No-shows dental patients are a frustrating reality most practices face regularly. 88% of dental practices report that they have at least one patient no-show every day, according to a December, 2020 industry survey. Drawing upon our 35+ years of experience working with dental practices, patients and industry experts, we present our top six proven ways to get your patients in the chair on time, every time.
1. Develop a reminder system for your “at-risk” offenders.
Start sending your patients automated text and email appointment reminders 2 weeks out. Call anyone who hasn’t confirmed by the day before their appointment and tell them that if they don’t confirm by 2 PM you are releasing the appointment to another patient.
2. Create a lifetime whitening program.
Offer patients a tray and provide free whitening gel and 1-2 syringes as long as they keep their regular hygiene appointments. The cost to you is minimal compared to the revenue lost from a broken appointment.
3. Offer a warranty on your practice’s dental work.
Provide a warranty that you guarantee your work for a certain number of years as long as the patient keeps their recommended hygiene appointments. One caveat: accidents are not covered.
4. 4. Create the expectation that your patients keep their appointments.
At the end of their first appointment, explain the 3-4 things the patients can expect from your practice. Follow that by explaining the one thing you expect of them: “If you make an appointment, you show up.”
5. Charge a fee to hold the appointment.
Charging a small fee to hold all new appointments is a highly effective way to reduce no-shows. Let patients know the non-refundable $25 charge to their credit card will be applied toward the treatment.
6. Dismiss the patient.
If nothing else works, dismiss patients who are habitual no-shows. Let them know that you’re happy to recommend another dentist who is more casual about making appointments.