What You Say Is Not as Important as What You Hear During Confirmation Calls
How do you get patients to show up to their appointments? Many dentists and teams think what is said during the confirmation call makes the difference in decreasing cancellations and no shows. I am asked all the time for confirmation call scripts – I’m against scripts because they simply don’t work.
The problem with a script is people know when you are reading from a script and it doesn’t sound genuine. If the patient doesn’t answer using one of the multiple-choice options given, it leaves the employee with no response because they are following a script – not their own intuition.
Cover certain points during confirmation calls and do everything you can to get the patient to show up for their appointment.
It is important the employee understands their intention with the call. When making confirmation calls, the intention is not to get the calls done as quickly as possible or get them finished and get them out of the way for the day. The intention of the confirmation call is to ensure the patient arrives or find out sooner rather than later if they do not plan to come at all. To do that, the person doing the confirmation call must understand their importance and be trained well on how to make these calls. They need to know acceptable reasons to cancel, what to look for in the patient’s cancellation history, and the office cancellation policy.
The person doing the confirmation call must understand their importance and be trained well on how to make these calls.
Follow these basic guidelines before ever making a confirmation call:
Your team has to change the bad habits we have allowed your patients to start in the dental office, which is allow them to cancel or no show. If you have continually allowed your patients to cancel last minute and then schedule them again, then have them cancel, then schedule them again, and so on, you have set up a culture that makes cancellations acceptable. If you want to build a schedule of patients that show up, it is not about what we say in the confirmation call but more importantly what we say the next time they try to cancel. Make your policy firm and work to re-train your patients so they know they can’t keep cancelling or you will not allow them to reschedule again or at least only be able to book same day appointments.