No Show Passengers? The Best Solutions in the Transport Industry
Transport providers value timeliness and strict scheduling, but they still see a lot of their resources wasted on no-show passengers. Despite their efforts to improve customer experience and service, no-shows are still quite common, even in the world of non-emergency medical transport.
Many transport providers are exploring different types of solutions to no-shows, from technology to proper customer care. But would these solutions benefit the provider in the long run? And do they really reduce the instances of passenger no shows?
What is a No Show?
A no show’s meaning is when a passenger does not appear for the scheduled trip. They do not contact the transport provider in advance to change their booking schedule.
A no show is not a cancellation. A cancellation happens when passengers cancel trips a few days or even hours before the scheduled trip. By informing the provider and driver in advance, they have a window of time to fill up that slot for another trip.
No-shows are when passengers simply are not at their pick-up point when the driver arrives. This is a waste of resources for transport companies, as they will not be paid for the time and fuel used to drive to the location.
Types of No Shows
There are several types of no show passengers in the NEMT industry. All of them cause wasted resources for a transport business and could impact their revenue and customer service.
Missed appointments often happen when passengers are very late and do not inform the driver or the provider. Drivers are happy to wait for passengers within a certain grace period. However, beyond this period, the driver’s schedule will be disrupted.
On busy days, NEMT drivers have at least three to four appointments. A delay in one trip could affect their timeliness for the next one.
Canceled at the Time of Schedule
Some passengers only inform the provider or driver that they are canceling the trip at the exact time of their appointment. The driver may already be at the pick-up point or close by.
This is a massive waste of the company’s resources and the driver’s time. The provider cannot replace the scheduled trip because of the no show. The driver will then have one less trip for the day, which impacts their productivity and the company’s revenue.
No Show Patient Appointments
These are passengers who become appointment no shows due to an emergency or a failure to remember their medical transport schedule. Some passengers fail to show up because they are physically unable or facing a difficult medical situation.
Regardless of the reason, no show appointments occur when passengers fail to cancel a trip and do not show up at the appointed location and time.
Drivers/Transport No Show
Sometimes, the driver or the transport provider does not show up at the scheduled time. This is abysmal customer service, and for some passengers, not even a full refund can compensate for the disruption of their trip.
When this happens, NEMT providers also lose money in the long run due to negative reviews and a bad reputation in the industry.
The Effects of No Shows
All NEMT businesses have various operational expenses: fuel, driver salaries, insurance, vehicle maintenance, insurance, safety equipment, software, and many more.
Scheduling and completing each trip costs a company a significant amount of money, which is why completion is critical.
Here are some of the more common effects of rising no show appointment rates in the transport industry.
To recoup losses, some providers may feel the need to increase rates when many passengers fail to meet their appointments. However, this can affect how customers and brokers perceive their services.
Increasing their rates could mean that transport companies no longer offer competitive services and rates. They could eventually lose more clients in the process.
Repeated No Shows
The phrase “the customer is always right” is not suitable for some situations. If transport providers allow passengers to schedule as many trips as they want and not show up at many of them, it could encourage more clients to book trips they are not even sure they need to take yet.
Providers who are too lenient with the patient no shows could encourage more of them to occur. This could lead to severe revenue losses and depleted resources, not to mention the drivers’ patience.
Transport companies use their resources to ensure that they provide the best possible service to their passengers. This includes vehicle insurance, driver certification, vehicle permits, and other contingencies.
A large portion of a company’s cash flow comprises fuel use and drivers’ wages. Given the rising fuel rates, every vehicle movement should ideally generate revenue. A no show is a waste of money and time for drivers and even staff that scheduled and dispatched the trip.
Timeliness for Other Passengers
A no show doesn’t just affect the driver and transport company; it also affects other passengers scheduled after. The driver’s time would have been better used to provide a legitimate and completed trip.
If passengers miss their pickup date and schedule, they could disrupt the appointments for the rest of the day.
Traveling to a pickup point for a no show passenger is a huge waste of the driver’s time. It affects their productivity, and if they provide multi-passenger services, it wastes other clients’ time, too.
Best Solutions to Prevent No Shows
There are several ways to prevent no shows and reduce the rates. NEMT companies could explore several solutions, both digital and non-digital.
Here are some of them:
Using automation and technology like those provided by ISI Technology is one of the more effective solutions. Technology allows accessible communication and access to passengers’ locations. All that’s needed is a smartphone and an internet connection.
Transport providers can directly communicate with clients and drivers to remind them of their appointments. They can also use automation to provide fleet transparency and additional services their clients will welcome.
Using NEMT software will help optimize transport scheduling and services. It can calculate drivers’ wages and the estimated cost of each trip based on distance, fuel use, and time. It also provides alternative routes that can save time and resources.
NEMT software can prevent no shows by automating the scheduling process and allowing clients to set their own timelines through the passenger app. The software can also identify potential issues in scheduling based on real-time data.
NEMT providers do not have to worry about manually rescheduling passengers and drivers. Software can automate schedules, pick-up/drop-off points, and even offer various options for passengers whether they want to join multi-passenger trips.
They can match each vehicle to a specific patient’s needs and offer times when such specialized transport is available. The system can also automate passenger reminders and cancellations via mobile apps.
Some NEMT software also has tracking systems that allow providers to track the movement of all drivers. So they can report no shows, inform passengers when the driver is expected to arrive, and find new clients. This reminds passengers when they need to be at their pick-up point and not miss their transport.
Patients using an NEMT software app can also track the driver and vehicle and see how far it is from the designated pickup location. They will also receive reminders of their trip before the set date and time.
Some providers automatically assign a window of time where clients can cancel a trip or reschedule it at a later time for free. It can be a day before the trip or even a few hours before the schedule. With robust software, passengers can easily do this on the mobile app, and it is quickly sent to the provider and driver.
This prevents wasted time for all parties, and the provider can immediately find a replacement trip for the driver and vehicle.
Transport companies also use practical, non-digital solutions for no shows:
Creating new company policies
Providers must institute policies that will address and minimize passenger or driver no shows. They should define the rules regarding trip scheduling, cancellations, and what is a legitimate “completed trip.”
These policies should be used as guidelines on what is a legitimate cancellation and the window of time that clients can make to complete or cancel one with no issues.
It’s best to outline what kind of last-minute cancellations are acceptable, which could include:
- Family/medical emergencies
- Acts of God (catastrophes and natural disasters)
- Severe illness/death
These guidelines should be explained to passengers before they sign up for your services and schedule a trip. This can be a big step toward minimizing no shows.
Penalties and incentives
Transport companies can also choose to impose penalties for passengers and drivers who do not show up to their appointments. A 100% charge is a common penalty for no shows. But if you are working with brokers, you should check how they regulate no shows.
If the drivers are late or a no show, the provider could offer a free ride for the passenger’s next appointment. This can improve the unhappy customer’s view of the service and prevent negative ratings and reviews if handled well.
Good customer service
Providers could also improve their customer engagement programs so clients will communicate their needs clearly. When passengers feel comfortable with your service, they will be more than willing to follow appointment guidelines.
Drivers and staff should manage their passengers’ expectations, whether in scheduling, trip duration, or even safety or mobility equipment on board the vehicles.
When customers feel you are providing the service you outlined and promised, they will not feel short-changed and will be satisfied with your company.
No Shows are Preventable With the Right Solutions
There is no one perfect solution to completely eliminate or reduce no shows. The best way is to combine various non-digital and digital solutions like ISI Technology to suit your business.
Common sense, practical solutions, and high-end technology can improve your no show rates and impact how your customers view your services.