How to Use Client Waitlist Management Software
In a wellness business, your revenue is directly related to your ability to keep your schedule full. However, when clients cancel their appointments, even within the restrictions of your cancellation policy, that can have a direct impact on your business’ performance.
Despite strategies such as appointment reminders, confirmations, and cancellation policies, client cancellations are bound to happen. Having a client waitlist in place and using a waitlist management software can help you quickly fill those open appointments and avoid losing revenue. Here, we’ve compiled our best practices for creating and managing a client waitlist for your wellness business.
Creating Your Client Appointment Waitlist
The first step to having an efficient waitlist strategy is to actually build up a list of clients; both new clients looking for an initial appointment, and current clients looking to meet with you sooner. Once you have established your business and have a wide client base, it is possible that your schedule will reach a saturation point in which you are unable to take on new clients. However, this does not mean you should stop taking inquiries from new clients or focusing on lead generation strategies. Having a waitlist of clients who are ready to work with you as space does open up in your schedule, or you bring on another provider, you already have eager clients willing to sign up.
As for your waitlist of current clients, this should be filled with clients who would like to get an appointment with you sooner, or change the time of their appointment to be more optimal for their schedule. You or your administrative staff should encourage clients to get on the waitlist when they book appointments; keeping this waitlist full is the best way for it to be effective. Remind clients there is no commitment to signing up on the waitlist; it is genuinely for their benefit so they can see the practitioner sooner or be notified if an ideal appointment time opens up. You can even include the option to sign up in your newsletter or appointment reminders, so clients have a variety of opportunities to join.
Best Ways to Optimize Your Waitlist Software
✨ Be Ready to Use It
In order for your waitlist to actually be effective, you need to be ready to use it when a space opens up in your schedule. As spots free up, you and your team should have a strategy in place for reaching out to waiting clients. Studies have shown that the most important factor in filling a spot is the number of waiting clients you reach out to to fill the spot; if you are a practice that knows your clients well, you may only need to contact one client to fill the spot, if you know their appointment preferences. However, after the first client, 7 has been found to be the ideal number of clients to contact, at a 40% fill rate; contacting 2-5 clients showed a much lower return rate.
✨ Be Strategic About How You Contact Waitlist Clients
When a spot opens up in your schedule, it can feel like a mad rush to fill it, especially if it is last minute. However, it’s important to maintain professionalism when reaching out to clients to bring them off the waitlist. For example, even if a client cancels at 10pm for their appointment at 11am the next morning, wait until normal business hours to contact the client next in line on the waitlist. This avoids catching your client off guard and interrupting them at an inappropriate time. Chances are, if they are free at 11am the night before, they’ll still be free by 9am the next day.
Also be sure to use your client’s preferred method of communication, to ensure quick responses. When a new client is added to your waitlist management software, be sure to ask them how they prefer to be contacted when a spot opens up. Text messaging has been shown to be the most commonly preferred method for clients, as well as the method that has the highest response rate. However, not all of your clients will be tech-savvy, and some may prefer a call or email.
✨ Use Your Insights from Your Waitlist to Make Business Decisions
Analyzing waitlists and response rates can provide important insights into your business operations, and can help you make staffing and scheduling decisions. First of all, the size of your waitlist can help you determine if and when it is appropriate to bring on another provider to your practice. If clients are waiting too long to work with you, they are likely to go find another provider; therefore, it may be time to bring on another provider.
Seeing when clients prefer to book appointments can also help you build both you and your providers’ schedules to accommodate client demands. While your providers have set availability, scheduling them at times when clients aren’t making appointments is not cost-effective for your business. If you have reporting capabilities within your waitlist management software, you can also run reports to see the most popular appointment times, as well as the times when clients most often cancel.
Using Healthie’s Software to Optimize Your Waitlist
Healthie is a practice management solution for wellness professionals, that enables practitioners to both run their business and engage with clients. With modern and intuitive scheduling and client waitlist features, Healthie offers automated appointment reminders, online client booking, built in telehealth support for individual and group calls, and much more.
If you've created a Group Appointment type within Healthie, you have the option to set a "maximum number of attendees" that can book this session. If capacity is reached, clients will not see any availability for this appointment (rendering it not-bookable). To help providers maximize attendance for appointments, we've released an optional "Waitlist" setting for group appointments. When you create a new group appointment type, or edit a pre-existing type, you can enable the "Waitlist" setting.
When a spot opens up, if there is one client on the waitlist, the spot will automatically be filled by them. If you have multiple clients on the waitlist, the spot will go to the first client to confirm they will be joining the appointment. Read more about how Healthie's Group Waitlist feature works here.
See how Healthie can help you connect with clients, sell your wellness services, and streamline your business operations. Start your free trial today.
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