Dental Office Tips and Ideas to Reduce Same Day Broken Appointments

Dental Office Tips and Ideas to Reduce Same Day 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 following 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 the patient(s).  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. (Tip: Make sure you are allowing enough time on the schedule for each procedure/appt type.)

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. However, if you find there are some patients on the schedule with a bad history (more than 2 or more broken appts)…call them at least 2 days in advance of appt. “Hello, this is ____ from ____. I am calling regarding your appointment on ____ at _____. I need you to please return my call by____ at ____. If I don’t hear back from you by that time we will assume you’ve changed your mind and will cancel your reservation.” This will you give you time to fill that appointment time with a different patient.

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. Ideally, each patient should receive a copy of the treatment plan and a financial agreement at the time of diagnosis. 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. OR they come in for the appt. not prepared to pay their portion.

Regarding their financial responsibility – put their co-payment amount in the appt notes so that you remember to remind them to bring it in w/them.

Many patients will not tell you they can’t afford the treatment. MAKE IT EASY FOR THEM TO SAY YES by HELPING THEM FIND A WAY TO WORK IT INTO THEIR BUDGET. The total investment is ____ and we can do it for as little as ___ per month using our partner Care Credit. Have them apply for CC while they are there in the office.

Hygiene Patients – Schedule their next 3, 4, 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 Appointment – 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.  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.  If the patient doesn’t reschedule or if they don’t return your call. Send them a kind letter reminding them they were missed and what your office appointment guidelines are for changing appts.  The assistant or hygienist should be making these calls 3 – 5 minutes past the appt time. If they can’t make the call right away they are responsible for having someone from the front office make the call for them. Be sure to document the action/ response.

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 and respond to same-day cancellation attempts. Cancellations are not OK. Work together as a team to come up with scripting that works 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? 😉

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, and many other important key practice indicators; please take note of 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. To help you get that data quickly, like within minutes – if your PMS is either Dentrix, Eaglesoft, or Open Dental you can request a complimentary, no-obligation practice data snapshot here: Game-Changing Awareness from Dental Intelligence  – Within minutes we’ll identify your practice’s strengths and uncover hidden opportunities.  I am happy to assist you with this at no charge.

I would love and truly appreciate for you to please leave a review/recommendation for me 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 inbox each month? If not, please start following us today.  If you prefer, send me your email address at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com and I will send you an invitation to follow my blog.

Yours for Greater Success,

Betty – Dental Coach

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

Dental Office Tips and Ideas for December 2019

Dental Office Tips and Ideas for December 2019

Hello, Friends ~

December is the last month of your final quarter for 2019.

Winter Dental Marketing Ideas from Dental Coach Betty Hayden

What does December typically look like in your dental practice? Schedules jammed with patients trying to use their remaining dental insurance benefits before they expire? Patients breaking their appointments same-day because they’re too stressed out or financially strapped to think about going to the dentist? What about you and your employees – do you mentally check out thinking about your time off for the holidays? Or is it just another stress-free and perfectly productive month? Haha – you have months like that, right? 😉

Regardless of what December usually looks like in your office – take some time now to plan for how you will keep/get a full and productive schedule all month long without any extra stress.  I know that we can’t control the schedule 100% because well you know… life happens. However, we certainly can plan to end the year on a happy note.

I put together a few dental leadership, marketing, and management tips and ideas to help you do just that.

Marketing Tips & Ideas

Cookie Cutter Week: 1-7 – Purchase a variety of cookie cutters to individually package and seal with an office label that says: “Our Patients Are a CUT Above the Rest!” See more patient gift ideas here: Patient Appreciation Gift Ideas

betty hayden consulting dental office tips and ideas winter

Travel Toothbrush Bags – Many of your patients travel during the holidays – Surprise them with a small gift for their travels. Put together toothbrush bags that include a toothbrush, floss, toothpaste and a “what to do in a dental emergency” handout. You could also include other travel sized items such as lotion, Advil, lip balm, etc.

Community Involvement: Donations –  Open your office as a Drop-Off Location for donations of non-perishable food items or winter gear for families/individuals in need.

Oftentimes, local print & TV news will pick up these types of stories. (Especially around the holidays.)

Educational Opportunity: National 12-hour Fresh Breath Day: 12th –Create a few short videos for your social media platforms about the possible causes of bad breath as well as some tips and remedies to keep their breath smelling fresh.  

Practice Management Tips & Ideas

Incomplete Treatment:

Do you have any patients with incomplete treatment or ones that are due/past due in hygiene with remaining insurance benefits that will expire at the end of this year? Do what you can to help them see the need and value in scheduling an appointment this month. Some offices invite their patients to take advantage of “today only” special offers that they share via their social media sites, email blasts, and telephone calls.

Be alert to any patients that are coming in with the doctor or hygienist and have incomplete treatment or are due in hygiene. If the schedule allows, encourage them to take care of both at the same time. This means carefully reviewing all charts in advance of the appointment.

Homecare Products:

December is a great time for Special offers  on Electric Toothbrushes

Cosmetic Dentistry Opportunity:

Many of your patients will be attending holiday parties/events during the month of December. Typically with these special occasions come a lot of picture-taking. Now is a great time to help them see how they can easily get their smile ready for the camera with teeth whitening and other cosmetic treatment/procedures.

Gift Certificates:

Remember, Gift Certificates/Cards for Teeth Whitening or Dental Treatment should always be available for your patients to purchase as gifts for their loved ones.

Leadership Tips & Ideas 

michigan dental coach betty hayden leadership quotes

December is National Write a Business Plan Month – Plan now to make 2020 your Best Year Ever! Meet as a team to discuss marketing ideas, production, & collection goals, new patient goals, continuing education needs/wants, and office maintenance/repairs/remodel needs. Put your plans down on paper! Be sure to include a plan of action: The Who, What, Where, When & How’s!

Note: If you struggle with implementing your leadership, practice management & marketing goals – a dental coaching relationship may be the solution! Contact: Betty @bhaydenconsulting.gmail.com.

~ Social Media Post Ideas to Improve Engagement ~

National Cookie Day: 4th

National Cotton Candy Day: 7th

Short Girl Appreciation Day: 21st (Shortest day of the year) 

National Thank you note day: 26th

Bacon Day: 30th

Sometimes despite your best efforts the schedule still falls apart. Don’t stress over it, instead use that downtime to do some training, team building, and/or office cleaning/organizing.

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

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 inbox each month? If not, please start following us today. If you prefer, send me your email address 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

Ten Simple Ways To Increase Teeth Whitening Acceptance In Your Dental Practice

Ten Simple Ways To Increase Teeth Whitening Acceptance In Your Dental Practice

Hello Friends,

Many of your patients are thinking about all the pictures that they will be smiling for at their end of the year office parties and family dinners. Help them get their smiles camera-ready with teeth whitening. Beautiful bright, white teeth for Winter.

Ever wonder why it is that some offices have a lot of success with teeth whitening sales and other offices not so much?

Here’s why… No whitening system sales or whitening goals will ever be reached or work if the entire team isn’t on board with it and consistently offering it. How do you do that?

Here are 10 Tips to Help Make Teeth Whitening a Successful Service in your Office…

how to increase teeth whitening acceptance in your dental office betty hayden

Step One: 

White Teeth for Doctor(s) and Team Members –
Complimentary whitening trays for each & every team member. They need to have a beautiful white smile and an experience to share with your patients.

Step Two:

GOALS –
Set a monthly whitening goal! Talk about daily goals at morning meetings. Consider offering a team bonus or incentive for every whitening case completed.

Step Three: 

In-office Messaging
In addition to being ENTHUSIASTIC when talking to your patients about the teeth whitening services you offer…Team members can wear buttons and/or have a nice 5×7 framed sign in each treatment room at the patient’s eye level offering teeth whitening…

Get a Whiter, Brighter Smile with
Teeth Whitening!

Whiten yellow teeth & virtually eliminate
tobacco, coffee & tea stains!
Ask us how

Step Four:

Scheduling –
When scheduling hygiene appointments over the phone include these powerful words:
Would you also like to whiten your teeth at this appointment?

Step Five:

Take a Shade –
Let your patient know that you’re going to start the appointment by taking a shade match of their current tooth color for your records. You can show them where they are on the shade guide. This very often leads your patient to ask you about teeth whitening and other cosmetic treatment options.

Step Six:

Listen to your patients –
What are they telling you about upcoming events in their lives? Wedding? Job Hunting? Recently Single? Holiday time? Special Events? Vacation? Class Reunion?
What a great time to ask if they would like to have a bright, white smile for their special event, job interview, etc.

Step Seven:

External Marketing –
Include offers for teeth whitening and patient teeth whitening success stories with your… Newsletters, Postcards, Social Media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc) Website, and Blog Posts.
Step Eight:

Reviews/Testimonials

Videos – Video testimonials are a powerful marketing tool for your social media platforms.

Photos – Take excellent before and after teeth whitening pictures to share on your office social media pages.  Display before and after photos in your office so your patients that may be interested in teeth whitening can see real-life examples.

Online Reviews/Recommendations – Ask your patients to share their teeth whitening experiences on Google and Facebook.

Step Nine:

Use only the BEST teeth whitening products and techniques!
Quality matters. As does comfort! Make this appointment as comfortable & sensitivity-free as possible for your patients.
Step Ten:
Buy Sunglasses –
Because your office is going to be filled with such bright smiles, you’ll need to wear shades!

If that’s not enough for you and because I love you all so much here are

Five Bonus Tips!…

#1 – Offer a fun promotion in the community to local businesses. A drawing to win Free Take-home Teeth whitening trays to one or more people. Offer this at local salons, restaurants and schools.

#2 – BOGO Special Offer – Buy One, Get One 50% Off Teeth Whitening. This special offer increases your opportunity to bring in new patients.

#3 – Make it convenient for your patients to say yes. Your patients are busy, assure them that this appointment will be quick. It’s helpful for all your team members to be cross-trained to take impressions and make trays.

#4 – Teeth Whitening makes a Great Gift! Make gift giving easy for your patients by suggesting that teeth whitening makes the perfect gift! Have Gift Certificates ready for purchase. See Dental Gift Certificates

#5 – Tracking – Be sure to set up computer reminders to call, text, email or send a postcard to your patients that have purchased teeth whitening trays around the time when they will be due for a refill.

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

I’m confident that if each step is followed closely and consistently you will see success with your teeth whitening goals.

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 inbox each month? If not, please start following us today. If you prefer, send me your email address and I will send you an invitation to follow my blog.

Yours for Greater Success,
~Betty

Dental Coach

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

Dental Office Morning Huddle Agenda Tips and Ideas

Dental Office Morning Huddle Agenda Tips and Ideas

Hello Friends,

Morning Huddles – How does that make you feel when you read that? Do you ever feel like your attempt to conduct a daily morning huddle is just a big hassle? That the meetings are a waste of time? Or maybe you’re already conducting morning meetings and want to make them more effective, Please keep reading!

Today, I want to share with you some tips and suggestions that will help you have effective morning huddles and answer some questions that many of you have asked about morning huddles.

Dental Practice Morning Meeting Checklist Betty Hayden Consulting

Why should I have a morning huddle/meeting?

The morning meeting is essential for a successful day. If you tried in the past to have a morning huddle and it didn’t work out… try again! However, this time, please follow my tried and true suggestions & tips. Every dental office wants to produce more, collect more, stress less, have happy doctors and team members and consistently exceed patient expectations. Right? Well, effective morning huddles help to make those things a reality.

Remember this: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance!

When should the morning huddle start? and How long should it last?

Twenty – twenty-five minutes before the first scheduled patient.   It should last no more than 10-15 minutes. Taking 10-15 minutes first thing in the morning to ensure the day starts off happy and productive is well worth it.

Who should attend the morning meeting?

Everyone. If scheduling prevents everyone from attending…at the very least the doctor(s), hygienist(s ), assistants and someone representing the administrative team. It is imperative for a team member to be assigned at every meeting to update the employee(s) not present of what was discussed/announced. No one should be left in the dark. This eliminates any “I didn’t know” or “no one told me!”

Who leads the huddle?

Rotate team members to conduct the meeting and make certain that everyone stays on point and that the meeting ends and starts on time (appoint a time-keeper)! Doctors (lead by example) be present at the start of the huddle and end each meeting on a positive note. Team members from each department can & should contribute what pertains to their particular department.

How do we prepare for the huddle?

Each employee should be assigned a task/responsibility for each huddle. For example, Hygienists should be checking their own charts/routing slips (checking for unscheduled treatment, are they due for: health history update, full perio charting, x-rays, etc. any family members due for appts, that the patient is due for today’s appt) at least the day prior and assistants check the charts for the doctors.

Your PMS may have a daily huddle report you can generate to show your production, collection, treatment plans, broken appts, etc. from the day prior and the appointment information you need to review for today.  If you’re not sure if it does or not, it’s definitely worth looking into as it will be a huge time-saver!

What do you talk about?

Focus on: Today, Tomorrow, and a little bit of yesterday 😉

START and END the meeting with something POSITIVE.  Review your office intention/vision for the day.

  • Ata-boy/gal minute – What did we do “right” yesterday? How did we go the extra mile for a patient? Did you notice any team member that did something nice for a patient or another team member? Did anything happen yesterday that could be improved upon or avoided in the future? If yes, How?
  • Today’s Appointments – have all patients been confirmed?
  • Lab Cases – have we double checked that all lab cases have arrived and are correct?
  • Holes – Can a hygiene patient in need of restorative slide over into the doctor’s chair? Is there anyone coming in with the doctor that is due in hygiene? If not, how will we remain productive during this downtime?  
  • Emergency time – Where can we put the “true emergencies”?
  • Potential trouble spots – Review schedule for any potential trouble/hiccups/hangups. Such as: doctor needed in multiple places at the same time, habitually late patient, copays that must be collected, difficult patient, etc. Do everything in your power to start, stay & end on time, exceed patient expectations and work together as a team for a smooth & happy day.
  • New Patients / Referral Sources – Who are our new patients today and how did they hear about our office? Everyone be ready to warmly greet all patients but be sure to introduce yourselves to all new patients. Thank them for coming in.
  • Pre-op calls – Any new patients coming in tomorrow or the next day that the provider can call and welcome?
  • Same day services – Identify any patients that would benefit from same day services (fluoride, X-rays, sealants, desensitizing agents, whitening, mouthguards, better home care tools/products, etc.)
  • Post-op calls – Did we call yesterday’s patients to check in on them? Preferably the doctor and hygienist should make their own calls. (Who do you call? All new patients and any patients that had anesthetic, extraction, or perio treatment. Also, any patients that may have been fearful.
  • Social Media – Who will help with that today? Ask patients to like the office (or check-in) on Facebook, follow on Twitter & Instagram. So many reasons throughout the day to post to your social media sites, such as: a patient brings in a treat, to welcome a new patient to the office, a child joined your kid’s club/team, celebrate a beautiful cosmetic restoration/teeth whitening, team members having fun or being silly, etc.
  • Testimonials/Reviews – Who is a candidate for providing a testimonial/review/recommendation? Be alert throughout the day to ask for testimonials/reviews. Especially when a patient compliments the office on something… ask for a written or online testimonial. Take their picture (with permission) to post on your social media sites/website. NOTE: If a patient that is coming in for today has previously filled out an online survey be sure to review it. If they had a problem make certain it’s not repeated and if it was praise be sure to thank the team and the patient!
  • Goals – Look at Production, Scheduling & Collection goals vs actual for yesterday, today and tomorrow. Reminder to collect all co-pays at the time of appointment!!
  • Open Chair Time – Total Open Chair Time Hours for Yesterday and Tomorrow
  • Broken Appointments – How many same-day cancellations and missed appointments were there for yesterday? How many were rescheduled?
  • Treatment plans and Unscheduled Treatment –  Remember, offer the very best treatment options to your patients, let’s not “watch” or “wait until next visit” chances are it will only worsen. Give every patient the opportunity to say yes or no to your very best care. Were there any patients that came in yesterday that we treatment planned and they did not schedule an appointment? WHY? / Unscheduled Treatment – anyone coming in today with already diagnosed treatment that is unscheduled? Who & How will we reintroduce treatment to the patient(s)?
  • Conclusion – End the meeting on a positive note. Tell a funny joke, read a positive quote and/or thank your team. Watch a quick motivational, educational or funny video clip. This meeting sets the tone for the day… Make it a happy one! Let’s go change someone’s life or at the very least help them smile bigger and healthier!

Here are a few additional tips for a successful morning huddle:

Come prepared! Have ready copies of the schedule (today and tomorrow). Charts/treatment should be reviewed (by the provider/assistant) the day prior to the huddle. Be sure to have available your collection, scheduling and production goals for today and tomorrow and yesterday’s results.

  • Stand for the meeting. This helps to keep the huddle on time and hold everyone’s attention.
  • Maintain a positive attitude regarding the importance of DAILY morning meetings.
  • Use a check-list! This will help you stay on time and cover all points.
  • FOOD! Every once in a while surprise the team with bagels, donuts, coffee, muffins, etc. 

I strongly encourage you to implement daily morning huddles, simply because I know that they’re effective and I want all of you to have happier, more productive and stress-free work days!

If you already conduct morning huddles, way to go! Feel free to share with me any of your tips for successful morning huddles.

Should you need any help implementing these ideas or have any other questions that I can help you answer…I’m ready to help.

If you enjoy the complimentary ideas that I share each month, I would love and truly appreciate for you to please leave me a review/recommendation on GOOGLE and/or FACEBOOK

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.

Huddle Up and Have a Great Day!

Yours for Greater Success!

~Betty

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

Betty Hayden Consulting Dental Coach