How Can I Reduce Appointment No-Shows?
Missed appointments, apart from being frustrating, result in the loss of finances and resources as well. On average, no-shows and last-minute cancellations can cost dentists up to $30,000 per year! Moreover, missed appointments create many other problems in dental practices. Patients who fail to turn up deprive other patients of an opportunity for treatment.
Although some no-shows are unavoidable, many of them can be eliminated.
Effective ways to reduce appointment no-shows
The majority of no-shows are due to patients forgetting their appointment dates. But if you provide periodic reminders to your patients that will encourage them to mark their calendars and plan the month or week accordingly, not only can you significantly reduce appointment no-shows but contribute to patient loyalty as well. However, manually sending reminder messages to hundreds of patients on different days can be very time-consuming. Send automated reminders to save both time and money. The following 3 periodic reminders will give the best results:
A reminder seven days before the appointment if the appointment was created well in advance
A reminder two days before the appointment if the patient hasn't confirmed on their earlier reminder
A reminder 2 hours before the appointment
If the patients have paid a small fee before an appointment, they are less likely to miss it. However, convincing them to do so can be challenging. But if you offer benefits like discounts or "no-wait" on pre-paid appointments, patients will certainly show interest.
Sorry We Missed You
Not all no-shows are preventable, and some patients just cannot make it to your office on that particular day. If they miss an appointment, send them a "Sorry We Missed You" message immediately, and encourage them to get in touch with you to reschedule their appointment.
Perks on Patient Show Ups
Another effective way to reduce no-shows is rewarding the patients that keep their appointments. You can offer them a small discount on their next visit, which will encourage them to keep their appointments in the future. On the other hand, you can also charge a small fee for no-show patients.
Schedule Patients Quickly
One of the most common reasons for patients forgetting their appointments is late schedules. A patient is more likely to forget an appointment a month later than an appointment next week. Therefore, whenever a new patient makes an appointment, try to schedule it as soon as possible.
Missed appointments result in a substantial loss of time and money, but you can reduce appointment no-shows by improving patient communication, sending periodic reminders, and offering perks on show-ups.