Scripting for when your dental patient calls to cancel their cleaning appointment…

Scripting for when your dental patient calls to cancel their cleaning appointment…

Hello Friends,

I OFTEN get asked the question, what should we say when a patient calls to cancel their hygiene appointment?

Today, I’ll share with you some scripting examples for handling calls from patients that want to cancel same-day hygiene appointments.

what do I say when patient calls to cancel their dental hygiene appointment

Please note: this isn’t scripting for perio appointment cancellations. You would use different scripting for those types of appointments.

Scenario #1:

Patient: I’m calling to cancel my appointment for today at 10:00, it’s just for a cleaning.

Admin: NOOOOO!

What do you do? It’s 9:00, how are you supposed to fill that time slot?

Scenario #2:

Patient: I’m calling to cancel my appointment for today at 4:00, it’s just for a cleaning.

Admin: YESSSSS!

What do you do? Celebrate, of course! Now you can get out early.

I’m kidding! We hate cancellations (even the “just a cleaning” ones) at any time of day because they all kill profitability.

So what do you say to the patient when they try to cancel? How do you save the appointment?

You can’t save them all, there are unavoidable, legitimate reasons that some patients are canceling their appointment. For help filling the schedule with those inevitable last-minute cancellations, please see: Ideas to Fill Holes in the Dental Hygiene Schedule

For all others, try this:

Patient: I’m calling to cancel my appointment for today at 10:00, it’s just for a cleaning.

Admin: (with genuine concern) “Oh no! I hope everything is alright. Jenny was really looking forward to seeing you today for your appointment. Is there any way you can make your reservation?” or

“Oh no, Jenny will be so disappointed, she reserved this time just for you, is there any way you can keep your reservation?” or

“Oh no! Thank you for calling, I know Jenny will be concerned, is there anything we can do so that you can be here today?”

or, if you have a broken appointment policy…

Admin: “Oh no! I’d hate for you to have to pay the broken appointment fee, is there any way you can make your reservation with Jenny?”

Now, if the patient is sorry and truly can’t make the appointment and this is the first time they’ve canceled an appointment, say this:

Admin: “I know that Jenny was looking forward to seeing you, I’m sorry that you weren’t able to provide us with 48 hrs notice due to (whatever their reason was) – we’ll go ahead and waive the broken appointment fee this time. Let’s get you rescheduled…”

For patients calling to cancel due to work, try the following…

Patient: I can’t take time off of work, or I have to work…

Admin: “My job is important to me too. We really hate for you to not be able to make your appointment. Is there any way you could have someone cover for you for that time or would it help if we wrote a note to your supervisor?”

STILL NO:

Admin: “We obviously made an appointment for you that isn’t convenient. Since your appointments are important I want to make sure we never do that again. Is there a time we can schedule that you know you will be convenient?”

Document your conversation and that you waived the fee for this time and that the patient is aware next time they’ll be charged.

If the patient refuses to reschedule their appointment…

Admin: “That’s fine, but if I don’t hear back from you, I will call you on ______, how does that sound?” (Follow through on that promise.)

For patients that habitually cancel, I urge you to charge them your broken appointment fee and do not reschedule their appointment.

Admin:  “Mr/Ms (use their name), I can see that you have a really busy schedule and that makes it difficult for you to commit to an appointment time. I thought I was a busy person!
What I recommend is that we place you on our “same day” call list. If we have an unexpected change in our schedule we’ll give you a call. How does that sound?”

Document your conversation! Follow-up accordingly.

Work together as a team to come up with scripting that works for your office. Think of all the different scenarios and reasons patients call to cancel (cost, illness, no babysitter, schedule conflicts, etc.) and role-play the best responses. Your goal should be, if appropriate, respectfully help the patient find a way to keep the appointment as scheduled without threatening or embarrassing them.

If you have created this cancellation monster, it will take some time to re-train your team and your patients. How do we train our patients that it’s ok to cancel last-minute?

  • Not creating true value for the appointment through patient education.
  • Constantly rescheduling patients appointments because of some change to the provider’s schedule.
  • Not respecting the patients time by running behind and not giving the very best experience from start to finish.
  • Telling the patient, no problem or that it’s OK when they call to cancel.
  • Poor and inconsistent appointment reminder systems and protocols.
  • Not acknowledging no-shows with a telephone call 5 minutes after their scheduled appointment time and with a follow-up letter/text/email.

Sadly, I have heard many offices tell the patients, no problem when they call to cancel. They don’t even attempt to reschedule. They just say OK and hang up. I’m not joking. This really happens.

Ultimately, preventing cancellations starts with creating value for the appointment before it’s even scheduled… it’s never “just a cleaning” that they are trying to cancel.

Create a strong hygiene continuing care protocol for your team and consistently follow it.

If your office needs help in creating a protocol for how to track hygiene continuing care reports/numbers, appointment scripting, patient correspondence, etc. please contact me today for a complimentary consultation at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com

Are you receiving my free dental marketing and practice management ideas every month to your inbox? If not, PLEASE take a second and follow today or send me your email address and I will send you an invitation to follow. This way, you won’t miss a single idea. Feel free to share my blog with your dental friends. ~ Thank you!

Yours for Greater Success!

~Betty

P.S. Please stop by and say hello to me on  FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn and Pinterest

 

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Tips and Suggestions for the Best Morning Huddle Ever!

Hello Friends,

Do you ever feel like your attempt to conduct a daily morning huddle is just a big hassle? That the meetings are a waste of time? Or maybe you’re already conducting morning meetings and want to make them more effective, Please keep reading!

Today, I want to share with you some tips and suggestions that will help you have effective morning huddles and answer some questions that many of you have asked about morning huddles.

tips for the best morning huddle ever

 

Why should I have a morning huddle/meeting?

The morning meeting is essential for a successful day. If you tried in the past to have a morning huddle and it didn’t work out… try again! However, this time, please follow my tried and true suggestions & tips. Every dental office wants to produce more, collect more, stress less, have happy doctors and team members and consistently exceed patient expectations. Right? Well, effective morning huddles help to make those things a reality.

Remember this: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance!

When should the morning huddle start? and How long should it last?

Fifteen – twenty minutes before the first scheduled patient.   It should last no more than 10-15 minutes. Taking 10-15 minutes first thing in the morning to ensure the day starts off happy and productive is well worth it.

Who should attend the morning meeting?

Everyone. If scheduling prevents everyone from attending…at the very least the doctor(s), hygienist(s ), assistants and someone representing the administrative team. It is imperative for a team member to be assigned at every meeting to update the employee(s) not present of what was discussed/announced. No one should be left in the dark. This eliminates any “I didn’t know” or “no one told me!”

Who leads the huddle?

Rotate team members to conduct the meeting and make certain that everyone stays on point and that the meeting ends and starts on time (appoint a time-keeper)! Doctors (lead by example) be present at the start of the mtg and end each meeting on a positive note. Team members from each department can & should contribute what pertains to their particular department.

What do you talk about?

Focus on: Today and Tomorrow and a little bit of yesterday 😉

START and END the meeting with something POSITIVE.

  • Ata-boy/gal minute – What did we do “right” yesterday? How did we go the extra mile for a patient? Did you notice any team member that did something nice for a patient or another team member? Did anything happen yesterday that could be improved upon or avoided in the future? If yes, How?
  • Holes – Can a hygiene patient in need of restorative slide over into the doctors chair? Is there anyone coming in with the doctor that is due in hygiene? If not, how will we remain productive during this downtime? 
  • Emergency time – Where can we put the “true emergencies”?
  • Potential trouble spots – Review schedule for any potential trouble/hiccups/hangups. Such as: doctor needed in multiple places at the same time, habitually late patient, copays that must be collected, difficult patient, etc. Do everything in your power to start, stay & end on time, exceed patient expectations and work together as a team for a smooth & happy day.
  • New Patients / Referral Sources – Who are our new patients today and how did they hear about our office? Everyone be ready to warmly greet all patients but introduce yourselves to all new patients. Thank them for coming in.
  • Pre-op calls – Any new patients coming in tomorrow or the next day that the provider can call and welcome?
  • Same day services – Identify any patients that would benefit from same day services (fluoride, xrays, desensitizing agents, whitening, mouthguards, better home care tools)
  • Post-op calls – Did we call yesterday’s patients to check in on them? Preferably the doctor and hygienist should make their own calls. (Who do you call? All new patients and any patients that had anesthetic, extraction or perio. Also, any patients that may have been fearful.
  • Social Media – Who will help with that today? Ask patients to like the office (or check-in) on Facebook, follow on Twitter & Instagram. So many reasons throughout the day to post to your social media sites, such as: a patient brings in a treat, to welcome a new patient to the office, a child joined your kid’s club/team, celebrate a beautiful cosmetic restoration/teeth whitening, etc.
  • Testimonials/Reviews – Who is a candidate for providing a testimonial/review? Be alert throughout the day to ask for testimonials/reviews. Especially when a patient compliments the office on something… ask for a written or online testimonial. Take their picture (with permission) to post on your social media sites/website. NOTE: If a patient that is coming in for today has previously filled out an online survey be sure to review it. If they had a problem make certain it’s not repeated, if it was praise be sure to thank the team and the patient!
  • Goals – Look at Production, Scheduling & Collection goals for yesterday, today and tomorrow. Reminder to collect all co-pays at time of appointment!!
  • Treatment plans – Remember, offer the very best treatment options to your patients, let’s not “watch” or “wait until next visit” chances are it will only worsen. Let the patient decide for themselves! Were there any patients that came in yesterday that we treatment planned and they did not schedule an appointment? WHY?
  • Conclusion – End the meeting on a positive note. Tell a funny joke, read a positive quote and/or thank your team. Watch a quick motivational, educational or funny video clip. This meeting sets the tone for the day… Make it a happy one! Let’s go change someone’s life or at the very least help them smile bigger and healthier!

Here are a few additional tips for a successful morning huddle:

  • Come prepared! Have ready copies of the schedule (today and tomorrow). Charts/treatment should be reviewed the day prior to the huddle. Be sure to have available your collection, scheduling and production goals for today and tomorrow and yesterday’s results.
  • Stand for the meeting. This helps to keep the huddle on time and hold everyone’s attention.
  • Maintain a positive attitude regarding the importance of DAILY morning meetings.
  • Use a check-list! This will help you stay on time and cover all points.
  • FOOD! Every once in a while surprise the team with bagels, donuts, coffee, muffins, etc. 

I strongly encourage you to implement daily morning huddles, simply because I know that they’re effective and I want all of you to have happier, more productive and stress-free work days!

If you already conduct morning huddles, way to go! Feel free to share with me any of your tips for successful morning huddles.

Should you need any help implementing these ideas or have any other questions that I can help you answer…I’m ready to help.

If you are not yet receiving my free dental marketing ideas every month to your email inbox, PLEASE take a second and subscribe today. This way, you won’t miss a single idea. Feel free to share my blog with your dental friends. ~ Thank you!

Huddle Up and Have a Great Day!

Yours for Greater Success!

~Betty

P.S. Please stop by and say hello to me on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn andPinterest

Dental Practice Management and Marketing Idea’s for March (2016)

Hello Friends,

The month of March is your opportunity to end the first quarter of 2016 stronger than ever. If you haven’t done so already, put down in writing your practice management and marketing plans for March. I will give you several different idea’s to help get you started.

Note: March is an especially important month for any of you that typically struggle with your schedule during the month of September. Be sure to pre-appoint your March hygiene patients for their 6 month continuing care appointments. (If this isn’t already being done with your hygiene patients, make it your goal to schedule their next appt. while they are there in the office.)

dental marketing ideas for march

~ Dental Practice Management Idea’s ~

March is Employee Spirit Month
If you want to increase employee trust, creativity, teamwork, engagement and productivity, then it’s time to have some fun, commend more, improve communication and huddle up!  

– Have some FUN! –  Games, contests, competitions and food are all great ways to have more fun at the office.

  • Lunch: Every one bring a dish to pass or doctor orders lunch in for the team.
  • Excursion: Bowling, Dinner Out, Shopping, Painting, Spa, etc
  • Trivia Questions: Play a trivia game about procedures, office policy, telephone verbiage, etc. Winners earn prizes.
  • Prizes: Gift Cards, Cash or PTO
  • Video: Make a fun music/dance video with the team.
  • Employee of the Month: Each month, vote for team member of the month.

– Commendation – Commend a fellow team member when you catch them doing something “right”. Commendation boosts morale.  (Tip: Employers, commend & reward the behavior and actions that you want to see more of.)

– Communication – Reduce employee frustrations with excellent communication.  When new procedures or technology is being introduced be certain that every team member is made aware and educated. Employee expectations and Office changes should be clearly communicated to the entire team… no more, “I didn’t know” or “No one told me!” Share your office goals for production, collections, new patients and marketing plans. This helps to keep everyone on the same page and working toward the same goals.

– Huddle Up – The morning meeting is essential for a successful day. If you tried in the past to have a morning huddle and it didn’t work out… try again! However, this time, please follow these tried and true suggestions & tips for morning meeting success.

Hygiene Continuing Care Opportunity:

National Cleaning Week: 27-4/1 – Is it time for your dental spring cleaning?

~ Dental Marketing Idea’s ~ 

National Write A Letter of Appreciation Week: 1-7

Send appreciation cards to your favorite loyal patients, your favorite referring doctors and your favorite local businesses.

National March Into Literacy Month –
Host a book drive for your local library, schools or families in need. Ask your patients and people in the community to drop off their new or gently used books. Submit a press release to the local newspapers and TV news. Run this event for a few months.
Or check out these other ideas here: Dental Marketing Idea for your local library -1 and Dental Marketing Idea’s for your local library -2

National Kidney Month – Good dental health isn’t just about preventing cavities and keeping your gums healthy. Both tooth decay and gum disease can lead to infections that can cause problems for people with  kidney disease.  A study in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology reported that people with kidney disease and those on dialysis are more likely to have periodontal disease and other oral health problems than the general population.

Root Canal Awareness Week: 27 -4/2 – How to prevent a root canal.

  There you have it… several idea’s to assist you in ending your first quarter successfully!

So what do you think you would like to do to help make March a great month in your office? Comment below, I would love to hear your idea’s. If you are interested in having me help your office create a custom marketing campaign that includes ideas for special offers, office fun, patient give-aways/drawings, community involvement, cross marketing with local businesses and recare/incomplete treatment scripting, please contact me today at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com

Are you receiving my complimentary Practice Management and Marketing Idea’s in your email inbox each month? If not, please subscribe today. Feel free to tell your dental friends all about us so they can start benefiting from these dental idea’s too. Thank you!

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

P.S. Please stop by and say hello to me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest

 

Morning Huddle Tips for Success

Note: For an updated morning huddle tips and ideas, please see Tips and Suggestions for the Best Morning Huddle Ever!

Hello Friends,

If you feel the morning meetings are a waste of time or if you’re already conducting morning meetings and want to make them more effective, Please keep reading!

Today, I want to share with you some tips and suggestions that will help you have effective morning huddles and answer some questions that many of you have asked about morning huddles.

morning huddle tips and suggestions for dental office success

Why should I have a morning huddle/meeting?

The morning meeting is essential for a successful day. If you tried in the past to have a morning huddle and it didn’t work out… try again! However, this time, please follow my tried and true suggestions & tips. Every dental office wants to produce more, collect more, stress less, have happy doctors and team members and consistently exceed patient expectations. Right? Well, effective morning huddles help to make those things a reality.

Remember this: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance!

When should the morning huddle start? and How long should it last?

Fifteen – twenty minutes before the first scheduled patient.   It should last no more than 10-15 minutes. Taking 10-15 minutes first thing in the morning to ensure the day starts off happy and productive is well worth it.

Who should attend the morning meeting?

Everyone. If scheduling prevents everyone from attending…at the very least the doctor(s), hygienist(s ), assistants and someone representing the administrative team. It is imperative for a team member to be assigned at every meeting to update the employee(s) not present of what was discussed/announced. No one should be left in the dark. This eliminates any “I didn’t know” or “no one told me!”

Who leads the huddle?

Rotate team members to conduct the meeting and make certain that everyone stays on point and that the meeting ends and starts on time! Doctors (lead by example) be present at the start of the mtg and end each meeting on a positive note. Team members from each department can & should contribute what pertains to their particular department.

What do you talk about?

Focus on: Today and Tomorrow and a little bit of yesterday 😉

  • Holes – Can a hygiene patient in need of restorative slide over into the doctors chair? Anyone coming in with the doctor that is due in hygiene?
  • Emergency time – Where can we put the “true emergencies”?
  • Potential trouble spots – Review schedule for any potential trouble/hiccups/hangups. Such as: doctor needed in multiple places at the same time, habitually late patient, copays that must be collected, difficult patient, etc. Do everything in your power to start, stay & end on time, exceed patient expectations and work together as a team for a smooth & happy day.
  • New Patients / Referral Sources – Who are our new patients today and how did they hear about our office? Everyone be ready to warmly greet all patients but introduce yourselves to all new patients. Thank them for coming in.
  • Pre-op calls – Any new patients coming in tomorrow or the next day that the provider can call and welcome?
  • Same day services – Identify any patients that would benefit from same day services (fluoride, xrays, desensitizing agents, whitening, mouthguards, better home care tools)
  • Post-op calls – Did we call yesterday’s patients to check in on them? Preferably the doctor and hygienist should make their own calls. (Who do you call? All new patients and any patients that had/were extractions, perio, fearful, etc.)
  • Social Media – Who will help with that today? Ask patients to like the office on Facebook, follow on Twitter & Instagram. So many reasons throughout the day to post to your social media sites, such as: a patient brings in a treat, to welcome a new patient to the office, a child joined your kids club/team, celebrate a beautiful cosmetic restoration/teeth whitening, etc.
  • Testimonials/Reviews – Who is a candidate for providing a testimonial/review? Be alert throughout the day to ask for testimonials/reviews. Especially when a patient compliments the office on something… ask for a written or online testimonial. Take their picture (with permission) to post on your social media sites/website. NOTE: If a patient that is coming in for today has previously filled out an online survey be sure to review it. If they had a problem make certain it’s not repeated, if it was praise be sure to thank the team and the patient!
  • Goals – Look at Production, Scheduling & Collection goals for yesterday, today and tomorrow. Reminder to collect all co-pays at time of appointment!!
  • Treatment plans – Remember, offer the very best treatment options to your patients, let’s not “watch” or “wait until next visit” chances are it will only worsen. Let the patient decide for themselves! Were there any patients that came in yesterday that we treatment planned and they did not schedule an appointment? WHY?
  • Ata-boy/gal minute – What did we do “right” yesterday? How did we go the extra mile for a patient? Did you notice any team member that did something nice for a patient or another team member? Did anything happen yesterday that could be improved upon or avoided in the future? If yes, How?
  • Positivity – End the meeting on a positive note. Tell a funny joke, read a positive quote and/or thank your team. This meeting sets the tone for the day… Make it a happy one! Let’s go change someone’s life or at the very least help them smile bigger and healthier!

Here are a few additional tips for a successful morning huddle:

  • Come prepared! Have ready copies of the schedule (today and tomorrow). Charts/treatment should be reviewed the day prior to the huddle. Be sure to have available collection, scheduling and production goals for today and tomorrow and yesterday’s results.
  • Stand for the meeting. This helps to keep the huddle on time and hold everyone’s attention.
  • Maintain a positive attitude regarding the importance of DAILY morning meetings.
  • Use a check-list! This will help you stay on time and cover all points.

I strongly encourage you to implement daily morning huddles, simply because I know that they’re effective and I want all of you to have happier, more productive and stress-free work days!

If you already conduct morning huddles, way to go! Feel free to share with me any of your tips for successful morning huddles.

Should you need any help implementing these ideas or have any other questions that I can help you answer…I’m ready to help.

Huddle Up and Have a Great Day!

Yours for Greater Success!

~Betty

If you are not yet receiving my free dental marketing ideas every month to your email in box, please subscribe today. Feel free to share my blog with your dental friends. ~ Thank you!