Have you experienced the frustration of working your tail off to fill up your hygiene schedule, only to have last-minute cancellations wreck your day? Of course you have! Read on for some best practices for preventing cancellations from our friends at The Dental A Team.
Cancellations – they can make or break a practice. If broken appointments are plaguing your front office and giving you headaches, you can often take control of these cancellations very easily with some simple “word ninjaing” and asking better questions.
Asking better questions starts with mastering the three Es of building rapport over the phone:
Two huge pieces of communication are body language and facial expressions. Because those aspects of communication can’t be utilized on a phone call, we have to ramp up the energy and positivity in our vocal communication to make up for it. Make sure your patients know that you are excited to talk to them and looking forward to seeing them!
Whatever reason your patient gives for needing to cancel, be sure to express empathy for their situation. Let them know that you understand busy schedules, unexpected conflicts, having to run errands for the kids, etc. – and then express a genuine desire to help them make their appointment time work around those conflicts. If you can get to the why of the cancellation, you can find out how to work around it.
Edifying your staff can help put your patient’s mind at ease. If you sense that the underlying cause for their cancellation is anxiety, reassure them of how gentle the dentist is and how well they will be cared for. Remind them of how many people love your hygienist and are excited to get in for a cleaning. Your patients should know that your staff and their time are valuable and worth showing up for.
If your patient base knows that they can cancel last minute with no pushback and easily get rescheduled 3 days later, they have no incentive to prioritize their appointments.
You’re probably asking, “how do I become hard to ‘break up’ with, then?”
In this podcast episode, we talk through some of the common reasons patients try to break appointments, and how we can respond to those situations in a way that makes the “break up” less convenient. There are a few simple measures you can take to help you get to the root cause of cancellations and keep your patients from breaking up with you, including:
Carve out eighteen minutes to listen to the podcast HERE for a full breakdown of these 4 critical tools for eliminating broken appointments in your office, and download our free guide below to help you handle those phone calls and control cancellations.
Lastly, if you really want to ramp this process up and go to the next level, start tracking your cancellations. What is the true reason people are cancelling and how many are actually cancelling? Track this for a week – list out the 4 top reasons people cancel and tally those for an entire week. Create a game plan of how you will resolve the cancellations moving forward.
Often it’s very simple to curb cancellations with some small verbiage changes and intentionality.
For more tips like these, be sure to subscribe and review The Dental A Team podcast!
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