3 Tricks to Prevent Hygiene Cancellations

When a patient cancels their hygiene appointment, they waste time, add to overhead, and frustrate your team with holes in the schedule!  Here are 3 ideas to prevent cancellations we've picked up from the Dental Warranty Certified practices we work with.  Try them out to see which works for you to help patients return on time, every time for their cleanings!

1. Have The Patient Write Down Their Appointment Commitment
In the book "Yes! 50 Scientific Ways to Be Persuasive," Robert Cialdini describes research that shows when people write down their commitments, they are much more likely to keep them.  In a study, Group A were asked to volunteer for an AIDS awareness program, and they committed verbally to be there.  Group B was asked to help with the same event, but were asked to give a written commitment by filling out a form.  Only 17% of Group A actually showed up.  But 49% of Group B showed up!

So as you give your patients appointment cards, you might try asking them to fill out the information themselves to give them a chance to make that written commitment.

2. Schedule Their Next Appointment While Still Chairside. 
Do you remember the last restaurant where you had lunch?  Did the waiter bring you the check, or did you pay standing up at the counter on the way out?  These are two very different experiences.  When you stand up from your table, you are ready to go, and wish the cashier would hurry up as you wait at the counter.  You practically have have one foot out the door!  

This is the experience your patients have when you try to schedule their hygiene appointment at the counter as the last thing they do.  They are ready to go, and are already mentally back home, or on to their next errand.  

This week, try scheduling patients while they are still in the chair.  Let your hygienist do the scheduling - your patient is now comfortable with him or her after spending the last 30 minutes together.  They will respond better here than at the front desk where the relationship isn't as strong, and they are ready to leave.

3. Don't Let Patients Leave The Office Without Scheduling 
Dental Warranty practices do this by saying, "Mr. Patient, as you know, your 5 year Dental Warranty is good as long as you continue coming in for your regular 6 month visits.  Let's go ahead and get that on the calendar now.  Are mornings or afternoons better for you?..."

And if they don't know their schedule 6 months from now?  "That's ok Mr. Patient, let's get this penciled in on the calendar, and if you need to make a change as we get closer, we can certainly help you do that.  How about August 12th at this same time to pencil you in?" 

This article was all about prevention.  In our next article, we'll focus on rescuing appointments when patients try to cancel. 


Did you know that giving patients a written warranty can increase the likelihood of them returning by up to 25%?  Learn more about how Dental Warranty can help you by clicking here


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