When Your Day Falls Apart

Have you ever experienced days at your practice that just fall apart or go out of control?  Most practices have fallen prey to this syndrome every so often.  Not always for the same reasons though.  The big question is what to do about when it happens.

Here are 7 reasons and their solutions:

Reason #1:

This one is obvious … a snow day where the weather could be daunting and possibly prohibitive for many of your patients or clients to consider venturing forth.

If you and your team hear the weather report the night before predicting a weather slam for the next day, the team could jump on the phone or send a text or email to every person who is due to come in the next day, letting them know that you will be open and that they can bring their children (if their schools are closed for a snow day) and that you will have hot chocolate and cookies and board games for one and all to come and enjoy before and after their appointments.  In other words, you want the potential “coziness” and fun to outweigh the stormy conditions.

Reason #2:

Despite being fully booked when you went home the previous day, this next day just empties out due to no shows mainly.  Your first thought (and mine) would probably be that the people were not confirmed yesterday.  If that is your guess, you are quite likely correct, but the staff feel that they did confirm everyone.

For instance, many staff just leave a message on the voicemail confirming an appointment and have no idea whatsoever whether the person actually received the message.

Patients or clients may prefer to have a text or an email reminder.  There are now software programs to do automatic reminders by text and email, and many practices have these.  In any case, you must still require a return text or email from the person confirming the appointment or it is still in question as to whether they received it at all.

Reason #3:

The staff did not get the confirming done at all the day before as they were given other tasks that seemed to be more important than doing the confirms.

However, the top 3 priorities of any staff, especially the front desk team, are:

  1. Give perfect service to every person who walks in the door. Drop whatever you are doing to ensure that the person is cared for.  You are there for one main reason and that is to deliver awesome service to every patient or client.
  2. Be sure to actually confirm every person for tomorrow as part of your perfect service.
  3. Get the recall appointments done to ensure patients arrive for future appointments to receive your perfect service.

Therefore, there are rarely any reasons or tasks that would be more important than those top 3 priorities.

Reason #4:

Sometimes staff hate talking to people on the phone or get frustrated at not being able to reach people, etc.  And so they will put off doing the confirms as much as possible or resort to just leaving messages.

The solution for this is to chat with the front desk staff and find out what their concerns are and work out with them how to overcome their reservations and get them seeing the importance of making the calls and getting an actual confirm.

Reason #5:

Sometimes you only have one method of reaching a patient or client, like their home phone #.

The solution is to always get full data from them as to their work #, home #, cell #, personal email address.  This way you have multiple options to reach the person and get them to confirm.

Reason #6:

You have no cancellation policy in place or it is not followed.  This is a weak point with most practices.

Reason #7:

The patient or client does not understand the full value of why they are coming in and let some other factor in their life take precedence.  This is usually caused by inadequate patient or client education on why it is important to keep the appointment.  Lack of sales training on the part of the team often is the culprit.

Bottom Line

When your day falls apart, check for which of the above reasons is causing it and, most importantly, jump on the first sign of it happening and see what can be done by calling everyone who is due to come in during the balance of the day to ensure that the problem does not persist and the day fall apart.  Take control!


Contact us for help with your cancellations and no shows 416-466-6217