Sometimes we believe patients miss their appointments because they don’t value us, or they think other things are more important. There are plenty of theories, all of which bring some validity, but we are missing the big point as to why patients do not show to their appointment.
It starts with ownership. Ownership of your practice, and your systems, and knowing that it’s your responsibility to address the problem and fix it.
Yes, people have emergencies and they miss appointments and things happen. At the end of the day, there are practices that have very low no-show/cancellation rates. That is because the owner realizes it is their responsibility to…
- address the problem
- prevent it from recurring
- and come up with a system
When talking about management and leadership with teams, we’re talking about ONE level of leadership, right from doctor/owner to team members.
When talking about diminishing no-shows and last-minute cancellations, you’re actually talking about TWO levels of leadership. You’re not going directly from doctor communication to patient, you’re going from doctor, to team, to patient. Your accountability and training will need to go from you to your team.
When I talk on these things, doctors will say they don’t have time for that, and my response is that they need to get someone in there that can create accountability and training for the team. You can’t stop at training. Training is completely worthless if you don’t have accountability. The team needs that structure and accountability, and they will be happier and better at their position if they have it. Remember, training is only as valuable as the accountability you implement.
Here are some tips to help better train your clients…
1. Look at what’s being said from your team to your patients on a regular basis.
- What verbiage is being used to schedule and confirm appointments?
- How are you going to hold the team accountable?
- How are you going to spot check and evaluate the occasional conversation?
- How can you rate the call
If not, I promise you, even the best teams are going to slip until they have that accountability. If the team knows you’re spot checking and have a method for listening to calls, they’re going to pick up and adopt your way of doing things a lot quicker. Make sure you have TRUE accountability, pull calls, give feedback on these things so the team knows it’s not just a suggestion, because without accountability everything that you recommend is just a suggestion.
2. Show it, don’t just say it.
Have a visual that you can hand to patients when they are scheduling letting them know of your cancellation policy.
3. Don’t forget your “why?”
Let them know why you have that cancellation policy. People are inherently good, and if you express to them why you have this policy in place it will leave more of an impression then just stating the rules of the policy. When you explain to people why you connect with them on an emotional level, and they will in turn care about you and your time.
4. Realize that karma is a thing.
In business if you’re that doctor consistently taking last minute vacations, moving patients around, and canceling on them, they’re going to think your time is flexible. If you put that energy out there that you can move them around or run late and make them wait, they’re going to treat you the same way. We train people how to treat us.
5. Be Consistent.
Be consistent with how you handle these situations and make sure the quality of care is high. Make patients feel super important when they are in your practice and that way they will value being a part of it.
I hope this information was helpful for you. If you’d like to learn more tips on how to build ideal patient relationships, contact our team today to set up a complimentary marketing planning session and follow us on Facebook.