Everyone plays a role in securing appointments…starting with Doctor!
Creating solid appointments is a team process. First, Doctor GIVES a confident treatment recommendation. Second, staff GIVE focused time in a private setting to answer questions, provide financial options, and promote open communication about the benefit of proactive/preventive treatment. (Remember, if patients are symptom free, they will not perceive a need!)
Then comes confirmation. The team shouldn’t believe the time is confirmed until it is negotiated and chosen by the patient–to the extent the team will be concerned if the patient has not arrived five minutes after the appointed time. In confirming, listen and ask, “Mrs. Patient, is there anything else I can give you before you and I confirm this time? The first available time in Doctor’s schedule that you can also confirm in yours?”
Never, ever continue inserting an appointment when your gut feeling is the patient isn’t going to keep it. This is a clear sign to continue communicating. Gently move away from the keyboard and say, “I have the feeling we may not have given you all the information necessary for you to feel confident about confirming time in your busy schedule…” Then pause! To do anything less TAKES from the practice and the patient!
Finally, GIVE the patient a courtesy call to ask if there are any last-minute questions that may require the office to alter the length of their appointment time with Doctor.
Phyllis Waite is a Management/Leadership Coach committed to building successful dental practices.