Client No-Shows?

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well- warmed, and well-fed. ― Herman Melville

Client No-Shows?


We often wonder what we can do to help with clients who make appointments but do not show up to clinic.

As we look back at the previous year, we have spent many hours in meetings trying to figure out the best answer to the above question. We have many questions and we hope that your feedback will help us design a more realistic approach to our clinics.

What we know on our end, staff and volunteers, is that there is a lot of work and time put into making sure each clinic happens. We keep these two things in mind:

  1. We want to stay affordable for our clients.
  2. We want to provide the best care we can possibly do.

What this takes is collaboration between clients and agency.

We spend about 4 days per month making calls to every client on our roster. When I say “we”, I really mean Roxanne. She is our human connection to our new clients and existing members of our CleanSlate Inc. community. Before you get to the door at one of our clinics, she spends hour’s logging in the new clients from the previous clinic and then placing calls to each and every person on that list. As of last count, that is over 700 calls to make.

Why do we make all these calls? Believe it or not we have people many who have gotten so overwhelmed with life they forget how to get a hold of us so they are relieved when they hear from us. Some former clients just needed to know they were still welcome into our community.

I do think we are conditioned to believe that if you don’t show up you eventually get kicked out. Not so with CleanSlate Inc. You will never be abandoned by us. It makes sense for us to make the many, many calls before each clinic to reaffirm that each of our clients is still welcome. We also send out a mass email that I am sure many of you have received over the years.

We base the amount of staff, supplies and hours we allocate for each clinic on the information we gather form Roxanne about the appointments. Lately, and we are not sure why, we have had all staff  on board and very little turn out for our clinics. We speculate it is the economy, stress and lots to do. We understand life’s circumstances can make it difficult to keep appointments at times, especially ones that cost money.

Our dedicated staff, with the exception of me, come from very far away in order to serve you. They drive in from Paris California, Riverside, Montclair, Long Beach, and Venice just to name a few. When we call out to any of our staff, they are ready to work and enjoy the clinic and its members very much. When it slows down due to very few clients showing up who said they would, it becomes tough to stay upbeat. This is because they thrive from the interaction and service to the community and are dedicated to do so at each clinic.

I have fought with my Board to keep fees low and stay the course we set over 15 years ago. Our Board is pushing for higher intake fees, re-intakes fees for those who miss 3 clinics, and a no show fee of $10. We stand up for the clients, and don’t mind doing so, because we feel there has to be a good reason for not showing up.

I’m keeping you, our clients, informed on how this process works so that we can establish better communication and avoid some of these changes. We need more cooperation from our clients and community to keep our services going the way they have been for years to come. In order to do this we need you to keep your appointments or cancel at least 24 hours before clinic to avoid the no show fee and to keep our board from getting frustrated with over staffing.

I’d like to remind everyone that as a non-profit, we do not get to keep any revenues we generate to distribute to shareholders.  Your fees allow us to keep our other programs such as Youth Empowerment Groups, Non-Violent Parenting, and Financial Literacy running each month.

Your fees and participation also go to reducing violence in communities and building healthier families for the next generation. We hope you will continue to make your appointments and more than that, attend the clinic for all the appointments you have made. If for any reason, you cannot attend please call ahead of time to cancel. You deserve to do this for yourself, your community, and your future.

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