Whether your patient is scheduled for a cosmetic consultation, restoration placement, or routine hygiene and screening visit, you want to be certain they will come. When your patient cancels with little or no notice, they delay important treatment and wreak havoc with your schedule. Even one missed appointment per day can lead to thousands in lost revenue in a single year.
Reports indicate that about one in ten patients cancels or skips scheduled dental visits. Consider these 4 easily implemented strategies for reducing your practice no-show rate:
- During a patient’s visit, clearly communicate the state of their oral health. Explain what treatment they need, why they need it, and when it needs to happen. Emphasize the benefits of receiving the treatment in a timely manner. Patients who understand the value of their treatment are more likely to remember and return as scheduled.
- Ask your patient to choose how their appointments are confirmed. Offer to use text, email, mail, or phone calls, if possible, so they are more likely to receive their reminder. Consider offering your patient the ability to authorize you to contact a spouse, parent, or partner who most often handles scheduling or reminding them of commitments.
- Whatever their method of choice, follow through with appointment reminders at least 24-48 hours prior to their scheduled window. If you speak to someone directly during a reminder, choose words that prompt the patient to agree to call if they cannot keep the appointment. Cancellations are less frequent when the patient feels they have made a commitment.
- Set aside time at least once a month for your team to reach out to patients who are not yet scheduled for their next visit. Use the preferred contact method on file and offer same day or next day appointments, if possible. This has the benefit of both bringing back inactive patients and filling openings left by cancellations or reschedules.
Communication is key in reducing no-shows and reactivating patients. Before implementing new strategies for scheduling, hold a team meeting and discuss your new policies in detail. Be certain that every member on your team is ready and willing to explain the value of treatment, follow up with patients, and support the changes to your systems.
For more ideas that can help your business thrive, contact our office for a consultation.