When we think about a message in our Dental Office the first thing that often comes to mind is the message that we will leave when we have been trying to get hold of a patient.
I want you to think about another type of message.
I want you to think about the hidden message we give to our patients when we let them know about our Cancellation Policy.
My thoughts on policies are this: I feel that we introduce policies to our practice because we have no other way of getting our patients to do what we want and when we want. All that this shows our patients is that we have very little influence over them, along with a real lack of mutual respect.
I know we are running a business and our patients do need to know how we run our business and what everyone needs to do to make the relationship work.
We need to stay in control of our business so we can better help our patients.
But why do we believe the only way we can do this is by having policies that patients must even read and sign before we can even start a relationship with them both on a business and personal level?
Ok, there are always going to be a few of our patients that don’t know how to follow how you run your business but what about the other people?
One example of a policy that I just don’t get is the “cancellation policy”.
I personally believe that our customers and patients see the cancellation policy as a threat. What they see is us saying that if they do not follow the cancellation policy they will be punished.
A cancellation policy is a great way to scare patients away.
I know it can also filter patients who were going to cancel their appointment for no good reason but is this a good enough reason to have a cancellation policy?
Is scaring patients a great way to start a trusting relationship?
I also see the cancellation policy sending out a message to patients that “We have many people who cancel appointments.”
We are just highlighting that we have such a problem with patients cancelling appointments that this is the only thing we have left to do.
When we use a cancellation policy all we are saying is let’s punish and offend the many so we can sort out the few that cancel appointments.
This just doesn’t make sense!
The scariest part of a cancellation policy is that you may never know how many potential patients you are losing because you are scaring them away!
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