Dental Office Tips to Reduce Last Minute Cancelations and Broken Appointments

Dental Office Tips to Reduce Last Minute Cancelations and Broken Appointments

Hello Friends,

Are same-day broken appointments stressing you out? You leave the office at the end of the day with a beautiful, full schedule for the next day and arrive back at the office in the morning only to have the schedules fall apart at the last minute. Ugh! If this ever happens to you I know how frustrating that can be. Not to mention, it kills production.

In this article, you will find several ways to greatly reduce last-minute schedule changes. I am certain that if you follow each step, you will stress less, make more money, help more patients, and have more fun.  Please print it out and share it with everyone on the team. We need everyone in the office to follow the same protocol/system for you to be successful.  Consider reviewing this at your next huddle or team meeting.

Tips and Ideas to reduce last-minute cancellations and no-shows:

Consistently Be Great! – Do everything to ensure that each and every patient has a great experience during their appointments.  Give them something good to talk about and a reason to keep coming back!

STOP moving appts around! A sure-fire way to aggravate patients, cause them to disrespect your time and the schedule, or for them to think you don’t know what you’re doing is by moving their appointment times. Unless, of course, they have asked to be on your Priority List.  Calling patients to come in early, come in late, or come in on a different day is annoying and I promise you it is hurting your schedule and production. I can’t emphasize this enough –  Respect their time and they’ll respect yours.

Appointment Reminder Systems – Ensure that you have an effective interval set up to remind patients of their appointments and that your message is helping not hurting the practice. For example, Don’t say “Calling to confirm” – it should be “We’re looking forward to seeing you on ____ at ____. OR ____ is looking forward to seeing you…” When is the last time you reviewed your electronic appointment reminder messages and intervals and your appointment confirmation protocol?

Unconfirmed Appointments – If it is 1 day before the appointment and you have a patient or patients that haven’t responded to your appointment reminders, you must pick up the phone and call them.  You shouldn’t be able to look at the day’s schedule during your morning huddle and see unconfirmed appts.

Cancels – Using the word cancel or cancellation sends a poor message to your patients. It tells them that cancellations happen and are expected. We don’t want that. You can say ”this doesn’t happen very often but if for some reason you need to change your reservation with ___, we ask that you please provide us with at least 48 hours’ notice.”

Stay on Time – See your patients at their appointment time. This means they should be seated in the treatment chair on or before their appt time. Avoid running behind schedule. Don’t keep them waiting too long in their chair either (ie: waiting for the doctor to come in for the examination).

Appointments ASAP – If a patient calls (especially a New Patient) to schedule an appointment and they can’t get in for 2 or more weeks you are at risk of that patient calling somewhere else to get an appointment sooner or other life’s distractions and priorities getting in their way moving them to cancel last-minute or no-show. If your schedules are so full that patients are having to wait to get in they might feel like you’re too busy for them or that their dental care needs are not important. If you do not have an immediate opening let the patient know that you’ll place them on your priority list and while it doesn’t happen very often if there is an unexpected change to the schedule and you can see them sooner they’ll be the first to know.

Doctors, if you’re struggling to reach your practice goals or that there is too much chaos in your practice– feel free to contact me for a complimentary, no-obligation 30-minute telephone consultation at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com to see if a coaching relationship is right for you.

New Patients– Don’t rely on electronic reminders for your new patients. Instead, call and let them know you’re looking forward to meeting them and briefly share with them what to expect during their first visit.

Bad Appointment History – If a patient has a history of not showing up or canceling last minute, please don’t schedule any future appointments for them.

Treatment Plans and Financial Arrangements – Every patient that has an appt. scheduled with the doctor for treatment must have a copy of their treatment plan AND a financial agreement before the appt. DON’T ASSUME that the patient is OK with their financial responsibility simply because you gave them a copy of their treatment plan and they didn’t question the cost.  What often happens is they say OK and schedule and then will no-show or cancel at the last minute.

Hygiene Patients – Schedule their next 3, 4, and 6-month appt when they are at the office. Preferably, the hygienist should always schedule the next appointment from the treatment room. Take a second to stress to the patient how important this appointment is and what you’ll be looking for at their next appt. (It’s not just a cleaning and there is a reason for the recommended appt interval.)

Scheduling Appointments – When scheduling appointments for your patients let them know that this time is being reserved exclusively for them. Also, consider having patients pay their co-pay or leave a deposit at the time of scheduling. Especially, if you’re reserving more than an hour on the doctor’s schedule.

VALUE – Walk-Out Statement – Consider itemizing the hygiene appt walk-out statement to include the no-charge services… ie: Oral Cancer Screening, Nutrition Counseling, Oral Hygiene Instructions, Etc. It is so much more than just a cleaning. Be sure to ALWAYS give the full fee for that day even if they have “100 %” coverage with their insurance. They need to hear the actual dollar amount for each visit. Helps to put more value on the appt.

No-Shows / Late Arrivals – Always acknowledge your no-show/late patients with a call 3-5 minutes past their appt. time.  If you get a voice mail – let the patient know you’re concerned because they missed their reservation. Have a system in place for following up on broken appointments. Don’t allow these patients to slip through the cracks.  

Telephone – The dreaded telephone calls for same-day cancellation attempts from your patients. They can destroy a perfect schedule in a matter of minutes. Stay in control of your schedules. Create a system for how to care for and respond to same-day cancellation attempts. Cancellations are not OK. Work together as a team to come up with scripting guidelines that work for your office. Think of all the different scenarios and reasons patients call to cancel (cost, illness, work, no babysitter, schedule conflicts, etc.) and role-play the best responses. Your goal should be, if appropriate, to respectfully help the patient find a way to keep the appointment as scheduled without threatening or embarrassing them.

If you currently leave it up to the patient to call back and reschedule you are not only creating more work for yourself but you’re putting the office at risk of losing that patient due to inactivity. Reschedule/reappoint the patient while you have them on the phone.

Whatever you do and no matter how desperate you are to fill the schedule DO NOT REAPPOINT habitual offenders! You should never be able to look at the schedule and point out who will most likely cancel or no-show. I’m sure that’s never happened in your office, right? 

If you appreciate and enjoy the complimentary ideas and content that I share each month  – I would LOVE for you to PLEASE take a quick minute to leave me a review/recommendation on Google or Facebook. Simply click the following links:    GOOGLE   and/or  FACEBOOK Thank you so much!!

I would love the opportunity to work along with you and your team to help you set and exceed your practice goals. If you would like to schedule a no-obligation, complimentary consultation to learn how our coaching program works, please email me at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com.

Sending you wishes for a full and productive schedule… one that doesn’t fall apart!

Friends, if you do not know what your office’s broken appointment and reappointment numbers and percentages look like, including how many of your active patients are unscheduled; please take a good look at what those numbers look like and what systems you have in place to track these patients.  You need to know where you’re at currently to know how to best care for your patients and what your potential for growth is. If your practice management software is Dentrix, Eaglesoft, Practice Web, or Open Dental I can help you quickly get that data. Just let me know via email at bhaydenconsulting.com

For additional scheduling tips and ideas visit here: 12 Tips To Help You Fill Holes In Your Dental Schedules with Productive Appointments

Yours for Greater Success,

Betty – Dental Coach

P.S. Please stop by and say hello to me on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn, and Pinterest

Before you go, would you pretty please do something for me? I would LOVE for you to PLEASE leave me a review/recommendation on Google or Facebook. Simply click the following links:    GOOGLE   and/or  FACEBOOK Thank you so much!!

Dental Marketing and Practice Growth Ideas September 2022

Dental Marketing and Practice Growth Ideas September 2022

Hello Friends,

For many dental offices, September can be a slower month. Even for some of the offices that start the month with a full schedule report that as the month progresses the schedule tends to fall apart. There could be many different reasons why this happens every September. Perhaps for some, it is because families are still adjusting to the back-to-school schedules and don’t want to bother adding a visit to the dentist to their already too-hectic days or it could be because you and your team expect September to be a slow month and that there isn’t anything you can do about it. Whatever the reason, it hurts to have holes in the schedule. Yet, I have some offices that tell me September is always a great month for the schedules and production. I want you all to have that experience – full, healthy, and productive schedules.

The marketing (growth) ideas that I am sharing with you for September will help you reactivate and reappoint patients, attract more new patients, build relationships within the community, as well as exceed your current patients’ expectations. With the ultimate goal of helping you to have more fun and less stress at work.

September 2022 Dental Marketing and Practice Growth Tips & Ideas

Theme: Fall in Love with a Beautiful & Healthy Smile

Focus: Preventive & Cosmetic Services

Giving-Away – Drawing for a Fall-Themed Gift Basket / Patients can enter the drawing by leaving a review on Google and/or Facebook, referring their friends & family, and for coming in for their appts in September.

For offices that offer Clear Aligners/ Invisalign: September is Self-Improvement Month – “If you’re an adult who has been putting off having your teeth straightened because you don’t want to endure the discomfort and the unsightly metal construction of traditional braces, we’re pleased to offer clear aligners – an “invisible” orthodontic alternative.”

Local Business Marketing (Relationship Building) Opportunity: 

September is National Honey Month: Give away little jars of honey with a label or tag that says, for example, “Thank you for Bee-ing an Awesome Neighbor!” or “Our Neighbors are Sweet as Honey!”

Here are a couple of examples… (From King Dental and Dr. Bruyere’s office)

Doctors, if you would like to grow and improve your dental practice and have wondered what it might be like to work with me and what coaching is all about… please feel free to reach out to me to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation coaching call at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com.

September is National Fruit & Veggie Month – You could do a quick Facebook live video and/or post content to your social media platforms all about Nutritious School Snack Options. Perhaps, you could even create a cute, simple hand-out for your patients with a list of nutritious snack options and surprisingly unhealthy snacks.

Social Media Post Ideas to Improve Engagement during the month of September – what do your Facebook, Instagram, and Google pages look like? If you’re not keeping them up to date with fresh photos and content you’re missing out on some great opportunities to engage with your active patients, your inactive patients, and your potential patients in the community.

National Cheese Month  

Whole Grains Month

Random Acts of Kindness Day or Be Kind Day: 1 

World Coconut Day: 2 

Grandparent’s Day: 10 


International Chocolate Day: 13 

Autumn (Autumnal Equinox): 23

National Coffee Day: 29 

Family Health and Fitness Day USA: 30 

So there you have it, some fun practice growth ideas for the month of September. Please, be sure to stay in touch with me and keep me updated on any of the ideas that you use. If you have some thoughts on how to take these suggestions to the next level or just ways to improve on them I want to hear from you!

Here are some additional tips and ideas to help you enjoy full, healthy, and productive schedules. 12 Tips To Help You Fill Holes In Your Dental Schedules with Productive Appointments

If you appreciate and enjoy the complimentary ideas and content that I share each month  – I would LOVE for you to PLEASE take a quick minute to leave me a review/recommendation on Google or Facebook. Simply click the following links:    GOOGLE   and/or  FACEBOOK Thank you so much!!

Are you receiving my complimentary dental marketing and practice management ideas that are sent right to your email inbox each month? If not, take a second and sign up. This way, you won’t miss a single idea! Feel free to email me at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com and I will make sure you receive an invitation to follow my monthly ideas.

Wishing you all the healthiest and happiest September!

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty – Dental Coach

Before you go, would you kindly do something for me? I would LOVE for you to PLEASE leave me a review/recommendation on Google or Facebook. Simply click the following links:    GOOGLE   and/or  FACEBOOK Thank you so much!!

Where are you taking your Dental Practice?

Where are you taking your Dental Practice?

Hello Friends,

As you’ve entered the last month of the second quarter for this year, are you happy with where your practice is heading? Do you know where you’re taking it?

I hope that you are happy with where you are taking your practice! However, if you’re not happy or you feel you could be “happier” there is good news, you still have some time to make that happen. To do that though, you need to know where you’ve been and where you’re at now.

If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going.” – Maya Angelou

Knowing your practice numbers and doing something with what you know about those numbers is key to growing and improving your practice. Numbers tell a story. Numbers tell you if your practice is healthy or unhealthy.

Get a baseline of where you’re at to set goals for where you want to go.  For example,

  • Overhead – Evaluate your true costs of doing business. What does it cost you per hour to keep the practice running?
  • Supplies – What is your supply budget vs what you are actually spending?
  • Payroll – What is your payroll percentage? Are you hygienists producing 3.3 times their salary?
  • Collections – Are you collecting what you produce and how long is it taking to collect your money?
  • Adjustments/Write-Offs – Are you closely monitoring your adjustments and write-offs?
  • Production – What are your hourly, daily, monthly, and yearly restorative and hygiene production goals?
  • New Patients – How many new patients do you want per month? What are you doing to welcome more new patients each month?
  • Attrition – How many patients are you losing each month and why?
  • Treatment Acceptance Vs Diagnosis – How many of your patients are saying yes to your best care? How are you keeping track of your unscheduled treatment plans?
  • Office Culture – Do you have high employee turn-over? Do you have an attractive office culture? Do your employee fully and willingly support your mission, vision, and core values?
  • Broken Appointments – What is your monthly broken appointment percentage?

If your numbers reveal unhealthiness be quick to act and get help to restore your practice to health and happiness.

Doctors, if you would like to grow and improve your dental practice and have wondered what it might be like to work with me and what coaching is all about… please feel free to reach out to me to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation coaching call at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com.

One more question to help you take your practice in a successful direction – where do you want to go? What is your mission and vision for the practice? If you’re not sure or you haven’t taken the time to define what that looks like, consider the following:

Mission, Vision, Core Values – Knowing why you show up every morning will help to create a culture of happiness and excellence.

Mission – A clear definition of the purpose and focus of the practice today.

Vision – It is about what you want your practice to be in the future. It is the outcome/result of your mission.

Core Values – Core Values represent the beliefs and principles that define your practice, your team, and the patient experience you aim for in your dental practice.

Clearly defining your why and inviting your team to support you will help to keep everyone on the same page, working together for the greater good of the practice. 

It always brightens my day to hear from you!  I would love for you to please take a minute to leave me a review/recommendation here on GOOGLE and/or FACEBOOK.  Thank you!!

Don’t miss out on any of the ideas that I share each month.  Are you receiving my complimentary Practice Management and Marketing Ideas in your email each month? If not, please start following us today. If you prefer, send me your email address (to bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com) and I will send you an invitation to follow my blog.

Yours for Greater Success,
~Betty

P.S. Please stop by and say hello to me on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn and Pinterest

Dental Office Employee Team Building Activities, Ideas, and Incentives

Dental Office Employee Team Building Activities, Ideas, and Incentives

Hello Friends,

“There is no way that the quality of patient care and experiences will exceed the quality of the people who provide it.”

It’s true if you want your patients to consistently have great experiences, accept your treatment recommendations, and refer their friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers to you – it takes a quality, happy, and productive team. Of course, though, it starts with you!

Set the Example – Treat your employees how you would like them to treat your best patient! 

If you want to see a positive change in your practice, you must consistently lead by example… be the change. It starts at the top. You set the tone for the day, make certain that it’s a happy & productive one. This includes any employee in a management position – if you have employees complaining about your office manager, take it seriously. A toxic office manager will destroy your practice over time, at the very least, cause a staff turnover nightmare.  In fact, any employee that is toxic to your vision, to your team, and/or your patients…needs to go. It’s not easy to make the decision to terminate someone’s employment, yet absolutely necessary if you want to improve your practice.  It’s been said that “what you allow you encourage.” Once you make the decision to no longer tolerate or allow the poor behavior and attitudes in your practice, you’ll breathe a huge sigh of relief.

Doctors, if you would like to grow and improve your dental practice and have wondered what it might be like to work with me and what coaching is all about… please feel free to reach out to me to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation coaching call at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com.

Communication – “The art of communication is the language of leadership.”

  • Job Expectations & Job Responsibilities – What are the performance expectations for your team? Does each employee clearly understand their role in the practice?
  • Quarterly Employee Check-ins (AKA Performance Evaluations)
  • Hello, Good Morning! – Make it a point to greet your fellow team members every morning. Let people know that you see them and acknowledge them with a hello.
  • Thank you – Express your appreciation.  Saying thank you improves your office, your health, and the patient’s experience.
  • Commendation – Commend your employees when you catch them doing something “right”. Commendation boosts morale. Applaud & reward the behavior and actions that you want to see more of. Simply thanking your team at the end of the day goes a long way in making them feel appreciated.

Creativity – Host “Brainstorm Sessions” with prizes for creative marketing ideas, solutions to improve office efficiency, welcome more new patients, patient retention, and how to have more fun as a team.

Accountability – “Great teammates hold each other accountable to the high standards and excellence their culture expects and demands.” – Jon Gordon

Work Space / Office Appearance – Clutter in your physical surroundings will clutter your mind and spirit.”

Clutter represents indecision. Decide to get rid of the office clutter!

Staff Lounge / Lunchroom – What does your breakroom/lounge look like? Is it a space that you can relax in and enjoy? Consider cleaning it up, organizing, re-decorating, and stocking with healthy snacks and beverages for the team.

Work Hard, Have Fun, Create Beautiful Smiles.

Have FUN! – You spend far too much time together at work to not have some fun too! Create a fun and stress-free environment with Team Building Activities and Events!

Here are some ideas to get you started…

In Office Fun: Potluck lunch, Send an Ice Cream or Coffee Truck to the office, Carry out lunch (team choice), Crafts, Games, & Puzzles. Turn the music up and dance. Make little appreciation gifts that you can give out to your patients at their appointments.

Healthier Teams – How about team exercise/yoga classes? Or Monday morning breakfast smoothies? Or walks outside during breaks.

Fun with Social Media – Utilize your social media pages and your Google My Business page to show your patients and potential patients what a fun office you have.

Videos – post fun team videos on your office social media pages.

Employee Work Anniversaries – Celebrate employee work anniversaries and post pictures to your social media pages.

Pictures – take fun/silly pictures with the team and your patients to share on social media, your website, and in newsletters.

Fun Dress Up/Theme Days –

What: Decorate the office, team dresses up, small prize giveaways and snacks.

Theme Ideas: Luau, Decades, Superhero, Disney, Western, Carnival, Sports teams, Pajama Day, Silly hats/hair/socks, Etc.

Book Club – Purchase team building/self-improvement books for your team. During your monthly team meetings or at your daily huddle discuss portions of the book. Consider purchasing electronic devices such as a Kindle Fire for each employee and download books that can be discussed during a “book club team meeting”.

Check out Dental Office Leadership, Management, Marketing, and Team Building Book Recommendations here from Betty’s Bookshelf

If you have some favorites that you think I should add to my list, feel free to shoot me a message at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com – Thank you.

Incentives/Rewards – Sometimes unexpected rewards work better than expected monthly bonuses for reaching goals. Every office is different, so if you have something that is working well for you and your team continue doing it. However, if you would like some reward/incentive ideas for reaching daily/weekly/monthly production, collection, new patient, service/product, social media, and other goals but want to keep the rewards unexpected or more spontaneous, here you go…

In addition to simple, yet appreciated, thank you cards; Spa Gift Card, Good Ol’ Cash, Lunch/Breakfast, Purse/Tote bag, Gift Baskets, Plants/Flowers, Jewelry, Movie/Theater Gift Cards, Tickets to Sporting Event/Concert, Amusement Park tickets, Restaurant gift card, Gas cards and Car Wash Gift Cards.

If you would like even more ideas, be sure to follow this Pinterest Board: Employee Appreciation Gifts & Meeting Activities / Team Building Activities

Outside the office Fun: (depending on your location and current pandemic restrictions/cautions) Bowling, Painting Party, Shopping, Dinner, Cooking Class, Wally Ball, Sporting Event, Spa, Escape Room, Field Day (Team up with other offices), Concert, Skating, Batting Cages, Mini Golf, Pottery Class, Theater,  Pool party, Skiing, Nature hike/walk, Etc.

Continuing Education – Continuing education, not just for the providers but for the entire team is a wonderful way to ensure practice growth. Not to mention, it’s a great team-building experience, one that will give you a happier and motivated team. You can do this with in-office training, webinars, lunch and learns, and seminars/classes outside of the office.

Consider incorporating a dental continuing education class with a fun event, for example, CPR Course and Pool Party.

Regular Team Training – Don’t hold back in this area! Invest in your team. Thoroughly train any new employees on your practice goals, systems, software, telephone skills, dental procedures, protocols, etc.  However, training isn’t just for your new employees, everyone in the office needs regular training.

Is there a chance you might have some new dental equipment or training manuals just sitting on the shelf, collecting dust?  It’s most likely because your team didn’t understand or appreciate the why and the how. Knowing why and how this new idea, technique, equipment, or procedure works, benefits the patient, the team, and the office is critical to enthused implementation.

Community Involvement – Visit the local farmers market, art/street fairs, Races/Run/Walk for-a-cause, Fundraisers, Parades, Etc. Be active in your community. Pass out freebies imprinted with your office information to the people attending these community events. Be sure to take pictures of you and your team out and about in the community and share to your social media pages and website.

“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” ~ Dale Carnegie

It is my wish that these ideas and tips will help you and your team experience greater happiness at work. If you have any other ideas or things that have worked well in your office, I would love to hear about them. If you have any questions or concerns about what you’ve read today, please contact me at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com.

Did you enjoy these tips and ideas?   I would love and truly appreciate for you to please leave a review/recommendation for me on GOOGLE and/or FACEBOOK – Thank you!!!

Have you signed up to receive my complimentary dental marketing and practice management ideas that are sent right to your email inbox each month? If not, take a second and sign up. Or send me your email address and I will send you an invite to follow. This way, you won’t miss a single idea!

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

P.S. Please stop by and say hello to me on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn and Pinterest