Improving the Appointment Confirmation Process at Your Dental Practice

Front office dental personnel with headgearIt’s not uncommon for dental team members to unintentionally sabotage scheduling attempts. Most team members don’t want to seem too pushy, meaning that the last thing patients hear before they leave your office is “call us if you need to cancel or reschedule.” This immediately plants the seed of canceling or rescheduling, giving the patient permission to do so.

Staff Training

Instead of suggesting rescheduling, train your staff members to reaffirm your ideal outcome. As the patient leaves, make sure multiple staff members remind the patient of his or her appointment and that someone fills out a reminder card for the patient to take home. When the conversation is focused on confirmation instead of rescheduling, your patients will follow suit.

Communicate with Your Patients

Take a step back and consider the level of urgency that you create around follow-up appointments. The best people in your office to create this urgency is the clinical team. This is because when patients reach the front desk, they’re just trying to get out the door! Discussing follow-up appointments and scheduling with the clinical team can help make sure the patient is still focusing on the necessary clinical procedures.

Follow a Proper Timeline

Adhering to a defined timeline makes it easy for your entire staff to be on the same page. We have suggested a timeline for patient confirmation below:

  • 1 Month before the appointment – Send a reminder text or email
  • 6 Days before appointment – Send a confirmation text or email
  • 3 Days before appointment – Call all patients who have not confirmed
  • 2 Days before appointment – Call all patients who have not confirmed
  • 24 Hours before appointment – Send a reminder text to patients who have confirmed – those who have not confirmed should be moved to the side and actively replaced
  • 2 Hours before appointment – Send a last-minute reminder to patients who have confirmed and apply a late cancellation or no-show fee to all unconfirmed appointments

Money as a Motivator

When money is attached to something, it becomes more meaningful to most people. Attaching a late-cancellation or no-show fee can be a huge motivator for patients who may otherwise be prone to last-minute rescheduling.

For more tips on keeping your dental practice running smoothly or if you’re looking to relocate or purchase your own dental practice, please contact CTC Associates today.

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