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 Office Management and Leadership Ideas for July 2022

Dental Office Management and Leadership Ideas for July 2022

Hello Friends,

July starts your third quarter for the year! Now, is your opportunity to really make the rest of this year count. Make it your BEST year yet!

Here you’ll find some tips and ideas for how you can enjoy healthier, more productive schedules during the month of July and beyond.

Office Yearly Goals – Where are you at with your Production, Collection, Patient Retention, and New Patient Goals for 2022? Are you growing and improving? If not, take some time to evaluate what you can do differently to exceed your goals. Remember, what you’re not changing you’re choosing. And what you allow, you encourage.

Reactivation and Reappointment – How many of your “active” patients have their next appt scheduled and how many do not?  Make sure none of your patients are slipping through any cracks. A solid reactivation and reappointment protocol is key to keeping healthy schedules and healthy patients.

Friends, if you do not know what your office numbers look like, please examine, record, and measure these and other important key practice indicators. 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.

Doctors, 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 my coaching program works, please email me at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com.

Employee Appreciation – July 7th is chocolate day. Surprise your team with a special chocolatey treat.

Reduce Cancellations – With the awesome summer sun and fun activities, patients can sometimes be tempted or inclined to want to last-minute cancel (or miss) their dental appointments. What can you do to reduce last-minute changes to the schedule?

  • Send appointment reminders well in advance of their appointment and be sure to send same-day “looking forward to seeing you” friendly reminders even to patients that “confirmed” their appointment. People often get distracted and can easily forget their confirmed appointments. Your appointment reminders should say that this time has been reserved exclusively for you.
  • Create and take advantage of Same-Day Dentistry opportunities. While you have the patient there, if your schedule allows, and they are agreeable go ahead and take care of those sealants, fillings, or ortho scans instead of re-appointing them.
  • Encourage them to keep their scheduled appointments by having a drawing/contest for a great prize (gift basket, tickets, gift cards, etc). When they come in for their appointment they’ll be entered into a drawing to win a prize.

Family Friendly Offices – July is Get Ready for Kindergarten Month. During the month of July share dental health tips for parents of school-aged children on your office’s social media platforms. Depending on your schedules’ opening availability, consider setting aside one or two days for “Get Ready for Kindergarten with Healthy Smiles” visits. Make it a fun experience for the children.

If you’re looking for dental marketing and practice growth tips & ideas check these out: July 2022 Marketing Ideas

It would be AWESOME to hear from you! If you appreciate and enjoy the complimentary ideas and content that I share each month  – 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!!

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.

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty – Dental Coach

Before you go, would you please do something for me? If you appreciate and enjoy the complimentary ideas and content that I share each month  – 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 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

Dentist Office Management Tips and Ideas for July 2021

Dentist Office Management Tips and Ideas for July 2021

Hello Friends,

It’s been said, “Whatever you’re not changing you’re choosing.” What are you choosing for your dental practice? Do your choices bring you closer to your goals or further away? If you’re not changing the things you know you need to change I encourage you to get the support you need to make the changes necessary to choose success. (Visit Where are you taking your dental practice?)

If you’re looking for dental marketing (growth) tips and ideas for July – check these out: July 2021 Marketing Ideas

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.

Office Yearly Goals –. Are you happy with your Production, Collection, and New Patient Goals for 2021? If not, now is the time to make some adjustments.

Employee Appreciation IdeaEverybody Deserves A Massage Week: July 18-24th. Why not bring in a massage therapist to the office or purchase massage gift cards for your hard-working employees?

Reactivation and Reappointment – How many of your “active” patients have their next appt scheduled and how many do not?  Let us work together to ensure none of your patients are slipping through any cracks. A solid reactivation and reappointment protocol is key to keeping healthy schedules and healthy patients.

Friends, if you do not know what your office numbers look like, please examine, record, and measure these and other important key practice indicators. 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.

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.

 “Time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters.” If you’re often running behind schedule, investigate as to the reason(s) why. If you know the why… change whatever it is causing you to stray from the schedule. Running behind schedule sends a message to your patients and your team that you don’t respect their time. Respect your team by sticking to the scheduled work hours. Be sure that they are not habitually working through their lunch or having to work late. They need breaks to refresh and refuel. Give them that. They have a life outside of work and making them work past their scheduled end time is a real drag. I understand that sometimes unexpected events may occur so they might be asked to work late or into a lunch hour but this should be a rare occasion, not a daily or even occurrence. 

Arriving at the office with plenty of time before the first scheduled patient, expecting your patients to arrive on time, never wait on hygiene exams, calculate the actual amount of time it takes to do procedures, control the schedules, these things will help you stay on time.

Family Friendly Offices – July is Get Ready for Kindergarten Month. Depending on your schedule, consider setting aside one or two days for “Get Ready for Kindergarten with Healthy Smiles” visits. Make it a fun experience for the children. Promote via your social media sites.

Do 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 here on GOOGLE and/or FACEBOOK

Yours for Greater Success!

~Betty – Dental Coach

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