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How to Decrease the Number of Cancellations and No Shows!
Does your dental office struggle with holding patients accountable for last minute cancellations or no show appointments?
From a psychology standpoint, I find it interesting that this is such a common struggle for many dental offices; yet if you were to take a poll of those same patients I wonder how many keep their hair appointments or golf outings? It is interesting to see how so much of this plays a role in levels of engagement.
For example, with the urgency created around hair appointments and the vanity to look good I find it interesting that someone will not cancel that appointment for the sake of looking good yet will no show to a dental cleaning.
So the question becomes, what can we do to create the same urgency, value, and level of commitment with our patients? The key is in identifying barriers and then customizing your message to meet each patient's needs. First we need to gain clarity by identifying where these negative patterns of behavior are occurring. For instance, do no shows/cancellations occur most frequently on the hygiene side or the restorative side? Do they occur more often with one provider versus another?
Next, re-evaluate the communication and expectations being set for these patients. For example, when an office makes a change from telling patients "oh, it's JUST a CLEANING" to focusing on a team approach to help a patient maintain their oral and systemic health, great urgency and value is created. Or if a patient is "just getting a filling" versus creating emotion with excitement of how rock solid that tooth is going to look once we get done and how much better that patient will feel sends a completely different message to the patient.
Keep in mind that people are motivated to change for one of two reasons: to avoid pain and to gain pleasure. Does your office have a firm philosophy and flexible approach? Are expectations of patients showing up and on time for their appointments clearly communicated? Does your team focus on the patient's outcome that has them motivated and excited for the changes we are offering?
Remember changes take time and patience is a virtue in order to have long term success. Of course, that's the advantage in having a personal AMP coach in your office to help customize this to best suit you and your practice needs and ensure long term consistency and implementation! If this is a challenge for your office, lets talk!
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