Short Notice Cancellations & Failed Appointments

by Dr. Ron Arndt

Clients report to me that one of the most challenging issuces they deal with in their dental practices is with patients who fail to show up or cancell at the last minute.  They argue it costs them thousands of dollars each month; disrupts the schedule; and creates conflicts between the office/doctor and patients.  As their dental coach I invite them to think about establishing “boundaries” around what is acceptable behavior and protocol.  The response: “are you nuts, I don’t want to upset the patient…they may leave the practice.”  I remind them that if they continue to do what they have always done they will continue to get what they have always gotten.  Additional lost income and upset.

I was recently on vacation at one of my time-shares in Arizona.  The facility offered massage services.  Below you will read their “Massage Therapy Procedures”.

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  Tell me what you think about these “boundaries.”

  1. Please be on time for your appointment, as ending times cannot be extended.
  2. Before you arrive, please be showered and use the restroom.
  3. Payment for services may be either: room charge or cash only.
  4. 24 hour cancellation policy: if you cancel your appointment within 24 hours, there will be a 50% surcharge to your room.

  5. No Show:

    if you don’t show up, or cancel within one hour, there will be the full service fee added to your room charge.

If you think this is offensive then why were all the beds full and a wait for reservations?  Here is the coaching question:

  what can you take from these Massage Therapy Procedures and apply to your dental practice when establishing boundaries around your Short Notice Cancellations & Failed Appointments?  Please reply in the comment section below to share what you do in your office.

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