It is an age-old problem, one that every dental office deals with, cancellations and no shows! What can your office do to reduce or eliminate this problem without having to drive over to their homes and pick them up? Here, are a few tips I have picked up along the way to help stop your patients from pushing the cancel easy button.
•Start with a great team. Hire team members who share your vision to create a professional, happy and friendly atmosphere for the patients.
•Work on gaining loyal patients. Do this by building relationships with them. I have heard it said that the relationship is more powerful than the service. If they know, like and trust you and your team, they will come to their appointments.
•Increase the perceived value. Influence your patients; inform them on the importance of prevention. Tell them exactly why they should come back for their next cleaning. Do not just say, “I’ll see you back in six months”. Tell them that they should come back in six months so you can check that pocket around tooth number three.
•Schedule them right the first time. Find a convenient time for the patients, if you schedule them to fit your schedule over theirs, they are more likely to cancel or fail.
•Use multiple ways to verify their appointments. Send them a postcard a few weeks prior to appointment. Next, one week before appointment, send them an email. Two days before call them or send them a text if they prefer. Set up a system to ask them their confirmation preference when they are checking in for their appointments.
•Do not continue to schedule patients who have failed in the past. Put them on a same day only list; use the patients on that list to fill openings in your schedule.
•Be sure to make definite financial arrangements made prior to scheduling. If you schedule them first and then tell them how much money to bring to that appointment, they feel stuck. There are many patients who will not say anything because they are already scheduled. They may feel like they should not come if they do not have the money, so they cancel or just do not show up.
People can be unpredictable and things really do come up, you may not be able to totally eliminate all cancels and no shows but try a few of these tips, they really will help!