your practice in the FIRST place, then follow a step-by-step system that feels easy and authentic to you. The Client Attraction  System® gives you the most important things to do to set up simple, solid systems, so that you consistently fill your pipeline and continually get new clients. It’s all step-by-step, not a big mishmash of things. So, you do step one of the system, and when you’re done with that, you move on to step two, and so on. All the tools, scripts, templates, and examples are handed to you on a silver platter. Easy. You can get it at TheClientAttractionSystem.com.

  • Lisa Dale Jones

    Last week I had a client confirm with me for a meeting at his office, but when I got there a crisis had arisen that he had to deal with immediately. He knew he had forfeited the price of that (prepaid) session and apologized, and I agreed to add a little extra time to his remaining sessions in September. That way I still get to help him, but I don’t have to go back an extra time and he’s thinking well of me and will continue to be a client for the long-term.

  • Tim Gillette

    Love this one. Yes we are in business and we need to set the ground rules to do business with us.

    I make all sign agreement and payment is on automated system, payment does not go through an email is sent from shopping cart to get payment.

    Yes info packet , and I do mine in series of emails with video pages that is me talking with them. The see my eyes they hear my voice, but its also in a pdf format for them.

    • Good for you for having things in place! Thanks for stopping and commenting Tim.

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