When you run an appointment-based business, punctuality is the key to success. But time isn’t always in our favor. There are times when you just can’t attend a meeting you have already set with a client. It could be a personal matter, last-minute impromptu events, or even clashed appointments due to software errors. What will save you from losing or upsetting your client is a professional appointment rescheduling.
Rescheduling an appointment is risky business. If you don’t get it right, you might lose clients and earn a bad reputation. Now, before you freak out, let me tell you that I’m going to teach you how to manage rescheduling clients like a true boss.
How to Reschedule an Appointment
The perfect way to reschedule with a client is through email. The reschedule email itself is what makes or breaks your business. It must be professional, empathetic, and understanding. It’s on you to make it up to your client, so you must ensure the email sends the right message.
The right rescheduling email has five segments. Each segment plays an important part in drafting a professional rescheduling email. Below are the instructions you need to write each segment:
Greeting is the first part of your email. Open the email by calling your client by their first name. Follow it up by mentioning the time and date of the original appointment. For example, “Dear Claire, I’m emailing you regarding our nail appointment on May 4 at 4:00 p.m.”
2. Request to reschedule
After the greeting, you have to tell your client the email’s subject. Clearly mention that you request to reschedule your appointment. Ensure that the client knows that this is not a cancellation and you just want to change the date and/or time. Include the reason for rescheduling. You can share as much as you are comfortable, and it also has to be appropriate for the situation. I mean, if a family member had an accident, all you have to say is “due to a family emergency.” A good example of a request to reschedule is: “Unfortunately, I need to reschedule our appointment due to an urgent family matter.”
Your next step is to check availability. If you already have potential dates and times offer those. You can also share a link to your updated self-scheduling calendar. If not, ask your client for a date and time they are available so you can work it out from there. If multiple people are attending the meeting, ensure that everyone is comfortable and agrees on the same date/time. For example, “I updated the calendar with newly available time slots. Feel free to reschedule as you wish. If the new calendar is inconvenient, please let me know when you are able to meet.”
To conclude your email, apologize for the inconvenience caused and thank your client for understanding. Showing respect for their time and apologizing for the trouble shows how you care about your client and how important it is for you to have the appointment. It means that you are responsible and professional in the business. For example, “I’m deeply sorry for the trouble. I look forward to meeting you on a different date/time. Thank you for understanding.”
Close the email formally and professionally. It is also a good suggestion to add your contact information so the client can talk to you on the phone about additional information. “Sincerely” is a decent example of an email closing.
Reschedule Email Template
Now, I carefully drafted an email templated based on the segments I mentioned above. You can use this template or use it as inspiration for writing your own:
Dear [client’s first name],
I’m writing to you regarding our [subject] appointment on [date] at [time]. Unfortunately, I have to reschedule our meeting due to an urgent personal matter. I am available on [potential date(s)] at [potential time(s)]. If these dates or times are inconvenient for you, please let me know the dates and times that work for you.
I am deeply sorry for the inconvenience caused. I look forward to our appointment on a different date/time. Thank you in advance for understanding.
[Your contact information]
When to Send a Rescheduling Email
There are different reasons why you might not make it to your appointment. You may not feel well enough or have difficulties making it to the venue due to transportation issues. The real question is, when is the best time to send a rescheduling email?
The answer is as soon as possible. Email your client as soon as you find out that you are not going to make it to the appointment. It is best to inform the client at least 24 hours before the original appointment. But, sometimes things happen last minute, and time is running late. In situations like this, ditch the back and forth emailing since the client might not see your email on time. Consider using other communication methods like calling the client to let them know about rescheduling on the phone.
7 Best Practices for Rescheduling Clients
You know the basics now; you know how to write a professional email to reschedule a meeting. But I have some tips and tricks up my sleeve to make sure you draft an email that is respectful and helps build a better relationship with your clients.
1. Use a descriptive subject line
Let’s say you write the best email to reschedule your appointment. What happens if your client misses your email? Disaster. That’s why it is crucial to have a direct and informative subject line. Include your name and appointment date. And, do not forget the word “reschedule.”
2. Communicate directly
Be transparent and straightforward about rescheduling. Direct communication is the way to make sure your client’s trust in you and your business is intact. By telling your client directly about your need to reschedule, you show respect for their time as well.
3. Avoid over-explaining
The more you talk, the more it’s going to sound like a boring excuse. As transparent as you need to be, you also have to be concise. You don’t need to go into details and over-share about the issue. Keep the email short and crystal-clear, so your client won’t get tangled in the information that is unrelated to them and miss the important information they need for rescheduling.
4. Offer specific dates and times to reschedule
Always provide specific dates and times to express your genuine wish to reschedule. The best way to do so is to offer a link to your updated calendar so your client can view their options. However, if you are indecisive or do not have a clear idea about when you can offer a reschedule, do tell your client that you will follow up with another email.
5. Give advance notice
As I have already mentioned, it is best to inform your client at least 24 hours before the appointment. Even if that is not possible, inform them as soon as possible so your client can make other plans during the original appointment time.
6. Make the next steps clear
Don’t let your client get lost in the process. Rescheduling is already confusing enough; Picking a new date, planning something for the free time, and so on. Give clear instructions about the next steps, so your client knows what exactly they are expected to do.
7. Express your appreciation
Gratitude is the most important part of your email. You need your client to trust you with their time. Showing gratitude will also create a mutual obligation for your client to inform you if they ever need to reschedule or cancel an appointment with you.
Scheduling hiccups happen all the time. At first, the pressure might be terrifying, and you might be stressed out about informing your client. But, with the right instructions, you can overcome the situation and come out confident and trustworthy. The right rescheduling email will not only solve the rescheduling problem, but it will also show your clients how much you care about their time and doing business with them.