You take a quick look at your calendar and see a full day and lots of opportunity. Then you check your email.
"Hey, sorry for the late notice, but I need to cancel my appointment"
Ugh! Another cancellation! Do you hate it when you get those messages?
Patient last minute cancellations and no shows are a money and resource wasting fact of life for dental practices. Your practices is affected in terms of both loss time and money
When it comes to cancellations, I'd like to just have you think about a few questions. How are we communicating with patients before appointments?
In our Blue Diamond Member retreat we had 2 weeks ago I went over a couple of strategies on how practices should be communicating with patients before appointments to minimize cancellations.
Get Your Messages Seen
We recently did a webinar with Podium, a messaging platform, and here's one of their tips.
They said, make your business phone number textable. Here's the reasons why, 90% of our consumers prefer texts from businesses and 99% of those text messages get opened.
Let them know that it's ok to text in your advertising, website, and signage. For most people these days it's their preferred mechanism of communication, so why would we not want to let them know?
Make It Easy And Be Available
With texting we can make our practice available outside of normal business hours. Patients these days are requesting more convenience. If they come home from work and need to make an appointment, you need to make it easy for them to do it and be available when they do.
Both of those features can help your practice dramatically. If you have constant changes to the schedule, you can utilize mass messaging to communicate with your patients. I would say though, be careful here, right? Be careful how you use texting. You don't want to make it so easy for the patients to cancel that you create additional problems.
Use Positive Communication
I've also seen practices send out a mass message that says something to the extent of "we've had three cancellations today. If anybody wants it and please let us know."
We don't want to be sending that message either. When you're communicating with patients, make sure you're not using the word cancellation, make sure you're using positive language.
So check and double check before you send out a mass text message.
Make Onboarding Easier
We're hearing from teams is, "Oh my gosh, the extra steps, onboarding, checking people in, having them fill out their COVID questionnaire... it is taking so much time!"
So in your text messages, in your confirmation text, you can tell them about your new process. What do you want them to do when they arrive texts our office upon arrival before leave your car, we're going to let you know when we're ready for you.
You can send some of this through text, so it's less time intensive for our team.
Not only will these communication strategies help you minimize appointment cancelations, but it’s important to remember that last minute schedule changes open the door of opportunity for same day dentistry.
Our members who have optimized their same day dentistry operation look at canceled appointments or no shows, as golden opportunities to replace that lost revenue.