We routinely call clients if we’re going to be even a few minutes late. Why? It’s just a few minutes, everyone hits traffic or has to find a parking spot.
Because we put ourselves in the customer’s position. What do they hear? Silence. So 2pm comes for your 2pm appointment. They don’t know if you
b) got the time wrong
c) got the date wrong
d) are running late
e) are out sick today
f) any other reasons
So call, or ask someone to call. And calling at 2pm doesn’t count. You know if you’re going to be late before the start time. Being late is not your fault. Not letting the person know is absolutely your responsibility, and people really appreciate it. And it’s easy.
“But I was on another call, I couldn’t make the call.”
“I was out of phone range.”
“I was in traffic and I might get a ticket.”
“I didn’t think a few minutes was a big deal”
“They said it’s fine whenever I get there”
Those are all excuses.
Once the starting time comes, if you’re not there, they don’t have any idea if you’re even going to show. So you could be an hour late or a few minutes late and the customer is just as in the dark.
Pull over, anticipate, don’t do anything illegal but do what you have to do to be professional. Customers notice the little details, and it preserves their confidence in the other details.