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!!

Orthodontic Health Month Tips and Ideas

Orthodontic Health Month Tips and Ideas

Hello Friends,

The month of October is National Orthodontic Health Month – what a fantastic opportunity to start your final quarter for 2021 great… maybe even make it your best quarter ever.

Here are a few tips and ideas to help you and your team celebrate National Orthodontic Health Month

Theme:  Orthodontic Health Month!  Healthy & Beautiful Smiles!

  • Dental Hygiene with Braces – Share posts, pictures, and videos on your social media platforms and your Google My Business listing all about how to care for your teeth with braces, how to care for your clear aligners, and how to care for your retainers. (BTW October is also Dental Hygiene month -see more ideas for that HERE)
  • Brace Friendly Candy – Share on your social media platforms what candy to avoid and what snacks/treats are brace friendly.
  • Reviews / Testimonials – Encourage patients to leave a review/testimonial on Google, Facebook, etc.
  • Invisalign – 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 their end of year parties.
  • Before & Afters – All month-long feature before and after ortho photos on your social media pages.
  • Q & A Video Sessions– Use your social media platforms to post short videos of the doctors and/or team members answering frequently asked questions.
  • Special Pricing – During the month of October offer special pricing or some kind of BOGO offer which will encourage them to tell their friends about you 

Practice Management Ideas ~

Unscheduled Treatment Reminders – Reach out to everyone that came in for a consultation but have yet to schedule to get started on their orthodontic treatment. Stay in touch with them via the telephone, email, text, and your social media platforms.

FSA/HSA Reminders – Share reminders on your website and social media pages that orthodontic treatment is an allowable expense for FSA (Flexible Spending Account) and HSA (Health Savings Account) accounts. Don’t let it go to waste by not using it before the year ends. Use it or Lose it.

Doctors, if you would like to grow and improve your orthodontic 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.

Community Involvement ~

October is 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 orthodontist. Bring them in during the month of October instead.

Candy Buy Back ~

Ideas:

  •   Collect candy in the 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.

Gift Ideas for Referring Dentists and their Teams ~

October is Apple Month – Deliver some apple treats to the offices. Such as:

  • Basket Of Apples w/ Caramel Sauce
  • Apple Cider & Donuts
  • Apple Pie

World Smile Day – October 1st  – Put together smile-themed gift baskets.

Or do a team smiles photo contest. Office photo with the most FB or IG likes wins.

Social Media Post Content Ideas to help you Boost Engagement in October

Apple Month 

National Dental Hygiene Month
National Caramel Month  

You Matter To Me Day: 7 

National Boss’s Day (or Boss’s Day): 15

National Candy Corn Day: 30  

National Knock-Knock Jokes Day: 31

Wishing you all a productive, happy, and healthy month of October

Do you enjoy the dental leadership, management, and marketing tips and ideas that I share each month?   I would love and truly appreciate for you to please leave a review/recommendation for me here on GOOGLE and/or FACEBOOK

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 (bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com) and I will send you an invite to follow. This way, you won’t miss a single idea!

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty (Dental Coach)

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

Back to School Dental Office Ideas

Back to School Dental Office Ideas

Hello Friends,

The back-to-school season is upon us. While we typically reach out to the schools during February’s Dental Health now is a great time to start building relationships with school staff & the families that attend these schools.

Here are just a few easy, inexpensive & effective ways for your dental office to reach out to your local schools.

Community Involvement – Use your office as a community donation site for school supplies or new & gently used books to be donated to local children and/or schools in need. Advertise in office, on your social media pages, to local businesses, and the news media via press release that your office is collecting donations for school supplies or books.

This is a GREAT way to bring in potential new patients… when folks come into the office to drop off their donations, be sure to warmly welcome them, give a brief tour of the office, hand out small thank you gifts that are imprinted with your office information or have a raffle they can enter to win a prize.

Social Media Platforms – Share  school-related and dental health content to your social media pages, such as:

  • Back to School Tips
  • Healthy Lunch/Snack ideas
  • What to do in a Dental Emergency?
  • Ortho care while at school
  • Dental Health (importance of, regular check-ups, sealants, mouthguards, fluoride & braces)
dental ideas for local schools tooth decay is preventable dental coach betty hayden

Gifts for School Staff – Choose one, two, or more schools (depending on the size of the teaching staff) and deliver some treats to show your appreciation for the work they do in caring for the children in your community. Some ideas: Breakfast, Lunch, Snacks, Toothbrush goodie bags, Lip balm, send over a coffee or ice cream truck, etc. Be sure that your office information is clearly imprinted on any toothbrushes or small gifts. See my Pinterest boards for gift ideas

and/or

Host a Favorite Teacher Contest  – Invite local students to nominate their favorite teacher. The winning teacher gets FREE teeth whitening and a certificate stating they won for the favorite teacher contest. The classroom with the winning teacher gets a gift card for school supplies or pizza/ice cream lunch.

You could easily ask for donations from local businesses to add to the winning teacher’s prize or for the classroom.

This can be promoted via your office website, newsletters, postcards, emails, office social media sites, local newspapers, and signs in your office.

Have fun with it and be sure to share lots of pictures on your social media pages.

Give-Away – Or have a school-themed gift that you’ll raffle off.  Promote via your social media sites. Allow for your current patients and potential patients to TAG their favorite teacher in the post for a chance to win the gift. Encourage them to share the post on their pages.

Book Fairs – Many schools will be hosting book fairs this school year.  These fairs typically bring in many families.

Create fun, interesting Bookmarks for your local schools that include your office contact information. Deliver these bookmarks as a gift to the local schools to use during their book fairs. Easy! Right?

Tooth bags – Make up little bags or boxes with a “congratulations on your lost tooth” message from your office with space to write the child’s name. Deliver these to local elementary schools for them to keep on hand for when a student loses a tooth during the school day. Both of my kids have come home with a tooth wrapped in a napkin or in a plain Ziplock bag. Why not take advantage of this opportunity to advertise your office?

I have witnessed firsthand just how effective marketing to local schools can be. The opportunity to bring in many new patient families to your practice is huge.

Please feel free to share with me your ideas for marketing to local schools or if you have any dental marketing questions that I can help you answer, I am here 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/recommendation on GOOGLE and/or FACEBOOK

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 to bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com and I will send you an invite to follow. This way, you won’t miss a single idea!

We’re on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn, and Pinterest stop by and say hello. 

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

Dental Office Marketing Tips and Ideas for August 2021

Dental Office Marketing Tips and Ideas for August 2021

Hello Friends,

To help you enjoy a fun and productive summer with you and your team I have some dental marketing (growth) tips and ideas for you for the month of August.

With some planning, enthusiasm, and implementation you have the chance to really set yourselves apart from the other offices in the community, welcome more new patients, exceed your current patients’ expectations have less stress, and more fun as a team. We all need more of that.

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.

Dental Office Marketing (Growth) Tips and Ideas for the month of August…

For many parents with school-aged children, August and September can be hectic months preparing for and getting back into the school routine. Here are some ideas to help make the back-to-school season fun (& healthy) for the community and profitable for your dental office.

Theme:  Back-to-School with Healthy Smiles!

Target Audience: Teachers and school-aged children.

Focus: Preventive Dental Services.

What: Education, Community Involvement, and Special Offers

  • Send a press release to local papers and news stations with “Children’s Dental Health Tips for Parents,” such as healthy snack and beverage ideas, when to visit the dentist, what-to-do in a dental emergency, brushing and flossing tips, mouthguard information, sealants information, and more.
  • Facebook (live) videos sharing the aforementioned tips and ideas.
  • Share social media and blog posts with dental health tips for children.
  • Promote special offers just for teachers and students during August.
  • August is Get Ready for Kindergarten Month – Send out a press release and promote social media posts that focus on kindergarten-aged children.
  • Send treats/snacks to your local schools along with some imprinted office items such as toothbrushes.

Donations – Use your office as a community donation site for school supplies or new & gently used books to be donated to local children and/or schools in need. Advertise in office, on your social media sites, to local businesses and the news media via press release that your office is collecting donations for school supplies or books.

This is a GREAT way to bring in potential new patients… when folks come into the office to drop off their donations, be sure to warmly welcome them, give a brief tour of the office, hand out small thank you gifts that are imprinted with your office information or have a raffle they can enter to win a prize.

Or you could do this…

August is “Happiness Happens Month” – Theme: Happiness & Healthy Smiles

Throughout the years, studies have shown that there is a connection between happiness and dental health. That means maintaining your dental health will lead you and your children, friends, and family, to a healthier, happier life down the line.

Patient Appreciation Gift Idea

S’Mores Day is Aug. 10th – Give away little s’more ingredient kits with a note that says: We Need S’More Patients Like You. Thank you for your Referrals!

See this Pinterest Board for S’more Ideas

Social Media Post Ideas to Improve Engagement during the month of August

dental social media content ideas from Betty Hayden Consulting

Happiness Happens Month 
Sister’s Day: 1 (First Sunday)
National Fresh Breath (Halitosis)  Day: 6
Book Lovers Day: 9  
Kiss and Make Up Day: 25
Just Because Day: 27
More Herbs, Less Salt Day: 29

Hope you enjoy these ideas and are able to use some of them to help make the month of August a fantastic one for you, your team, your patients, and the community.

It truly brightens my day to hear from you! If you appreciated these complimentary ideas 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