Confirming Dental Appointments Well Makes Such A Difference!
Appointment confirmations are extremely important. They can also be time consuming. But time put in on the front end of our schedules, will produce more solid and predictable dental office days. I also get that appointment confirmation may not be a very exciting topic. And that confirming dental appointments well is not the same as just confirming dental appointments.
The idea of doing something well rather than just doing something to get it done is beneficial in every area of our lives. For example, let’s look at our diet or nutrition. We can eat and we will survive for a time. However, eating well and having the discipline to feed our bodies well improves the quality of our life and extends the length of our life. Likewise with our dental appointment confirmations. We create healthier dental practices with stronger appointment confirmation systems!
In your dental office, it’s the “little things” in our daily routines that set the stage for our health and prosperity. And our daily appointment confirmation system is a not so “little thing” that is often neglected. If you are seeing open appointment times, especially at the last minute, it could be your confirmation system needs some attention! A solid system with a few key phrases and words will help to improve your patient relationships as well as your daily schedules! And I can help!
Confirming Dental Appointments Well Means Confirm Early!
Dental office telephones are busiest in the morning. The dental front office team has their “octopus” on right at the gate when they start their day. It’s critical that the dental front office doesn’t wait until late morning or early afternoon to start the confirmation process. The earlier the better!
Timing is everything! Learning to organize your day and prioritize your tasks will make or break your day. Great time management is so helpful.
Telephone scripting helps any dental office team member answer the phone or make calls. It is a great idea to have everyone on the team have some telephone training to be able to answer the phone. It is also helpful if any team member can jump in to help with confirmations if needed.
What would a confirmation script look like? Of course, your office is going to want to write a script that works for you. It’s important to know that the idea is not to read the script and sound like a bunch of robots. Each individual person has their own personality and style. It’s important to be natural and sound natural.
When You Reach Your Patient
Here is an example of scripting when you reach your patient:
“Hello. This is April at The Dental Office. I’m calling for Joe. Oh, Hi Joe! I’m calling to confirm your appointment with Dr. this Thursday at 9:00 a.m.”
“You are scheduled for your root canal on that upper front tooth. How is your tooth doing? Great! Did you have any questions about the procedure? Ok. We have you scheduled for an hour and a half.”
“Please remember your antibiotics an hour before this appointment. Do you have those on hand? Great! We will ask you to bring $280.00 that day. Ok. We’ll see you Thursday.”
When You Leave A Message
Here is an example of scripting when you leave a message:
“Hello. This is April @ The Dental Office. I’m calling about Joe’s appointment this Thursday. Joe, if you could please call the office at 888-888-8888 as soon as you get this message. Thank you so much”.
Confirming dental appointments well means confirm the appointment! I know it’s crazy! But leaving a message isn’t an appointment confirmation. You want your patient to know who they are scheduled with and what they are scheduled for. It is important that they understand how long they are scheduled to be in the office, and any medication or costs associated with the appointment.
Appointment confirmations are so much more than time confirmations! However, you absolutely want to know your patient is coming! Avoid any confusion or miscommunications by laying it all out for them.
Confirming Dental Appointments Well Means Confirm 2 Days Out!
Definitely confirm your patients 2 days in advance. Especially if this is the amount of notice you are asking that they give you to reschedule their appointment.
Confirm hygiene appointments 2 weeks out and 2 days out! Dental hygiene patients most often are scheduling their next hygiene appointments 3, 4 or 6 months out. Our appointments creep up on them so quickly! Calling to remind them 2 weeks out of their upcoming appointment, allows you to better care for your patients and your schedule.
What to say when you are confirming 2 weeks out: “Hello! This is April at The Dental Office. I’m calling today for Joe. Hi Joe! How are you? Glad to hear it. I see that we have you coming into the office in 2 weeks for your hygiene visit.”
“We’ve got you on our calendar for December 17th at 8 a.m. I hope that still works for you! No? I understand. Yes, the holidays are busy times for everyone.”
“Joe, when do you return from your trip? Okay. I will call you after January 5th. Would you like another 8:00?”
“Is there another time that might also work for you? Great! I’ll work on that and we’ll get you scheduled when you return. Safe travels”.
Then add Joe to your call list for January! Voila! You just made time for someone else who is only here during Christmas time!
Confirming Dental Appointments Well Means Implement Automated Confirmations!
Automated confirmation messages are tremendous time savers! Yes, you still have to respond to automated text and email confirmations. Yes, there will still be patients who miss their appointments. But I know for a fact, that you will spend less time managing appointment confirmations, and more patients will show up for their appointments.
I highly recommend Lighthouse! They offer so much more than appointment confirmations. You can customize messages, reach out to patients who are not scheduled for treatment, and even offer open appointments to patients. Check it out yourself!