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!!

July 2022 Dental Marketing And Practice Growth Tips and Ideas

July 2022 Dental Marketing And Practice Growth Tips and Ideas

Hello Friends,

Happy Summer!

With the dental marketing ideas that I am sharing today along 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, and exceed your current patients’ expectations (get them talking about how awesome you are!), have less stress and more fun as a team. Sound good to you?

Here are a few ideas to help you enjoy a terrific & productive July!

National Ice Cream Month

Treatment Offer – July is National Ice Cream Month and Close to 50% of Americans suffer from or experience tooth sensitivity from time to time. It’s safe to say that many of your patients may be suffering from tooth sensitivity or they know someone who does.

Your product/service feature during the month of July: Desensitizing Agents to treat tooth sensitivity.

Patient Appreciation – Offer free ice cream cones to your patients. How will offering free ice cream cones not incur any extra cost to you? Contact a local Ice Cream Shop for some cross-marketing. Ask if they would be willing to donate 4 or more FREE Ice Cream Cone Gift Certificates that you will use during the month of July for a weekly drawing that your patients will enter to win. What a fantastic way to exceed your patients’ expectations with no extra cost to you.

National Watermelon Month – Patient Appreciation Idea – Serve your patients’ watermelon slices or cubes as a special treat during their visit.

Get Ready For Kindergarten Month – For family-friendly offices – 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.

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 Social Media Content Ideas to Encourage and Boost Engagement during the month of July. (Take some time to create and schedule posts for your Facebook page. As well as for Instagram and Google My Business)

dental social media content ideas from Betty Hayden Consulting

National Blueberries Month

Chocolate Day: 7

National Sour Candy Day: 18

National Lipstick Day: 29

National Avocado Day: 31

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.

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 Ideas for February 2022

Dental Office Marketing Ideas for February 2022

Hello Friends –

Hope you all are having a wonderful & healthy start to 2022!

Are your plans set to exceed your established patients’ expectations, welcome more new patients, and strengthen your relationship with local businesses within the community? If not, hopefully, the ideas that I am sharing here will help you make plans to enjoy a happy and productive February!

For Children’s Dental Health Month Tips and Ideas Visit Here: https://bettyhaydenconsulting.com/2022/01/05/februarys-childrens-dental-health-month-tips-and-ideas/

February 2022 Dental Office Marketing Ideas

February is International Boost Self-Esteem Month – A beautiful & healthy smile can boost one’s self-esteem and confidence.

February is American Heart Month

Heart Health Talking Points: Dental Health and Heart Disease Are Related

Dental health and heart disease are intricately linked and the cost for avoiding advanced periodontal disease or even something as mild as gingivitis may very well prove to be the cause of serious medical problems in the future. Be good to your heart beginning with good oral health.

Tip: If you’re not currently taking your patients’ blood pressure at their appointments… make it a goal to start during the month of February. Many people see their dentist more regularly than a physician and could get an early warning about high blood pressure when getting their teeth cleaned or having other dental treatment done.

dental office blood pressure betty hayden consulting

Pet Dental Health Month – Share pet dental health tips on your social media sites, ask people to share pictures of their pets on social media, hand out dog treats packaged with your office information. Even if the patient doesn’t have a dog surely, they know someone who does… a great way to get your office name out there!

Social Media Post Content Ideas to Improve Engagement during the month of February

Groundhog Day: 2

Bubble Gum Day: 4

National Pizza Day: 9

Toothache Day: 9

Super Bowl LVI (56): 13

National Almond Day: 16

Through With The Chew: Week 13-19th / The Great American Spit Out: 17th

National Chili Day: 24 

International Tongue Twister Day: 26

National Tooth Fairy Day: 28 

Did you enjoy these ideas? I would love and truly appreciate it if you would 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 (AKA Dental Coach)

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