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Coping with no-show behaviour in appointment services: a multistage perspective

Xiaoyan Xu (School of Management, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China)
Miao Hu (School of Political Science and Public Administration, Soochow University, Suzhou, China)
Xiaodong Li (School of Economics and Management, Anhui Polytechnic University, Wuhu, China)

Journal of Service Theory and Practice

ISSN: 2055-6225

Article publication date: 12 April 2022

Issue publication date: 19 April 2022




This study aims to help businesses cope with consumers' no-show behaviour from a multistage perspective. It specifically identifies no-show reasons at each stage of appointment services and proposes the corresponding coping strategies.


By focusing on an outpatient appointment service, we interviewed 921 no-show patients to extract no-show reasons, invited 18 hospital managers to propose coping strategies for these reasons using a Delphi method and evaluated the proposed strategies based on EDAS (Evaluation based on Distance from Average Solution).


The results reveal ten reasons for no-show behaviour (i.e. system service quality, overuse, did not know the appointment, self-judgment, forget, waiting time, lateness, uncontrollable problems, time conflict and service coordination), which have nine coping strategy themes (i.e. prepayment, system intelligence, target, subjective norm, system integration, ease of navigation, reminder, confirmation and cancellation). We classify the ten reasons and nine themes into scheduling, waiting and execution stages of an appointment service.


This study provides a package of coping strategies for no-show behaviour to deal with no-show reasons at each appointment service stage. It also extends the research in pre-service management through appointment services.



This work is supported by the National Key R&D Program of China [No.2017YFB1401200]. The authors also thank Latif Al-Hakim for his helpful suggestions on the initial version of this study.


Xu, X., Hu, M. and Li, X. (2022), "Coping with no-show behaviour in appointment services: a multistage perspective", Journal of Service Theory and Practice, Vol. 32 No. 3, pp. 452-474.



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