8 Key Tips to Reduce Dental Appointment No-Shows – Dental Practice Marketing
No shows aren’t just inconvenient, they’re costly. An occasional missed appointment isn’t anything to worry about but consistent absences could be telling you something about your practice. Take action and fix your broken-appointment problem by implementing the following dental practice marketing tips…
1.Create an Effective Confirmation Process
Past methods are usually as simple as a short reminder phone call. But the most effective way to reach your patients today is with a combination of text message and email. Taking the time to confirm appointments two weeks, two days, and even two hours before will definitely help you cut down on the amount of missed appointments you’re having. These appointment reminders can also be given out in the form of an appointment card.
2.Create a Sense of Demand
If one of your scheduled patients misses an appointment, try not allowing them to reschedule for another week or two. This will give your practice the appearance of high desirability and success. Plus, your clients will be less likely to miss their appointments if they know if could be challenging to schedule another appointment quickly.
3.Charge a Fee for Missed Appointments
People are much less likely to forget their appointment time and date if they know they could be charged for missing it. If you have a patient that has missed twice or more in the last calendar year reach out to them and let them know that normally you charge a $100 dollar fee for no-shows. Remember that this isn’t about penalizing but about retaining and motivating.
4.Allow Pre-Paid Appointments and Packages
When money has already been paid, patients are more likely to show up. You could even offer a small discount for those who pay for several appointments upfront. Money really is the best incentive.
5.Follow Up With No-Show Patients
If someone doesn’t show up for their appointment make sure you reach out to them via email, phone call, text message or even a postcard to prompt them to reschedule. Let them know that you missed them and include some instructions on how to reschedule. This will help you retain patients and keep them reminded of their commitment to your practice.
6.Don’t Keep Your Patients Waiting
Have you developed the bad habit of overbooking? If your patients are used to waiting around they’ll be more likely to show up late or not at all. Respect their time and they’ll respect yours. Always be sure to thank them for showing up on time. Good dental practice management won’t leave your patients sitting around but will help them come in and out of your practice in a timely manner.
7.Provide Printed Reminders For Their Next Appointment
Even in an age ruled by technology, a printed reminder can be a helpful way to stay present in the minds of your patients. Encourage your patients to take it home and put it in a place where they can see it and be reminded. You can keep a stack of these at the front desk and have your front office staff be in charge of this important duty. There is now an option to send a postcard reminder prior to their appointment!
8.Develop Strong Relationships
When you take the time to develop strong relationships with your patients they are more likely to show up for appointments, stay loyal, and refer their friends and family. Show genuine interest in those who come into your office and make sure they feel valued and important.
Cancellations and no-shows are inevitable but you can decrease the likelihood of them happening by applying the strategies above!