Cancellations — they can make or break a practice. If broken appointments plague your front office and give you headaches, you can often easily take control of these cancellations by asking better questions.
Asking better questions starts with mastering the three Es of building rapport over the phone:
Two huge pieces of communication are body language and facial expressions. Because you can’t see physical cues on a phone call, you have to ramp up the energy and positivity in your vocal communication to make up for it. Make sure your patients know you are excited to talk to them, and look forward to seeing them!
Whatever reason your patient gives for needing to cancel, be sure to express empathy for their situation. Let them know you understand busy schedules, unexpected conflicts, last-minute errands for the kids, etc. Then express a genuine desire to help them make their appointment time work around those conflicts. If you can get to the why of the cancellation, you can find out how to work around it.
Edifying your staff can help put your patient’s mind at ease. If you sense their underlying reason to cancel is anxiety, reassure them that the dentist is gentle and very knowledgeable. Remind them of how many people love your hygienist and get excited when they can schedule a cleaning. Your patients should know your staff’s time is valuable, and they will take care of them during their appointment.
Don’t Make it Easy for Them to “Break up” With You
If your patient base knows they can cancel last minute with no pushback and easily get rescheduled three days later, you don’t incentivize them to prioritize their appointments.
You’re probably asking, “how do I become hard to ‘break up’ with, then?”
In this podcast episode, we talk through some of the common reasons patients try to break appointments and how we can respond to make the “break up” less convenient. There are a few simple measures you can take to help you get to the root cause of cancellations and keep your patients from breaking up with you, including:
Using phrases to eliminate cancellations
Learning to talk to your patients to find out WHY
Creating solutions to their actual problems vs. assumed reasons
The art of silence
Carve out eighteen minutes to listen to the podcast HERE for a full breakdown of these four critical tools for eliminating broken appointments in your office. For an added tool in your arsenal, download our free Cancelation Flow Chart to help you handle those phone calls and control cancellations.
Go the extra mile
Lastly, if you want to ramp up this process and go to the next level, start tracking your cancellations. What is the core reason people are canceling, and how many actually cancel? Track this for a week, list out the top four reasons, and tally those for an entire week. Use that data to create a game plan of how you will resolve the cancellations moving forward.
Often it’s easy to curb cancellations with some small verbiage changes and intentionality.