Cancelling Dentist Appointments Last Minute Turn Around
Cancelling dentist appointments last minute is more than a drag in any dental office. You can even feel the climate change when a patient calls in to cancel or reschedule their dental appointment that is set for that day! Unless you can take control and turn it around! And yes, you can. You have the power. I’m going to show you how!
Short notice cancellations happen in every dental office. There is nothing worse for the dental front office than to have poured their heart and soul into creating a masterpiece of a schedule for their dentist and team, only to have a patient call in sick saying they just can’t make it to their 2-hour appointment this afternoon.
Patient is Sick
The patient calls into the office with a very sick sounding voice and they apologize profusely. They tell you how much they were looking forward to this appointment, and they had hoped to be feeling better, but it’s just getting worse for them! What can the dental front office do to support their team and their patients in the best possible way?
You sure didn’t see that coming! And maybe you can’t predict these situations. But certainly, there are some things we can do as a team to help prevent it. And then we can take a look at the things we can do when those short notice cancellations do happen. The thing to remember here is that we truly do have the power and the ability to turn it around. So, if you are struggling with open times due to short-notice cancellations, this is for you!
Build Strong Patient Relationships
Cancelling Dentist Appointments Last Minute: Spend Time with Patients
Make a connection right away. When a new patient enters your practice, take the time to get to know them a little. And then at each appointment, make it important. This is something the entire team can do. It doesn’t fall just on the dental front office team. Be sure to also take the opportunity to create value for restorative appointments.
How do you create value for your restorative appointments?
- Review the amount of time scheduled for your patient with your patient.
- Confirm the financial aspect of the appointment needed.
- Discuss any outside lab involvement in their case.
- Use the word “case” when discussing their dentistry. “Your case” or “Your dental treatment”
- Discuss treatment privately with patient.
- Have patients sign a financial agreement which also outlines the number of appointments needed for their case, and the length of the appointments.
- Remind your patient of the reschedule policy. Let them know you do need notice (whatever your policy is) to reschedule. And get their commitment to your reschedule policy.
Your Quick Call List
Cancelling Dentist Appointments Last Minute:
Your Quick Call List
Your short notice call list is your biggest asset. It is critical to the daily dental office schedule to first create a list of patients who would like an appointment sooner. The best way to do this, is to ask every patient if they are available for short notice schedule changes, and to take the time to get to know your patients.
It is also critical to become the master of short notice reschedules. Learning how to manage those patients who call to cancel will make or break your daily restorative schedule. Learning just what to say and what to do in this situation matter. I have some scripts to help you! And I also have a 3-strike policy to empower you!
The Commitment Conversation
Hygiene patients seem to reschedule their appointments more than restorative. Let me give you a phrase and a technique that will help you. You will find this and other hygiene scripts within the training video above. But it goes something like this. Let’s say you are scheduling an appointment for your patient. And this works for everyone who schedules hygiene!
You make the appointment and make eye contact with your patient. “Okay, Mrs. Jones. You have an appointment for your next hygiene visit with us on December 2nd at 3:00 p.m. Dr. Brown does ask that you give us at least 2 business days’ notice should you need to reschedule.” Pause. Continue to make eye contact and be gentle. (This isn’t a staring contest.) “Could you please do that for us?” Pause again. And wait for their response of “Yes”.