Today`s blog covers one issue that is particularly annoying, that being when clients cancel at the last minute, with excuses like “I can’t make it today.” or “I’ve been sick all day, can’t make it.” every so often things come up that are unavoidable like having to stay longer than expected at work, or a family member suddenly gets sick.
So occasionally it’s a genuine reason, especially when it’s an early morning client, after all anyone can wake up sick, not much you can do about that really. But mostly it’s a lack of respect for your time, for example if someone has been sick all day and they cancel at the last minute they’ve had more than enough time to inform you, but for some reason chose not to, the reason being they simply don’t care.
My experience with this issue
Personally, I experienced this kind of problem with evening clients, after a hard day’s work not everyone feels like turning out again once they get home from work and start relaxing, or the weather might have turned bad since getting home. Understandable as it may be for not wanting to work out that particular night, you are at the gym waiting for them, you are keeping your end of the deal up, and they aren’t.
Then of course you get the clients who simply don’t bother to show up at all without informing you of anything! Chances are if you let them get away with it, then they’ll keep doing it. As a trainer you’ll get to know which clients pull this stunt regularly, and the quicker you put a stop to it the better it will be for you.
One such client was Maggie, she showed up claiming she was so serious about working out and never missed, just needed a few fresh ideas so decided to hire a trainer, that’s fair enough, but by the looks of her she looked like she`d never missed a meal, not a training session!
She loved my style and paid for 20 sessions, she said it was just what she wanted and couldn’t wait for the next session, funny thing was when the next session came around, I was there, but Maggie wasn’t. I called her and she told me her dog got loose earlier and she`d be there next session. With no thought of an apology for not showing up, this told me that this could possibly be an ongoing problem with Maggie.
That was to be the case unfortunately, one excuse after another, and on more than one occasion she actually admitted she had totally forgotten about having a training session with me. Kind of strange considering she was so serious about her workouts. Whatever!
As she had already signed to say she understood these sessions had to be used within 3 months, which is more than long enough for anyone to complete 20 sessions, and if she didn’t show up without first informing me, she`d lose the sessions. So, I simply marked them off whether she was there or not, after all I was there, I hadn’t forgotten she had a training session even if she had!
She came back a few times and we completed a total of 6 worthless sessions, after a while she just stopped making any excuses and not bothering to let me know anything at all. Her remaining 14 sessions were soon over with her not informing me she wasn’t coming one single time!
Strangely enough a year later she emailed me saying she wanted a refund for the remaining 14 sessions! I quickly emailed her back a copy of the contract she signed knowing she had already lost those sessions. She never responded, nice try lady, but I had already covered my ass!
Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile!
Good lesson here for any new trainers, make sure they understand they will be charged for the session if they don’t show up with no warning, better still, actually get them to sign their name understanding that little issue before you even start training them. Many will complain about that claiming it’s unfair, but how unfair was it when they decided to not come for their training session without even letting you know? After all, you made the effort to be there on time.
A trainer’s time is as valuable to you as a client’s time is to them. They wouldn’t like to be treated that way if it were the other way around, so don’t let them give you the runaround! Be firm but fair, they will respect you more for it, and if they don’t, then you probably don’t need them as clients.
Again, if they know they can get away with it they’ll keep doing it, and wasting your time, so nip it in the bud before it becomes a regular problem. The old saying “give them an inch and they’ll take a mile.” certainly applies here.
Any trainers reading this agree this is one of the most common and frustrating issues with clients? If you experienced this how did you deal with it?