You don’t know why or how to stop it but you are seeing an increase in the number of cancelled appointments.
What is going wrong?
This is a problem happening in many Dental Practices.
It is a problem that needs to be looked at very carefully before it gets out of control.
If you are experiencing this problem and it is already out of control in your practice, then you need to do something quickly.
For the Dentist that is aware of an increase in cancellations, they are the lucky ones because they know and can do something about it.
Knowing that there is a problem is so important. Doing something about it and preventing it from happening again is equally as important.
There are a number of reasons for a patient cancelling their appointment and to be able to prevent and handle cancelled appointments you need to know the reason for the cancellation.
“Is everything ok?”
“This appointment is important. Is there a reason you need to cancel it?”
Most Dental Offices are not asking patients for the cancellation reason.
Once you know the cancellation reason you can offer a solution.
If you don’t ask for the reason then no solution can be offered and this is when your cancellation numbers start to rise.
The solution in most Dental Offices is to thank the patient for the call and then either, make a new appointment or no appointment at all.
What I want to see happen in Dental Offices is, if a cancellation call comes in, a solution is found so the caller can still keep their appointment.
Your patient is given an opportunity to change their mind.
If a patient has a meeting and they now cannot attend the appointment then ask them the time of their meeting and see if you have another time on the same day.
This is so much better for the patient and your appointment book than diving straight into rescheduling the appointment or accepting a cancellation with no new appointment.
A patient may have made another appointment at the same time as their dental appointment. Let your patient know that their dental appointment is very important.
“Dr Brown is expecting you. Can you change a few things so you can still come to your appointment?”
Then wait for the patient’s response.
They may say “no” but they may sometimes say “yes”.
Not asking is always going to be a cancelled appointment but asking gives your patient an opportunity to change their mind.
Asking a patient to keep their appointment also gives your patient a very important message.
The message that their appointment is important and their time is confirmed. This does also deter the patient from cancelling another appointment in the future.
You give your patients the opportunity to change their mind about cancelling their appointment.
At my Dental Office we called it *Cancel the Cancellation!*
We always prided ourselves on preventing people cancelling appointments but we did feel a real sense of achievement when we were able to keep patients on track for their appointment.
We worked out very quickly in our office, how much work it was to fill appointments when patients cancelled, especially at the last minute.
When we cancelled a cancellation, there was no reschedule needed, there was no cancellation with no appointment and there was no call back to make another appointment.
I am not saying that this will happen successfully on every cancellation call, but you sure can reduce cancelled appointments and rescheduled appointments dramatically by doing this.
I know this works because I was able to do it!
And I did…
This blog features simple practical ideas that are easy to implement tomorrow in your Dental Office, impacting immediately on your Patients’ Dental Phone Experiences, and ultimately, improving your practice profitability.
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…..
My next live full day workshop “How to Turn Every Dental Phone Call Into A Valued and Kept Appointment” is being held at Surfer’s Paradise on the Gold Coast in Queensland on Friday March 24, 2017.
At present I have availability for only THREE 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