Top 6 Secrets to Eliminate No-Show Patients & Cancellations - Zivvy

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Top 6 Secrets to Eliminate No-Show Patients & Cancellations

Top 6 Secrets to Eliminate No-Show Patients & Cancellations

Dental Scheduling is one of the most important aspects of dentistry and it can ‘make or break’ your entire practice since you’re spending a lot of money on dental marketing to bring new patients in. You either do a good job scheduling appointments (and keeping them) and your business grows, or it becomes a struggle and your practice begins to decline. Sometimes dental offices can be great at scheduling, but you’re always faced with no show patients, or patients who cancel. There has to be a better way to optimize scheduling and to get patients to keep them, right? Right!

It’s clear that neither you or any dentist can stop no show patients and cancellations from happening. In fact, recent surveys have shown that broken appointments account for 10% to 20% of all dental appointments. This can add up quickly with some practices losing $40K or more just due to broken appointments alone.

So the million dollar question is: How to stop patients from canceling appointments? Iin this article today, we’re going to share our top six secrets you can start using right now. These tips will improve productivity, increase the success of your dental practice, and take the stress off of the issue of no show patients and broken appointments.

If you want a dental marketing company that will help you build an effective marketing plan designed to increase high-quality new patients that respect your time, value, and expertise, then click below to schedule your Marketing Assessment Call.

Click here to schedule your free marketing assessment

Top 6 Secrets for Making Patient Appointments Rock Solid.

If you want to encourage your patients to show up for this appointment, try to make it hard for them to cancel or break the appointment. Here’s what you can do.

1. Effective Communication Skills

Effective Communication Skills

The dentist and staff should always maintain a positive and friendly attitude when interacting with the patient. Make the patient feel like a friend or family. You can even make notes in patient charts that indicate their goals along with other personal details. You can comment on them later to make patients feel familiar and build a good rapport.

When it comes to discussing the patient’s first or follow-up appointment, make sure to emphasize the benefits of the appointment, and also the possible risks involved by not showing up.

Here’s an example, “Michael, we have you scheduled for April 15, which is when Dr. Adams will perform your tooth extraction. Once that tooth is out, you’ll be pain free, especially when eating, and then we can schedule the dental implant appointment. We’d like to remind you that if you don’t show up for the tooth extraction, we may not have an available appointment for you for a few months. So please show up for that appointment if you want to be pain free and have your new smile sooner.”

You can see from this example how the staff member emphasised the benefits of showing up for the appointment while also clarifying the consequences for not showing up in a way that shows the patient that they care. At the same time, they now know the risks of not showing up. This little trick can be implemented by your dental front office to decrease the no shows and keep your schedule busy.

2. Appointments Confirmation

Appointments Confirmation

If a patient is going to cancel an appointment, you should know about it very early on. You can consider confirming appointments during the morning of the previous business day. It’s advisable to always have a cheerful and positive attitude during appointment confirmations. If you’re seeing an increase in canceled or no-show appointments then you can try to confirm appointments two days before.

3. Offer Same Day Service

In case you’re not offering this already, consider offering same day appointments for certain patients that can’t come back for a follow up treatment. It will take some time to move things around in order to keep up with the rest of your scheduled appointments but this best practice can be a good solution to reduce no show and canceled appointments.

If you want a dental marketing company that will help you build an effective marketing plan designed to increase high-quality new patients that respect your time, value, and expertise, then click below to schedule your Marketing Assessment Call.

Click here to schedule your free marketing assessment

4. Enforce a No Cancelation Policy

Enforce a No Cancelation Policy

Some dental offices state in their new patient paperwork that they will not tolerate appointment cancellations, late appointments, or no show patients. Some practices go to the extreme and ban patients from appointments for six months for breaking a single appointment. You can still have allowances for emergency treatments and walk-ins when time permits and we wouldn’t recommend that you go to that extreme, but you can try to enforce penalties as a last resort.

5. Charge Appointment Cancellation Fee

Another last resort is that many doctors charge a cancellation fee for breaking an appointment. It could range between 25% to 30% for a broken appointment and no show patients. Also, some offices require 24-48 hour cancellation notice, otherwise a cancellation fee will apply. Charging cancellation fees may not fill in the empty time slot in your schedule but it will make a patient think twice before cancelling or breaking an appointment. You can consider this fee as a rebate for your dental marketing expenses which you have to spend to bring patients in.

6. Use Emergency & Same Day Service to Fill in Empty Slots

Use Emergency & Same Day Service to Fill in Empty Slots

You need to use your time wisely if you want to reduce no show patients and cancellations and also be able to adjust things when needed. If you experience no show patients, don’t wait until another patient takes you up on your same-day dentistry offer. Instead, start right away by offering another patient that same-day appointment slot. Your front office staff should be well-trained to fill any open time, make up the lost revenue, and provide more convenience for patients that are waiting to get in for treatment.

When you deal with no-show patients or cancelled appointments, try to call the patient and ask if there is anything you, or anyone at the practice, can do to help them make their appointment. Once again you can stress on the benefits of keeping the appointment and the risks of not showing up, and ensure that the patient knows how much time the doctor has allocated for their treatment.

To Sum Up

To really decrease your no-shows and cancellations, put these six tips in place.. With the right staff training and a good system in place, you can keep many of those no-shows and cancellations in check and have a more productive practice. You will also eliminate the stress that comes with it for you and your staff.

Need Help with Your Dental Marketing?

If you want a dental marketing company that will help you build a custom marketing plan designed to get high-quality new patients, and minimize no-shows, then schedule your FREE Marketing Assessment Call today!

Click here to schedule your Free Marketing Assessment

Tags : Dental Digital Marketing, Dental Marketing, Dental Marketing Company,

Walid Nofal

Walid is the head of acquisition and client success at Zivvy, he has over 12 years of experience in helping businesses expand and grow. He's also the author of multiple digital marketing articles which can be found on this blog and also LinkedIn.

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