Cancellations are a challenge for many practice owners. Practice schedules can have you walking on air or they can bring you to your knees. Nothing can ruin a good day quite like multiple cancellations. The good news is, there is a better way to handle these calls.
2 keys to success
1. Teach your team how to recognize when your cancellations are in the healthy range. Why is this important? There’s no reason for the team to become overly discouraged by the normal ebb and flow of an ever-changing schedule. We want our team members feeling happy and productive.
A healthy range is 5% in restorative and 5-8% in hygiene. Your team deserves praise for keeping the openings to this range. Striving for perfection will leave everyone feeling defeated.
2. Have a planned sentence that rolls off the patient coordinators tongue like butter when they hear the request to cancel an appointment.
What we usually hear:
“Ok, no problem, what time will work for you?”
That is the worst thing to say! It’s never ok and we do not want to ask what time will work for them.
What should we say? Be gracious and be genuine.
“I am so sorry to hear that. Will you reconsider? It will be several weeks before we will be able to get you back in.”
What is accomplished here? You have taught that this time is precious and the openings to see you are limited. Team members have found this very effective. Often patients will reverse their decision and decide to keep the appointment.
Repeat after me:
“I’m sorry to hear that. Will you reconsider?”
Practice that until it’s second nature. It’s truly a win for everyone!