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How to Decrease Last Minute Cancellations with Email & Text Reminders

Cartoon image of Email message on screen in laptop. Message reminder concept.

Nothing plagues dental offices more than last-minute cancellations, and almost every healthcare provider can say the same. While most chronic patients never forget a thing, the average dentist’s office visit is only 1 to 2 times a year – and most people find it easy to forget that they have a scheduling conflict.

Here’s how healthcare providers can stay on top of their schedule with a simple email or text reminders.

Why Cancellations Are a Pain – For Dentists

Cancellations are one of the potential things that can cost a dentist’s office thousands per year in lost appointments. Unfortunately, when people cancel or move an appointment due to a scheduling conflict, they rarely imagine what effect this is going to have on the dentist on the other end – and unfortunately, it’s a disaster.

When procedures or appointments are cancelled last minute, dentists lose valuable time they often can’t afford to fill up on such short notice.

How Cancellations Happen

For patients, most dental cancellations happen as a result of scheduling conflicts or simple forgetfulness. Appointments that are scheduled far in advance (or in the middle of a busy schedule) are easy to forget – and when push comes to shove, and the appointment is tomorrow, people often forget entirely.

Dentist’s offices are still businesses, and cancellations don’t do anyone a favour!

A dental office isn’t just about patient care while they’re in the dentist’s chair but also about how to get patients into the office in the first place.

A Simple Reminder

A simple reminder can be sufficient to avoid scheduling conflicts for most people. When people track their appointments, it’s way too easy to forget – but with a simple email or text reminder that says you’ve got an appointment coming up in a week, there’s a more personal relationship with your patient (and nobody can say that they forgot!).

When cancellations cost your office hundreds, a simple reminder can be the best way to cut down on the cancellations you get.

Just like everything from bank account costs to Netflix subscriptions, if people aren’t reminded, they will likely forget!

Email or Text?

There are two ways to set up a simple reminder system for your patients so that nobody ever forgets an appointment: email and text. Text and email services are affordable in bulk, and most services can be set up to send automatically.

When patients make their appointment, include a check-box to opt in for reminders with a short sentence that patients will be reminded via their chosen method a week (or more) before their appointment takes place.

The Opt-Out Notification

In the days of cybersecurity, notifications from any healthcare provider (or, for that matter, private company) require one thing: an opt-out notification for the customer. So make sure that your message – whether text or email – includes a straightforward way for customers/patients to “check out” if they are confident they don’t want to receive correspondence.

You could be guilty of spam if this critical step is left out.

Cartoon image of new comment notification on smartphone. Notification concept

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