Tips to Reduce Cancellations and Fill your Schedule with the Best Dental Patients
Keeping a full hygiene schedule is critical for the success of a dental practice. But how can you be confident your patients will continue to show up for their appointments?
It starts with creating a strategy focused on providing a positive customer experience. Combine that with the right tools and learning and development for staff, and you'll begin to see cancellations reduce in no time.
With the right approach, you can build a loyal patient base and confidently grow your practice. Let’s review how to reduce cancellations in your dental practice.How do you keep your dental hygiene schedule full?
The most effective way to grow your dental practice is to gain more customers – yet, that's easier said than done. There are several ways to achieve this goal, and most strategies will fall into two categories— the patient experience and technology.
Focus on the patient experience
Even if your practice boasts five-star reviews, there's always more work that can be done on this front to improve. Train your team to prioritize human interaction and promote a positive patient experience and reduce cancellations.
Continue to nurture those relationships by showing appreciation to people who stick to their next appointments. Find ways to improve their experience, such as introducing dental membership plans better suited to their budget.
Leverage the right technology
Most people prefer to make an appointment online rather than calling to schedule. Ensure your website can handle the traffic, even if it means updating your dental practice management software to streamline scheduling appointments. Not only will online scheduling options provide convenience to your patients, but they’ll benefit your team as well. The right tool will enable you to review scheduling processes to reduce your wait room time and even send patient reminders.
Offer an enhanced experience to potential customers with thorough digital marketing efforts, too. Whether you have a marketing team within your group practice or work with an agency,using local SEO to target new clients in your area will increase appointments. You should continue to update and optimize your website so prospective people can find the information they need.
Another way to drive traffic and provide valuable information with a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page on your website. Providing additional information, such as your staff's professional background and relevant social media channels, acts as a soft introduction to your practice and new patients will feel more comfortable when booking their appointment.
Plus, you can leverage your marketing efforts to promote your dental membership plans.
What is the best approach to handling patient cancellations?
Train your dental team members to treat all cancellations with respect and understanding, while learning how to avoid any additional cancellations in the future. Does your team have the right strategies in place to remind patients about their appointments?
Here are a few approaches to implement for the future:
Streamline your appointment reminder process: If sending out reminders is a tedious and manual task, it could slip through the cracks. Leverage automated software to streamline the process.
Offer multiple reminders: Patients often schedule appointments months in advance, and one reminder may not be enough. Consider sending several reminders in the weeks and days leading up to the appointment to avoid any accidental double-bookings by themselves.
Address missed appointments right away: We all have forgetful moments and sometimes a patient may unintentionally miss an appointment. A timely follow up shortly after the missed appointment will make rescheduling easier for patients.
How can you reduce cancellations with dental membership plans?
Some people may cancel appointments if they fear the cost of a dentist visit —dental membership plans can ease that burden. These plans ensure access to necessary care at an affordable cost.
With a platform like Kleer, practices can build simple, transparent subscription-based plans directly to patients. If they can't commit to a plan initially, send a follow up to them in a few months to remind them of their options.
Here are some benefits of practices offering dental membership plans:
Increase patient loyalty: There’s an incentive to return to your practice if they’ve already invested in the plan and want to maximize their benefits.
Reduce cancellations: Since people have already invested, and the cost is a common reason for canceling, plans inherently lead to fewer cancellations.
Stabilize Revenue: Subscriptions create predictable and regular monthly income, making historically slower periods easier to plan.
Simplify billing: Patients have a set amount they pay each month instead of new bills with different amounts.
Improve patient health: Plans incentivize routine maintenance instead of people waiting until they have a more expensive problem on their hands.
How can I train my dental team to interact with patients to reduce cancellations?
Last-minute cancellations are disappointing, but there's not much your team can do once a person decides to cancel. Train your team members to handle these calls professionally and politely. Have your staff immediately try to get that patient back on the schedule for their cleaning or procedure.
Or if cost is the concern, have your team ask people if they’re interested in learning about dental membership plans. If this is the person’s first time canceling, offer to waive the last-minute cancellation fee as a one-time courtesy. If you don't have any kind of cancellation policy in place, now's the time to implement one.
How do I create a cancellation policy?
Implementing a clearly-stated cancellation policy is a wise strategy for reducing cancellations and no-shows. Here are some tips for creating a policy for your practice:
Establish a time frame: Require patients to reach out 24 or 48 hours before a scheduled appointment to cancel./p>
Decide upon a cancellation fee: Settle on a fee that's not outrageously expensive, but enough to deter patients from canceling.
Share your policy: Make sure this policy is visible at your front desk and on your website.
Reducing cancellations in dental practices
Reducing cancellations is crucial to the success of any dental practice.
By prioritizing the patient experience, leveraging technology, and offering dental membership plans, dentists can attract new patients, increase loyalty, and stabilize revenue. It is also important to train your team to handle cancellations professionally and politely, and to implement a clear cancellation policy to deter patients from canceling at the last minute. With these strategies in place, you can create a loyal patient base and confidently grow your practice.
Remember, removing barriers like cost and making the experience simple is key to reducing cancellations and building lasting relationships with your patients. Your practice can do that by building personalized dental membership plans with Kleer.
Find out how to get started with Kleer today!