Life would be much easier if everyone respected everyone else’s time, right? BUT occasionally there is that one PT client who notoriously cancels and reschedules… and cancels and reschedules again and again.
Your time is valuable so make sure clients know this… set your boundaries from the start!
Here are some practices to follow to make PT cancellations the exception, not the norm:
1. Enforce a cancellation policy– A 24-hour cancellation notice is the standard at my fitness center and we have clients sign a sheet stating that they understand this. If they cancel within this time frame (or no-show), they will be charged for the session. Late cancellations mean we’re less likely to fill that time slot with another client which, in turn, means loss of income.
Am I flexible with this policy? Of course. If a client has a family emergency or comes down with the flu that day of our session, that’s one thing… but take notice if you start to see a pattern emerge with certain clients and re-clarify your policy with them.
It’s good business practice to also hold yourself to the same standards you expect from your clients. If I find myself in a position where I’m unable to meet a client and it’s within 24 hours from our scheduled session, I will always make it up to them with a free PT session.
2. Maintain a consistent schedule with clients each week – All of my clients have a day and time that is specifically set aside for them… for instance, every week on Mondays at 5:30pm and Fridays at 6:00am, Rachel and I meet for her training sessions. She treats it like an important meeting (which, it is!) and is less likely to have conflicts since she knows when our sessions are taking place.
If she were to start repeatedly cancelling and rescheduling, then I’d talk to her about changing her day and time to one that better fits our schedules.
3. Check-in with them – As annoying as it is to have someone constantly cancelling, there may be something deeper going on… are they unsatisfied with the program they’re doing with you? Are stress levels from work reaching astronomical proportions?
Before assuming they’re just flaking out on you for one excuse or another, have a private conversation with them and try to gain some insight into their reasons… and see how you can work with your client to help get them back on track.
4. Remove them from your clientele– If you feel as though you’ve set all the expectations, enforced the policies and tried everything you can but they continue to cancel on you, it’s time to have a discussion with this client to explain that you are not the right trainer for them and either refer them to another trainer who might be better suited for their schedule/needs or simply wish them well in their fitness journey.
Keep in mind that not every client-trainer relationship will be a good match… sometimes it’s best to just part ways.
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She has a B.S. in Business Administration from Framingham State University and a M.S. in Physical Education/ Strength & Conditioning from Bridgewater State University. She is certified through the National Strength and Conditioning Association as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and with USA Weightlifting as a Sports Performance Coach.
Moe lives in Boston where she keeps busy crossing things off her fitness bucket list.
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