I’m Not a Babysitter

I’ve always refused to make reminder calls. In part, because it’s a time-consuming pain in the patootie. Especially for a night owl like me who’s already fighting to survive in a diurnal society. Most people expect businesses to make same-day calls. That would entail getting up at 8 a.m. every day and calling each person on my schedule for the day.
But, inevitably, what I found would happen when I did try the reminder call thing, was that it gave people the opportunity to weasel out. Sure, in most cases, you get voicemail (or, back in the day, an answering machine), but if you actually end up talking to the client, you say, “Hi Mary, this is Maggie with the Art of Nailz. I just wanted to remind you that you have a nail appointment scheduled for tomorrow at 11:30 a.m.” What would happen would be that Mary would pause for about four seconds while she processed what I just said. Then she’d say, “Oh! Hi Maggie! You know, I meant to call you — I’m not going to be able to make it.”
I used to think, “Gee, sure glad I called. Otherwise she would have just stood me up.” But it didn’t take too many years in the business before I noticed that, in most cases, people didn’t no-show if they didn’t get a call. Like that call gave them an out. If they just had the appointment in their schedule and never heard from me, they assumed they were expected to show up and usually did.
So I learned early that it wasn’t in my best interest to call my clients to remind them to be responsible adults and honor their commitments. It worked out far better to just leave them alone and let them prove they were responsible adults who were expected to honor their commitments.
Which led to the development of my philosophy that I was a nail technician, not a babysitter. It was not my responsibility to hand-hold my clients. No one calls me to remind me of my schedule (and it would annoy me if they did). If you make an appointment, you should be responsible and mature enough to be prepared and able to remember and honor that appointment. If you aren’t, then you have no business scheduling appointments. And if you have no business scheduling appointments, it’s best we all learn that as soon as possible so I know that I can’t rely on you and can recommend that a business that works on an appointment basis might not be the best fit for you.
Now I have online scheduling software that sends out e-mail confirmations when an appointment is booked and then both an e-mail and a text reminder 24 hours before the appointment. People like it. No shows are pretty rare these days, and they are almost always first-time clients. But then, it’s been like that for years, so maybe it’s not about the software. Or maybe the reminders help keep the new client no-show rate down.

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