I know I talk and write about this a lot.
Yes, you guessed it. Cancellations.
Lately I have read a lot of frustrated posts from Dental Practices regarding patients who cancel appointments.
Even though most practices either receive many or some cancellation calls, the one thing I know is it is a problem in many practice and something that you must keep on top before it gets out of control.
Now if you believe or feel you have no cancellation issues at your practice, then I challenge you to check your numbers to make sure you are right!
When I see a social media post about appointment cancellations it is sending me a message that this practice has a huge problem with cancellations.
The problem I also see is how annoyed they are with their patients for cancelling their appointments. This is not very good, but I do understand!
But here is the thing, when you post anything on Facebook you must always consider your patients or potential patients reading your post, who don’t cancel appointments.
I am a firm believer that your team can be a major contributing factor to the cancelled appointment.
Please don’t be annoyed by this comment but let’s have a look at the facts.
By posting on social media that you have a big problem with cancellations, you are telling me that many of your patients cancel their appointments and unknowingly you now give your patients the message that it is ok to cancel appointments, even if you state that there is a consequence.
I recall in one of my Master Class attendees shared a story about a patient who worked out how to avoid paying a cancellation fee. The patient would call to reschedule their appointment then a few days later would call again to cancel the appointment. The practice had a cancellation policy that stated if a patient called to cancel with less than 48 hours-notice, they would have to pay a cancellation fee. The initial call was to reschedule not cancel then the next call was to cancel but the call was with enough notice.
Interesting strategy to cancel the appointment without paying the cancellation fee!
Preventing cancellations is always the best solution and it goes right back to when and how the appointment is set up.
You may have heard me speak about the type of language we use when making a patient’s appointment.
Saying this is not a great way to reduce cancellations:
“Your appointment is………………..I will call you two days before in case you need to change the appointment.”
Even though this type of language is polite, you have now given the ok for the patient to change their appointment.
Other examples are:
“Please call us if you cannot make this appointment.”
“I will call you to confirm the appointment.”
Your patients believe that the appointment is not confirmed until you call to confirm it. Why are you not confirming the appointment at the time the patient makes it? You can still call them prior to the appointment with a courtesy call to let them know you are looking forward to meeting/seeing them.
Can you see how you communicate with your patients, is creating a mindset that influences their decision to cancel their appointment?
Have a close look at how you set up and make appointments and how you handle cancellations.
Is having a Cancellation Policy the best solution?
My next public speaking event is my live full day Master Class “How to Turn Every Dental Phone Call Into A Valued and Kept Appointment” and is being held in Perth on Friday 1st June 2018.
There are only a few seats left.
After Perth I will be presenting my Master Class “How to Turn Every Dental Phone Call Into A Valued and Kept Appointment” on the Gold Coast on Thursday 7th June 2018.
The Sydney Master Class is “How to Turn Every Dental Phone Call Into A Valued and Kept Appointment” on Friday 22nd June 2018.
Dental Phone Excellence is a simple to implement complete Phone Answering system I developed that helped me to build an extraordinary dental practice in the heart of working class western Sydney.
If you’d like to know more, download my sixteen page FREE special report “How I Quickly and Easily Went From 35% to 77% New Patient Telephone Conversions, and Doubled The Size of my Dental Practice Along the Way” and discover some of the many costly mistakes being made on your phone…..
At present I have availability for TWO new private clients. For more information on how I can improve your Dental Office’s Phone Numbers contact me, Jayne Bandy at jayne@theDPE.com