I’m sure this has never happened to you or your team, but sometimes patients or clients have the nerve to cancel their appointments or fail to show up at all!!! And sometimes doctors and staff find this frustrating and annoying. Can you imagine?!
That was an attempt at light humour on a subject that all offices have to deal with weekly if not daily. The skill of the staff at the front desk can hugely influence how much of this happens and ultimately, the bottom line of the practice.
First of all, it is really all about service to the patient, isn’t it? Your practice exists to service patients, and ideally, exceed their expectations. The question then becomes how to get them to keep their appointments. Re-scheduling over and over again with certain patients or clients is a total waste of Reception’s valuable time. How can you then prevent these cancellations and no shows?
Scheduling the Appointment
Most practices now have a cancellation fee that is charged when the person cancels within 48 hours or no shows completely. Your team’s time is after all very valuable and it is discourteous to back out at the last minute. If everyone was informed of this very nicely when they first come to your office, it will in most cases handle most of the cancellations and no shows.
However, if someone blows it and cancels or no shows and you invoke the fee and the person gets upset, your Receptionist can say something like: “Mrs. Jones, I see in the computer that this is the first time you have ever done this, so you know what? I have one FREE PASS for anyone who misses their appointment the first time, but only the first time. Would you like to use your FREE PASS for this time?” The person is usually very relieved to have gotten off the hook but have been suitably warned that they will not get the same opportunity if they do it again.
The Short List
Of course, the ideal situation is that you have a short list of patients or clients who wanted an earlier appointment than what was available at the time when they were making their appointment, and they would love to hear that you can get them in sooner. This way you can keep the appointment times all filled.
Which makes a happy boss and therefore a harmonious team, right?
If we could show you how to PERMANENTLY HANDLE the major problems in your practice, would that be worth meeting for our free, in-depth Practice Analysis? Contact us!
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