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Reducing No Shows and Cancellations

Reducing No Shows and Cancellations

In order to reduce no shows and cancellations in the dental office, consultant JoAn Majors recommends creating value for that block of time when you make the appointment. According to Majors, selling that block of time is the first piece that needs to happen. Then, you need to transfer power back to the front desk and make sure you create urgency for that appointment time.

Let it be known appointments are limited.

The front desk needs to make it sound as if there are 30 other people who want that exact time, says Majors. It's a fact there are lots of people who need to have their teeth cleaned. You might say, “If I give you this four o'clock with Sue on a Thursday afternoon, I have to tell you that I have a lot of people that would like to have it. Let's make sure it works for your schedule.”

If the patient says he or she doesn’t know their schedule, don't do what many practices do. Don't tell them they will get a reminder of their appointment time and they can change it. If you do, you are giving the patient permission to break the appointment. You don't want a patient to think it is okay to reschedule  and develop a habit of unreliability.

Show concern when appointments are broken, but don't make it easy to reschedule.

When a patient calls to cancel or if you're calling a patient who did not show up, Majors recommends asking the patient if they have an emergency. Show concern with “Is everything okay?” You are now reaching out to the patient, but don’t make it easy for the patient to reschedule. For example, if the patient wants to reschedule to a late-afternoon appointment, Majors recommends saying something like this: "I'm sorry. I'm going to have to put you on a short call list for that popular time. Should the doctor have a change in his schedule at four o'clock, we'll give you a call for that time.”

Replace the word "reminder" with a different kind of messaging.

Patients are adults. They shouldn’t need reminders with the implied message they can cancel and reschedule says Majors. If you do this, you are signaling that your dental practice changes appointments all the time. Instead of using words like "remind" and "confirm,” Majors recommends doing what she does in her husband's dental office. She calls and says, "It's JoAn from Dr. Major’s office. I just want to let you know that we’re looking forward to seeing you tomorrow at 10:00 AM. Do you have any questions for me?” 

About this Industry Leader:

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JoAn Majors, RDA, CSP®

Certified Speaking Professional & Content Creation Specialist, Soft Skills Institute, LLC

JoAn Majors works with organizations in the dental industry who want to improve predictability, profitability and passion with soft skills. She knows the dental industry because she comes from it and has spent her 30+ year career focused on the soft skills that create value for the procedure, service, practice or relationship involved. She has been fondly referred to as the “word surgeon” finding ways to turn tough or technical conversations into easy-to-repeat systems that create more value and stronger connections.

JoAn is a member of the National Speakers Association, Global Speakers Network, Speaking and Consulting Network along with many other professional organizations. She has been published in more than 25 magazines and newsletters and has written multiple books. Her first book on implant dentistry has been used to train thousands of teams. JoAn has worked in every type of practice in her career, sold dental supplies, and co-founded a software company that sold to their largest competitor in the first decade of her career. Later she was an early apprentice of Walter Hailey at the Texas-based Dental Book Kamp and then was a team training faculty member for the Misch International Implant Institute. In addition, she was VP of Development for one of the industry’s first DSOs.

Currently, she is founder and content creation specialist for The Soft Skills Institute, LLC. JoAn’s “happy place” is at the front of the room inspiring teams to action with her signature “open arms” communication. This is supported by high-value follow-up material for implementation by the team’s executor. Her platform voice and her writing voice are the same: Positive and passionate, but not too preachy. She is happily married to her greatest champion and best friend, Dr. Chuck Majors a second-generation dentist. She still spends time weekly in the practice. She and her family reside in Texas. To learn more or see her in action, visit: www.joanmajors.com


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