By Lisa Philp, RDH, President of Transitions Group North America
One the quickest and easiest way to begin supporting your cancellation policy is to STOP accepting appointment changes and cancellations to be left with your service or on your voice message service.
Many patients will leave a message after practice hours to avoid facing the music of their last minute choice and having to explain to a person who may be able to influence them to honor their reservation.
Make it clear to your patients via a gentle request, firm requirement or mandatory demand (the words you choose are often geographically based) that if they are calling to change their reserved appointment they must call back during regular practice hours to speak to someone directly.
Replace your message with something like the following:
“You have reached Dr. Smiley’s dental office. Our office is presently closed. Our regular working hours are Monday through Thursday from 8:30 to 5:00. If you need to speak with us regarding your reserved dental appointment, please call during our regular working hours. We ask that you do not leave a message regarding appointment changes. However, if you are calling to confirm an upcoming appointment, you may leave the message now and if you are calling regarding a dental emergency you may reach Dr. Smiley at 413-231-5467. Thank you.”
This will avoid the days of leaving with a full schedule and waking up to a machine of cancellations that deflate morale and cause someone 1-3 hours of effort to fill the void, depending on systems.
One more less night caller.. one more WIN.
Lisa Philp is President of Transitions Consulting Group, a full-service coaching company for dentistry. She can be reached at www.transitionsonline.com or firstname.lastname@example.org