How to Prevent Same Day Dental Hygiene Appointment Cancellations

How to Prevent Same Day Dental Hygiene Appointment Cancellations

Hello Friends,

A complaint I hear quite often is “we have so many hygiene cancellations every day!” Does that happen to you? You have a beautiful, full hygiene schedule at the start of the day and by the afternoon the schedule looks more like swiss-cheese! UGH!

Most often I discover that we have allowed patients to think it’s ok to cancel at the last minute. If you have created this cancellation monster, it will take some time to re-train your team and your patients. How do we train our patients that it’s ok to cancel last-minute?

  • Not creating true value for the appointment through patient education.
  • Constantly rescheduling patients appointments because of some change to the provider’s schedule.
  • Not respecting the patients time by running behind and not giving the very best experience from start to finish.
  • Telling the patient, no problem or that it’s OK when they call to cancel.
  • Poor and inconsistent appointment reminder systems and protocols.
  • Not acknowledging no-shows with a telephone call 5 minutes after their scheduled appointment time and with a follow-up letter/text/email.

Sadly, I have heard many offices tell the patients, no problem when they call to cancel. They don’t even attempt to reschedule. They just say OK and hang up. I’m not joking. This really happens.

Today, I’ll share with you some scripting examples for handling calls from patients that want to cancel same-day hygiene appointments.

what do I say when patient calls to cancel their dental hygiene appointment

 

Please note: this isn’t scripting for perio appointment cancellations. You would use different scripting for those types of appointments.

Scenario #1:

Patient: I’m calling to cancel my appointment for today at 10:00, it’s just for a cleaning.

Admin: NOOOOO!

What do you do? It’s 9:00, how are you supposed to fill that time slot?

Scenario #2:

Patient: I’m calling to cancel my appointment for today at 4:00, it’s just for a cleaning.

Admin: YESSSSS!

What do you do? Celebrate, of course! Now you can get out early.

I’m kidding! We hate cancellations (even the “just a cleaning” ones) at any time of day because they all kill profitability.

So what do you say to the patient when they try to cancel? How do you save the appointment?

You can’t save them all, there are unavoidable, legitimate reasons that some patients are canceling their appointment. For help filling the schedule with those inevitable last-minute cancellations, please see: Ideas to Fill Holes in the Dental Hygiene Schedule

For all others, try this:

Patient: I’m calling to cancel my appointment for today at 10:00, it’s just for a cleaning.

Admin: (with genuine concern) “Oh no! I hope everything is alright. Jenny was really looking forward to seeing you today for your appointment. Is there any way you can keep your reservation?” or

“Oh no! Thank you for calling, I know Jenny will be concerned, is there anything we can do so that you can be here today?”

or, if you have a broken appointment policy…

Admin: “Oh no! I’d hate for you to have to pay the broken appointment fee, is there any way you can make your reservation with Jenny?”

Now, if the patient is sorry and truly can’t make the appointment and this is the first time they’ve canceled an appointment, say this:

Admin: “I know that Jenny was looking forward to seeing you, I’m sorry that you weren’t able to provide us with 48 hrs advance notice due to (whatever their reason was) – we’ll go ahead and waive the broken appointment fee this time. Let’s get you rescheduled…”

Or if you don’t have a broken appt. policy, say this:

Admin: “We obviously made an appointment for you that isn’t convenient. Since your appointments are important I want to make sure we never do that again. Is there a time we can schedule that you know will work better with your schedule?”

Document your conversation and that you waived the fee for this time and that the patient is aware next time they’ll be charged.

If the patient refuses to reschedule their appointment…

Admin: “That’s fine, but if I don’t hear back from you, I will call you on ______, how does that sound?” (Follow through on that promise.)

For patients that habitually cancel, I urge you to charge them your broken appointment fee and do not reschedule their appointment.

Admin:  “Mr/Ms (use their name), I can see that you have a really busy schedule and that makes it difficult for you to commit to an appointment time. I thought I was a busy person!
What I recommend is that we place you on our “same day” call list. If we have an unexpected change in our schedule we’ll give you a call. How does that sound?”

Document your conversation! Follow-up accordingly.

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. But, I’m sure that’s never happened in your office, right? 😉

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, respectfully help the patient find a way to keep the appointment as scheduled without threatening or embarrassing them.

Ultimately, preventing cancellations starts with creating value for the appointment before it’s even scheduled… it’s never “just a cleaning” that they are trying to cancel.

Create solid hygiene continuing care protocols for your team and consistently follow them.

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

Are you receiving my free dental marketing and practice management ideas every month to your inbox? If not, PLEASE take a second and follow today or send me your email address and I will send you an invitation to follow. This way, you won’t miss a single idea. Feel free to share my blog with your dental friends. ~ Thank you!

Yours for Greater Success!

~Betty

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Tips and Ideas to Fill Holes In Dental Hygiene Schedules

Tips and Ideas to Fill Holes In Dental Hygiene Schedules

Hello Dental Friends,

Holes in the dental hygiene schedule, why do we dread this so much? Because, unfilled appointments, canceled or missed appointments all kill profitability.

So what do you do? You probably are desperate for a quick fix to fill the holes in the schedule. Right? Well, I’ll help you out by sharing some ideas to fill the hygiene schedule as a quick fix. However, I must say a quick fix is typically only a temporary fix. If holes in the schedule are becoming the norm around your office you need something more than a quick fix to figure out why this is happening and work to prevent your hygiene schedule from looking like Swiss cheese every week. Please email me at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com or comment here if this is becoming an issue with your schedule. I can help you prevent these holes from happening.

On to the ideas for a quick (temporary) fix:

Note: If at all possible, try to avoid moving patients appointments around to fill in gaps. It can aggravate the patient. It’s always best to keep their appointment as scheduled.

Also, this isn’t the time to point fingers or start blaming someone for having holes in the schedule. Work together, as a team to fill these holes. Ideally, the hygienist should be involved in making these calls to patients, etc. Patients are more likely to respond when it’s their beloved hygienist calling them. Besides, the hygienist(s) are obviously the one(s) with the extra time. So the ideas I share are directed to the hygiene department with the goal of them becoming productive, happy and profitable.  (Again, you will want to at a later date, work together as a team to determine why this is happening and create solutions to repair the breakdown.)

how to fill holes in dental hygiene schedule

  • Call List – Do you have any patients that would like to come in at an earlier date for their hygiene appointment?  Call them and let them know you have a rare unexpected change in the schedule and can see them sooner.
  • Cancellation/Missed Appt List – Do you have any patients on these lists that can be called? (BTW: If you’re not looking at this report each week, you should be!)
  • Family Members – Check for other family members due for their hygiene appt. Is there someone coming in with hygiene that has family members that are also due in hygiene that may want to take one of those open slots.
  • Doctors Schedule – Check the doctors schedule for any patients that may be due for their hygiene appt and are coming in around the time that needs to be filled in hygiene. Invite them to take care of their hygiene appointment at the same time.
  • Incentives – Offer an Incentive for accepting a last-minute appointment. For example, complimentary fluoride, teeth whitening, small gift or gift card. Use your social media platforms to advertise this awesome today (or tomorrow) only opportunity.
  • Continuing care/past-due List – Get on the phone and with an enthusiastic and positive tone make some calls to your patients that are due or past due in hygiene. (Vary the times you make these calls. You’ll reach more patients this way.)
  • Social Media – Engage with your patients, potential patients and local businesses on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. For ideas see: Social Media Content
  • Spend more time with your patients. If you have open time that couldn’t be filled, take this opportunity to discuss better home care tools, update their information and medical history, do some perio charting, talk about cosmetic services, any recent continuing education courses, place sealants, apply desensitizing agent to any sensitive teeth, take impressions for whitening trays, review incomplete treatment with them, ask them if they’ll kindly leave a review on Google, Facebook or Yelp, mention how dental gift certificates make great gifts, etc.

Just a reminder before making any calls, it would be a good idea to check your patient’s account balance, insurance benefits and review their clinical notes. Also, be sure to document all calls, conversations, and correspondence made to or with the patient.

If the holes in your schedule are a few weeks out you can try these ideas:

  • Special Offers – Focus on a particular service or group of patients to target with special offers or prizes on a day that has a lot of holes. For example, Mouthguards  / Teeth Whitening / Sealants / Desensitizing Agents / Back to School / Kids day / Senior day.
  • Fun Themed days – Superhero, Luau, BBQ, Disney, Sports, etc.

Despite your best efforts to fill the schedule, you may still end up with some holes that just couldn’t be filled. That’s alright, there is plenty to do to remain productive during this time.

During downtime:

  • Get on the phone and make continuing care calls.
  • Pull Incomplete hygiene treatment report and call, send postcards, emails, texts or letters to your patients.
  • Make calls, send emails, postcards, letters, etc.to your patients that are due, past due or almost due in hygiene.
  • Thoroughly clean and stock treatment rooms.
  • Get out and visit with area businesses. Introduce the office, take them a small gift and a “let’s get acquainted” special offer.
  • Discuss some marketing ideas for the office.
  • Continuing Education. Watch a webinar or video, read a manual, etc. Improve your clinical skills, knowledge of new technology and procedures, telephone scripting, office protocols, etc.
  • Take a tour of the office and look for any areas that could use some improvements. See Clean your Dental Office for ideas.

I hope these ideas provide you with a quick fix to fill those holes in your schedule. Let me know how they work for you. If you enjoy the complimentary ideas that I share each month, I would love and truly appreciate for you to please leave a review on GOOGLE or FACEBOOK

If you are not yet receiving my free dental marketing ideas every month to your email inbox, PLEASE take a second and subscribe today. This way, you won’t miss a single idea. Feel free to share my blog with your dental friends. ~ Thank you!

Yours for Greater Success!

~Betty

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

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Dental Tips and Ideas for April

Dental Tips and Ideas for April

Hello Friends,

Your first quarter is coming to an end and that means it’s time to make plans to have an awesome second quarter.

Here are some practice management and marketing ideas to help you grow your dental practice, exceed your current and potential patient’s expectations, and to have more fun as a team!

Dental Marketing and Practice Management Tips and Ideas for April…

spring dental marketing and practice management ideas betty hayden consulting

~ Dental Marketing Ideas for April ~ 

April is National Garden Month –  So let’s think and talk about the month of April and how we can use gardening & spring flowers to market your practice and exceed your patient’s expectations.

 Here are some ideas for you:

Theme: Spring Flowers

Focus: Implants and/or Oral Cancer Screenings (See: April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month Tips and Ideas)

Fun Give Away: Flower Seed Packets w/a label and business card attached.

Flower seed packets can be purchased at most Dollar Stores for around .20 a packet. Great deal!

The labels you attach to the flower seed packets can say:

Your referrals help grow our practice, Thank you!

Our Office Blooms Because of you!

Please enjoy these flowers growing as much as we enjoy your referrals growing our practice.

 Your patients will love these little flower seed packets give-aways! Often times they ask if they can take one for a friend/family member. Of course, they can! This is why you want to make certain the office name & info is on the packet.

For awesome ideas for flower seed packaging/presentation visit my Pinterest board HERE

National Pet Month – People love to talk and brag about their pets. Use this week to ask your friends/patients on your social media sites to post pictures of their pets. Post pictures of your team members pets.

Turn it into a contest: the pet with the most likes wins a special treat. 

Give-away: hand out dog treats packaged with your office information. Even if a patient doesn’t have a dog surely they know someone who does…great way to get your office name out there!

~ Social Media Post Ideas to Improve Engagement ~

Vitamin C Day: 4th

No Housework Day: 7th

Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day: 12

National Garlic Day: 19th

Take Our Daughters & Sons to Work Day: 26th

Sense of Smell Day: 28th

Now on to the Practice Management ideas for April:

Hygiene Continuing Care/ Recare Opportunity:

Cleaning For A Reason Week: 18-24 – Send out email & text reminders to your patients that are due/past-due for their hygiene visit. Time for their Spring Cleaning! The “reason”? For their health’s sake – or, consider donating a portion of the production to a local charity.

Community Involvement Opportunity:

Community Spirit Days (1-30) – What a great opportunity for your office to get involved in the community. Check your city’s event calendar for events and activities.

Are there any charity/sporting/community events that you and your team can participate in or sponsor?

Be sure to share a variety of local community events on your social media sites. This will encourage your patients to look to your office page to learn what’s going on in the community.

National Dental Hygienist Week (Canada): 11-17

Administrative Professionals Week: 22- 28

See Employee Appreciation Ideas Here: Employee Appreciation Gift Ideas Pinterest Board

Just for Fun!

National Humor Month / Laugh at Work Week: 1-7 – Find ways to laugh each day at work all week long.

National Fun at Work Day: 5th – Have a silly theme for this day. (For example, Crazy hair, silly socks, decades day, etc.)

So there you have it, some fun & educational ways to help your patients and potential patients smile and exceed their expectations during the month of April. Not to mention, have more fun at work!

If you are interested in having me help your office create a custom marketing campaign that includes ideas for special offers, office fun, patient give-aways/drawings, community involvement, cross-marketing with local businesses and hygiene continuing care/incomplete treatment scripting, please contact me today at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com

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

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

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Dental Tips and Ideas for October

Dental Tips and Ideas for October

Hello Friends,

October is the start of your final quarter for the year. It’s your opportunity to make it your best fourth quarter ever. To help you plan for that, today I’m sharing some tips and ideas with you. Ideas that when implemented will keep things fresh and fun in your office. More importantly, they will exceed your patients and potential patients’ expectations which will allow you to focus on doing what you do best, helping your patients achieve healthy and beautiful smiles. Why? Because exceeding your patients’ expectations will help keep them loyal to your office.

Fall Dental Marketing Ideas for October

Here are some fun ideas for October – I know a lot of offices will be focusing on Candy Buy Back events so I will share some ideas for those events and some other ideas just in case you’re looking for something a little extra to exceed patient expectations.

Candy Buy Back:

Options:

  •   Collect candy in office. Open to the Public

Or you can do this,

  • Team up w/local school(s) and set up collection bins in each classroom where the kids can bring in their candy and the classroom with the most candy wins a gift card or get a local pizzeria to donate pizza for a classroom pizza party for the winning classroom.

If you desire more help with a candy buy back event for your office, please contact me at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com for a consultation. I have had the privilege of creating & implementing candy buy back events from start to finish. 

More tips and ideas for the month of October: 

National Apple Month – See  Apple Month dental tips and ideas

Service/Product Opportunity –

National Orthodontic Health Month – Use this as an opportunity to promote Invisalign. This time of year people are thinking about gift ideas and want to get their smile camera-ready for the holiday parties.

Community Involvement Opportunity  –

National Field Trip Month – Don’t wait for Children’s Dental Health Month in February to invite local schools to bring in their students for a Field Trip to the dentist. Bring them in during the month of October instead.

National Friends of Libraries Week: 15th -21st  – See Dental Ideas for your Local Library  & Part 2

Educational Opportunity –

National Dental Hygiene Month – Throughout the month, make a special effort to work your hygiene continuing care lists. Send emails, texts, and make calls encouraging patients to schedule their hygiene appointments. Use your website and social media platforms to share dental hygiene tips and facts with the community.

National Face Your Fears Day: 10th  – Opportunity to share what you do to help make dental visits more comfortable for the fearful patient.

~ Social Media Post Ideas to Improve Engagement ~

 National Walk Your Dog Day: 1st 

National Taco Day: 4th 

World Smile Day: 6th 

National Kick Butt Day: 9th 

Wear Something Gaudy Day: 17th 

World Pasta Day: 25th 

National Knock-Knock Jokes Day: 31st 

If you are interested in having me help your office create a custom marketing campaign that includes ideas for special offers, office fun, patient give-aways/drawings, community involvement, cross marketing with local businesses and hygiene continuing care/incomplete treatment scripting, please contact me today at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com

I have some more marketing & practice management ideas for October coming soon!

Are you receiving my free dental marketing and practice management ideas every month to your inbox? If not, PLEASE take a second and follow today or send me your email address and I will send you an invitation to follow. This way, you won’t miss a single idea. Feel free to share my blog with your dental friends. ~ Thank you!

 It is my wish that you all have a wonderful October!

 Yours for Greater Success!

~Betty

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

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