Patient no-shows in the dental office are nothing new.
The important question to ask is “How much is this costing my dental practice today?” AND The Bigger Questions is: “How much have patient no-shows cost my dental practice this year?” Have you looked at these numbers?
The national average for a dental practice to remain in business is $350,000 USD and this does not include the doctors’ salary. The national average a dental practice brings in is $525,000 in revenue annually. This means that you will need to bring in approximately $328.00 an hour if you work 1600 hours annually.
If you have one patient each day cancel, how much will this cost you? Have you taken time to look at this lost of revenue? And even digging deeper, the question is “How many patients need an appointment scheduled?”
Every office our team analyzes has over 100 patients who have unscheduled hygiene appointments NOT counting unscheduled treatment! Do you look at your numbers often enough?
I hear a lot of dental offices say that open holes are a big problem in their practice so let’s talk about some solutions. (By the way: When we work with our clients, this is one of the first areas we analyse with a formula I have developed to close this big gap.)
Today, I will focus on 5 Tips to STOP dental appointment no-shows in your office:
7 Tips to Follow Up with Patents Who Need a Dental Hygiene Appointment
- Provide information and talk to your patients about Optimal Health. We are in the business of providing health for our patients and in return this means a longer and healthier life for millions of people. As a team of dental professionals we have the ability to communicate this important message to our patients.
- Be sure that your patients understand WHY necessary treatment is necessary. Inquire with questions to your patient that require more than a yes or no from your patients. Example: “Mr. Jones, what questions do you have about the treatment we discussed?”
- Your patients need to be clear about the value and benefits to them for completing treatment sooner than later.
- If a patient declines to schedule a next appointment, before they leave your office, ask if you can call to follow up on “X date” and at “Y time.”
- Schedule a follow up call or message to your patient within the next 48 hours. Ask your patients how they prefer to be contacted. The best method to schedule a valuable appointment is to call and speak to the patient personally. Text or a voicemail are a great excuse for patients to procrastinate scheduling a dental appointment. When you follow up or if a patient requests that you do not follow up within 48 hours, ask them when a good time is to follow-up. *Note that if the patient does not want to schedule for necessary treatment it is very possible that their questions have not been answered and /or you may not have understand their objections and how to overcome these.
- Always follow up with your patient in at least 2 weeks’ time if they choose not to schedule for treatment.
- When patients absolutely refuse to follow up, add then to a special call list and set a time on your calendar to follow up in the near future.
When you do call to follow up be caring and compassionate. Allow the patient to feel your concern for their oral health and overall health. Tell patients that you miss seeing them (When appropriate) and let them know that “Doctor is concerned.”
Always review chart notes when following up so you can be aware of any personal situations (i.e. death, illness or recent surgery for them or their loved one, etc.). Be aware of the valuable reasons and benefits for them to schedule treatment and share these when you do call the patient.
Know what their objections may be and understand how to overcome their objections.
When discussing appointments and treatment plans it is of primary importance to discuss the value to your patient and the benefits they will receive from scheduling treatment sooner than later.
Most people will have 3 types of objections and these usually fall into one of these categories:
- Time or,
- Schedule a team meeting, role play some of the latest challenges you have experienced for patients who did not schedule an appointment and even those who did not accept treatment.
Understanding the various personality and behaviors of your patients can also be very helpful in overcoming these obstacles that will hold you back from reaching your full profit potential.
Are you experiencing one or more patients each week who do not want to schedule their next dental appointment? Let’s schedule a Discovery Call to discover how to close this one gap in your profit potential. (You can also send an email to schedule a specific time: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Do you have any other suggestions about how to get patients to schedule a next appointment? Please do share in the comments section below.
Want more information to increase # of patient appointments and your practice profitability? Register for our webinar on Tues Oct 14th @ 8PM EST. Listen to the webinar and receive a $10 Starbucks card. Webinar is recorded. REGISTER NOW: http://bit.ly/StopCancellations
Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS, is Founder of Dental Practice Solutions since 2000. She serves dental practices globally through her dental hygiene systems and online products. Debbie is known for creating sustainable and profitable dental practices through her vast knowledge of what makes a dental practice successful. She is also known as one of Dentistry Today’s Top Dental Consultants. She has a no-charge 7 Day Dental Hygiene Department Profitability Program that you can get a glimpse of what working with her is like. Grab your 7 Day Program here: 7 DAY DENTAL HYGIENE PROGRAM. http://bit.ly/12zpg2D