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Smart strategies for filling holes in your schedule

Many dental practices struggle at one point or another with a less than full schedule.

Whether it’s cancellations, no-shows, a lack of new patients or a low treatment acceptance rate, an empty chair during prime business hours can impact your financial wellbeing. Here are a few simple strategies you can implement today to fill gaps in your schedule.

Revamp your scheduling communication

The best time to schedule a patient’s next appointment is right after the current one–but this opportunity is sometimes missed. Reception staff should be trained to consistently book a patient’s next visit.

Create a pattern for continuing care appointments

People like routine. Try to schedule cleanings, checkups and other continuing care on the same day of the week with a consistent interval between visits. If a patient becomes accustomed to visiting your office at a certain time, they’ll be much more likely to continue the pattern and stay consistent with continuing care.

Provide accurate treatment times to your scheduling coordinator

There’s a balance between overbooking your schedule and providing too much of a cushion between appointments. Try to give your scheduling coordinator accurate information for how much time to allot for every treatment so they can fill your schedule effectively.

When it’s time to turn to a quick fix

No matter how well-oiled and efficient your systems, appointments will always fall through the cracks. Here are a few ingenious ways to plug holes at the last minute:

  • Keep a call list: Keep a running list of new patients you couldn’t get in and patients who’ve asked about moving their appointment up to an earlier date.
  • Contact recent cancellations: Get in touch with recent cancellations to see if they’d like to make up their missed visit.
  • Post an Incentive on social media: Give your social media followers a good reason to sign up for a last-minute appointment. Something as simple as a $10 Starbucks gift card can help.