Developing excellent phone skills and having the ability to turn each call into an appointment is just the first step.
The next step is to have the ability to schedule the appointments so the needs of the practice are being met and not just the needs of the patient.
I see practices making appointments (which is what you want!) without any regard to structure of the appointment book. Appointments are just made next available time. Whatever fits in with the patient.
Yes you do want to be helpful when you make a patient’s appointment and yes you do want to give them a time that is suitable but you also need to create an appointment book that will ensure the success of your dental business.
You can help your patients find a suitable appointment as well as making sure the needs of the practice are met.
For your Appointment Book to meet the needs of your Practice I would recommend the following:
- A Balance Of Long And Short Appointments
Making patient appointments over the phone is going to be so much easier with a planned Appointment Book Schedule to follow.
A good mixture of long and short appointments gives everyone in the practice a steady flow of patients with time between patients to complete administrative duties, sterilization and other daily routines that need to be completed.
- Meet A Daily Production Requirement And Target
Longer appointments are usually high production and the Practice needs these to financially survive. It is crucial that the appointment book always takes production into account as well as achievable goals that have been set.
- Emergency And New Patient Appointment Times Available Each Day
Leaving available time each day to see a New Patient or a patient with an emergency is also very important. These two types of patients usually have urgency and it is excellent customer service to be able to meet their needs. No one wants a new Patient or an emergency existing patient going to another Practice because we weren’t able to get them in soon enough. That patient probably won’t give you a second chance!
- A Healthy Priority Standby List
I have written before about the importance of building a healthy patient standby list. It is always better when an appointment has not been filled or becomes available to call patients who have given you permission to call them to move their appointment. A healthy standby list ensures that at the end of the day the next day’s appointment schedule is complete and looking great!
- Confirm Appointments
When appointments are made for patients, the appointment should be confirmed at the time of making the appointment. Use the phrase “I have now confirmed your appointment and reserved that time for you”. You will still contact your patient prior to their appointment but you want to set it up so the patient is aware the appointment is firm and the idea of cancelling the appointment is not on their mind. Look at the confirmation call/message as a courtesy to let your patient know you are looking forward to seeing/meeting them.
The difference between a Practice with a well designed, planned and implemented Appointment Schedule, and one without, is huge. When we have a well planned schedule, then production goals are met, the flow of the day is smooth and on time and the needs of the patients and the Practice are both met.
Next week I will go over the effective language you need to use to make appointment times for patients so they are happy to fit into your Appointment Scheduling.
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.
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