Training in a box - late and no show customers


How to train your team to handle late or no show clients

Before you do this workshop you will need to ensure your policy is clear and precise. Write down your policy then hand it out to everyone at the beginning of the workshop and read it aloud for everyone to hear.

Ask if there are any questions before going ahead.

  • Divide the team into two groups (ideally you want to choose these groups so you get people who've never worked together before). Give each group a piece of paper and ask them to define what would deter a customer from being late.

Get each team to go through their answers and ensure you write down on a white board the valid points.

You want to find these answers:

To minimise No Show and Lateness all appointments must be confirmed. Spell out the policy when booking the appointment using the words: “we have a strict policy”. You can add the appointment to their phone calendar.


Ask them to think of what they should say to a client that is late but can still attend their appointment.

Ask them to think of what they should say to a client that is late but cannot attend their appointment.

Ask them to think of what they should do if there is a No Show.

Once they have done this ask them to go through what they have discovered. You want to find these answers:

Sympathise and emphasise with the client but reinforce the policy.

Have a 3 time rules: I tell you once, I tell you twice, I even accept the 3rd time but after that, any other lateness and the customer will have to pay in full for their appointment. Each team should know to say to the customer: "remember to call us if you can't make it, the policy is now strict!". Ensure that your staff understand they have the power to politely reinforce the policy with their own clients.

Ask them to do role play. This is important even if they don't like it as it will reinforce the training. The key to this training is the clarity of the message. if you are clear and concise with your policy your staff will be too.


Valerie Delforge - Founder and CEO of Delforge + Co

Judge, Key Note Speaker, Commercial Trainer & Coach for the Beauty Industry

Become Commercially aware


Handling late clients

The problem of late clients is a difficult one.  These late clients can range from  the regulars who tend to think they can get away with it, to new ones who are not used to your strict time keeping. 

Is there a solution for such behaviour and where do I start?

1: Have a policy in place

Without a policy you cannot set expectations. If you have a policy in place whereby the client is charged for a no show they will be inclined to take you more seriously and turn up on time. A policy of this kind sets the tone for both clients and staff.

2: Implement your policy

It’s easier said than done. Yet implementing your policy should become your priority. If it isn’t, it will not happen.

Warn your existing clients a month before you put your policy in place in order to set expectations.

Any communication with your clients should then contain your policy, whether you email them or they're sitting on your chair. The policy needs to be seen for anyone to take it seriously.

3: Train your staff

Handling late clients can be very awkward. Ensure that some training is in place to avoid confusion.
Everyone has their own way of dealing with late clients, what matters is the message you put across.

A confirmation text message is a great way to prevent lateness.  An even more efficient and personalised service is to call each client as well - this way they can tell you directly whether they need to change their appointment. This is also a good way of up-selling other treatments.

4: List of the offenders

A list needs to be set up in order to find out whether there is a pattern of behaviour from certain clients. Without a list containing date, time and reason, you might make unfounded accusations. It also enables you to check what happens when you're not in.

5: Follow up

The only way the policy will function is if there is a follow up.  Of course we can be more lenient if something has occurred that's out of the customers control. However, after the 2nd offence, you should be talking to them and discussing their lateness. It's a business after all and they need to understand the importance of your policy.  After the 3rd time they should be asked to pay in full for their appointments. The likelihood is they will stop their behaviour before it comes to that but your aim in applying such a policy is to ensure you have respectful clientele.  Otherwise things can become both chaotic and frustrating!

The follow up on the offenders has got to be your priority. Think of it as a way of training your customers to behave the way you want them to. Your staff will follow that too if you take it seriously enough.

Late clients can be detrimental to your business and generate a very negative atmosphere. It's important to assess what you want to do and ensure you focus on it fully over a period of 6 months minimum. After that It will become common practice.


Valerie Delforge - Founder and CEO of Delforge + Co

Judge, Key Note Speaker, Commercial Trainer & Coach for the Beauty Industry

Become Commercially aware


5 tips on diary policies

1: 50% deposit for any treatment over £50

This is a good way to not lose out on expensive treatments and an effective way to see who is serious about their appointments.

2: Strict policy on complementary appointments

As a way of networking you may find you give out free appointments to friends, models or family. However if you aren't careful you can end up with a whole day of non profit generating customers. Even on your quiet days you must ensure there are no more than 2 complimentary customers. You can restrict complimentary appointments to quiet times to ensure your diary is not compromised on busy days.

3: A strict “no more than twice rule” for new clients

If new clients don't show up for an appointment more than twice you then charge them in advance for their next appointment. If you're clear about this policy you set expectations. It then won't be a surprise to your client when they're told to pay in advance. You can warn them: “As you know our policy is very strict, if you cannot make it do let us know 24 hours in advance”

4: A strict “3 times rule” for your regular clients

It's difficult to implement the 'no more than twice rule' with your regular clients.  But you cannot have one policy for one client and another one for someone else and if you don't tackle the problem they will carry on getting away with it.   

So if someone keeps misbehaving ask yourself if they're worth the trouble they're causing.  Make a list of customers who are not supporting the policy and manage that list by talking to them.

5: Make exception to the rule difficult to get

There are exceptions of course.  However do make it difficult for them to get away with bad behaviour.  Everything needs to be written on their notes so you can assess the pattern, if any, of this client. Discuss and talk to your clients.  Be understanding and tell them: “On this occasion we will overlook your no show, however do be aware that the next time..." Or “I understand the situation and as a gesture of goodwill I will overlook the policy”


Valerie Delforge - Founder and CEO of Delforge + Co

Judge, Key Note Speaker, Commercial Trainer & Coach for the Beauty Industry

Become Commercially aware



How to deal with late hairdressers

hji Article       (

(This article is valid for every industry)


Running a business obviously involves having to deal with staff issues and perhaps one of the most frustrating for any salon owner is the late hairdresser.

This scenario can leave you as the manager having to deal with unimpressed customers who are naturally expecting their appointment at the allotted time.  It is important to identify whether this lateness is an issue within your salon and whether there is a pattern in this particular staff member's behaviour.

These are the questions to answer:

  • Is he/she talking to your client or other staff too much?

  • Is it operational and not the fault of the hairdresser? It could possibly be  the customer’s journey within your salon causes them to arrive late in the chair.  If so you need to find out why.

  • Is it training that is needed? In which case what kind of training?

  • Do they give their clients too much attention?

There are solutions to implement within your salon which will help this type of behavior and here they are in 10 steps:

  1. Give 15 minutes extra for 6 weeks to every appointment so your hairdresser has more time. This will show that you are keen to support them in improving their services.

  2. Calculate how this will affect their takings.

  3. Calculate how this then affects their commission if that is the case.

  4. For the first 6 weeks, monitor how he/she improves or not as the case may be.

  5. Bring models in between for them to practice on their timing. Ensure that each model is given a feedback form to give you a clear idea of the experience they received. This form should include the timing of the service.

  6. After 6 weeks: have a meeting regarding his/her progression

  7. Look at his/her takings and target them accordingly

  8. Take the 15 minutes away unless they need to keep it for another 6 weeks. Do bear in mind that when you give someone 1 hour to do a haircut, they are most likely to take 1 hour. Make them understand the aim is to ensure they do the haircut within the recommended 45 minutes.

  9. Bring in more models. Again ensure they have a form to fill in.

  10. If you have chosen to take another 6 weeks, after that decide whether you want to put them on performance management or whether they have successfully achieved everything you wanted them to.

Implementing this procedure for such behaviour will ensure this member of staff will either improve or feel too much pressure to carry on.

Your attitude towards such issues will make it clear to your team the importance of finishing or starting on time. 

If you choose to take the performance management route, ensure that everything you do is written down.  This way you have proof of all the support you have given if you need to dismiss someone.

It's inevitable you will have days when everything runs late but when it becomes a problem, it's easy to take control with these steps!


Valerie Delforge - Founder and CEO of Delforge + Co

Consulting agency and Business Academy specializing in the Hair and Beauty industry