Profit in a driving school is directly related to lesson hours delivered and paid. The volume of lessons hours is a function available instructor hours to offer and sell to consumers. Consequently sales effectiveness and the efficient allocation of jobs will maximise the business results. Other articles explore the sales and diary management considerations.
However a booking that does not proceed for any reason will reduce the business results especially if it is unpaid. In other articles I explore cancellations and no shows considerations.
In the article we are considering if there is any value to the business in reminding customers of bookings.
There are five compelling reasons why appointment reminders are essential in driving schools.
1. It’s good customer service! An appointment reminder is a positive customer experience, a touch point to validate the customers decision to choose you over competitors.
2. It’s ethical. Reminding customers before any cancellation fees apply allows the customer the opportunity to reschedule without cancellation fees.
3. Reduces No Shows and short notice Cancellations. There are two characteristics of driving lesson appointments which increase the risk of cancellation and no show. Firstly the person who makes the appointment is often not the customer, eg a parent booking for a child which therefore relies on good communication between them. Secondly, the appointments are made weeks in advance allowing for customers to forget.
4. Happier instructors. Instructors lose time getting to and from the appointment plus the appointment itself. Short notice cancellations make it difficult to re-sell the spot to another customer.
5. Reduces bad debts. Unless the appointment is prepaid it is unlikely that a no show/cancellation fee will be collected. Given the small fee it makes recovery effort futile. Consequently the instructor and driving school lose money.
Driving School Manager allows for automating a range of processes involving appointments to reduce loss from no show and cancellations, including:
1. Cancellation rules preset for automatic application on cancellation processing
2. SMS and email booking confirmations to both parents and learners
3. SMS and email booking reminders to customers
4. Calendar posting using ical to customer PC calendar
5. Automated warning and charging fee when applicable for customer cancellations via the customer portal