Dental Restorative Appointments Cancelling Ahead of Time
Dental restorative appointments cancelling ahead of time is good news! Go with me for a minute on this. A phone call to cancel ahead of time is much better than a “no show”! Right? At least with a phone call, the dental front office has time to try to save the appointment. And to also try to figure out if there is a problem with any of the systems within the dental office. Sometimes, a systems problem is really the culprit!
None of us like to admit it, but sometimes patients do call to cancel their appointment. And this could even be due to some apprehension and nervousness. Any little thing that might pop in their schedule is a good excuse to cancel a dental appointment! It could also be a valid scheduling conflict.
The fact that the patient has called the office with advance notice gives the dental front office time to shine! And the dental front office can do that with a simple “thank you”. Yes, thank your patient for calling ahead of time. And then be sure to let your patient know just how much that means to the office.
But don’t stop there! Next, the schedule coordinator will want to review the patient’s chart and treatment plan. And it is going to be helpful for the dental front office to have some scripting ready. Create a system and a script that you can easily follow and adapt with each patient’s call. Then you won’t have to try to figure it all out as you go along!
Dental Restorative Appointments Cancelling Script
A good example of some scripting for this call would be :
“Thank you so much for calling, Sally. It helps everyone so much when you give us some notice that you need to reschedule. I’m going to review your chart note to be sure we are taking the right steps for you. Sally, we have a note in your chart that your root canal has been completed. How is your tooth feeling? Great! That’s what we like to hear!”
“Sally, I understand you are no longer in pain, but your tooth is at risk of fracture. A buildup and crown is necessary even though your tooth doesn’t hurt at this time. We can definitely re-schedule for you, but let’s not push this out too far. We don’t want to see you break this tooth.”
Try to find out why Sally wants to cancel. Did she not understand the process? Does she have financial concerns? Give Sally the opportunity to talk and share what is on her mind. Maybe, she is simply having a schedule conflict. Be patient and provide her with the time to open up and share any confusion she might have. Then get her rescheduled.
Scripts For Patients Cancelling Due To Financial Concerns
What if your patient says they need to cancel because they can’t afford treatment? Don’t just cancel the appointment and wish them well. Take some time to explore what is going on and how you can be of help.
Sally tells you that she has had the root canal but she just can’t afford the next step. Her car has also just had some problems and she needs to pay for some auto repairs. Here’s what you could say.
“Sally, isn’t it crazy how things always go this way! It seems that way to me too! Everything hits all at the same time. Let me see what we can do to help you.”
It is important to find a way to line up with Sally. Take the time to get in her zone a little. Offer your patient a financing option such as Care Credit if this is available in your office. However, keep in mind, that when cost and financing are discussed and secured prior to scheduling, this probably won’t happen. These short notice financial concerns often result from a weak initial discussion.
So, if Sally doesn’t feel that is an option, let her know you would like to talk with the dentist before you cancel her appointment. Be sure to get word to your dentist as soon as you can. Even if you want to just leave a post that says “Please See Me Soon. Not An Emergency : )”. Then, just let Sally know you will call her back once you have reviewed with the doctor.
Review Sally’s situation with the dentist to see if something can be done to help her get the treatment she needs. It might be okay clinically for her to wait a little. And it might be a situation where she is already on borrowed time. Maybe just a buildup can be placed on her tooth, and a crown could be done a little later.
Another possibility, if she can wait, is a prepayment plan. Maybe she would like to begin prepayment towards her crown and can push it out a little. This would allow Sally to begin making weekly or monthly payments towards the restoration.
Your dentist will want to take the entire situation and the patient’s history with the practice into consideration. It’s extremely important to provide the dentist with all of this information. This is a great opportunity to build more solid patient relationships!
Providing superior patient care for all your patients is what matters. Really taking the time to hear your patient and care for them in every way will put you and your dental office ahead of the rest.
Dental restorative appointments cancelling is an opportunity. It’s an opportunity we miss if a patient just fails to show. These phone calls create learning experiences for us. They allow us to get better at what we do. And they also allow the dental front office to provide superior patient care and customer service.