It’s a constant problem in dental practices – a patient calls at 10:00 AM to cancel their 2:30 PM appointment. What do you do?? Can the appointment be saved?
What you DON’T want to do is get into a fight with the patient or start asking them a million questions about why they can’t keep the appointment. They will most likely get defensive and nobody wins.
So what do you do? Here is an amazing trick that is simple to do and actually saves around fifty percent of your last minute cancellations!! When the ubiquitous Mrs. Jones calls to cancel, simply say:
“Mrs. Jones, please allow me to put you on a brief hold while I retrieve your patient record.”
This is pretty much the ONLY time we recommend putting a patient on hold. Keep them there for around two minutes while you look at their record and have a brief conversation with the doctor or hygienist if necessary.
They are now listening to your great on-hold message, getting a little squirmy, and feeling kinda guilty. Then come back and say…
“Mrs. Jones, thanks for your patience. It looks like we have you scheduled for a thirty minute appointment to do a tooth-colored filling restoration on the lower right. Dr. Sardonicus is CONCERNED that if you don’t get this taken care of as soon as possible, the decay can grow and cause an even bigger problem which will need more extensive treatment. Is there any way possible you can keep this appointment?”
Do the same for hygiene, but say something like…
“Your hygienist Becky is CONCERNED about the area of inflammation and infection on the upper left.”
Amazingly, using this technique saves around fifty percent of those pesky last minute cancellations. That is good for your patient, good for your schedule, and money in the bank!!