The #1 Best Way Of Reducing Dental Cancellations [Part II]

Last week I began a discussion on the best way of reducing cancellations and no-shows in your Dental Office schedule. Paramount in this is the ability of the Dentist and the Dental Team to “frame up” the next appointment for the patient in such a way that they are in complete and total certainty that they will be there to have the next stage of there treatment.

The antithesis if this is an unclear patient who has no idea at all why they have to come back. Nor do they understand or remember what is the reason for their next visit, because at present they just feel fine and nothing is hurting.

Without the creation of this clarity of purpose in the eyes of the patient, even the best receptionist in the world is going to have a difficult time in reversing the cancellation call.

Nor will she be able to persuade the patient who needs to “check their diary” or needs to “think about it” to make that appointment then and there on the day.

The primary driver of low cancellation rates and patient compliance in your Dental Office is the creation of an Ultimate Handover protocol for the transference of the patient, and their information, from the treatment room to the front office reception area.

To me, this process needs to be verbal rather than written, typed, or electronic.

And it needs to be a multi-session process, where repetition of the verbal communications creates greater acceptance and compliance.

The More Times We Hear Something, The More We Understand.

If we hear something once only there is less chance of us retaining the message than if we hear it twice or three times over.

And that’s the whole premise and purpose of creating a systematic process of handing over and checking out the patient.

I have seen offices where there is an excessively high rate of cancellations and no-shows and that is primarily because of the poor or non-existent handovers that occur in those offices.

At these offices they tend to rely on computer networks to convey to the front desk the sizes of restorations just competed, and also the difficulties, and challenges experienced by the dentist, and the patient, during that just completed appointment.

As if this ever really happens?

The sad thing is that even if computers could convey all this information from the back to the front flawlessly and comprehensively, which they do not, these computers can’t ever engage the patient in an agreement of sorts that these events really did just happen.




Whereas people can.

And there in lies the magic.

Because the impersonal “virtual” electronic transfer won’t hold a patch on the multi-step person to person Ultimate Handover of the completed patient.

Last week I discussed in detail the five steps of clinical information that the patient needs to understand during the process of transference from the Dental chair to the Front Office.

On top of this the Dentist must complete the Ultimate Handover with Five Non-Clinical steps that create true connection with the patient on a non-treatment level.

And it is these five steps that truly set your Office apart from your Dental neighbours.

Because your patients won’t ever be treated this well anywhere else on a consistent basis.

So here they are:

  1. The Dentist needs to look the patient in the eye, and thank them sincerely for their time.Each and every patient. Each and every time.There is no point in being haphazard when it comes to consistency. Genuinely thanking each patient for their time each and every time you see them truly creates world-class connection with your patients
  2. The Dentist needs to compliment the patient on being such a great patient for you today.Everybody loves recognition. No matter what their age, everybody loves to feel appreciated and complimented.
  3. The Dentist needs to farewell the patient with sincere wishes of best wishes and good health. Genuinely telling the patient to “keep well” and saying, “look after yourself” goes far beyond just being polite.
  4. The Dentist needs to recognise or re-recognise any significant event coming up for the patient that will occur before their next visit. This may be something that the patient may have discussed with the Dentist already, or it may be some information the patient has shared with a team member that has been acquired by the Dentist via Secret Service Systems. Either way, patients always feel more valued when they feel they are considered to be more than just the “next tooth”.
  5. The Dentist needs to look to create any Above and Beyond Experiences for the patient. If the patient has mentioned something personal, the Dentist may have an opportunity to provide an article or small gift that may be appropriate in that situation.The ability of the Dentist to create an unexpected  *WOW* for the patient truly will differentiate your Dental Office to be above any other office in your area.

These five personal points delivered on top of the five clinical points that I discussed last week are extremely important and crucial in creating the perfect Ultimate Handover and differentiating your Dental Office as being truly different from every other practices around.

These five steps truly help to establish you and your Dental Office as being a friend. The patient leaves feeling like they have just been visiting a friend. Most other Offices around are treating their patients so impersonally that they feel like they are just a number or an item on a conveyor belt.

When the Dental Assistant transfers the patient to the Front Office for the handover out there she too can create an Ultimate Handover with the Dental Front Office team member if she duplicates these ten steps into her handover.

Obviously she can personalise her farewell to be relevant to any private discussions she has had with this patient, rather than duplicating the Doctor’s conversation.

A personalized Ultimate Handover is so much more powerful than an impersonal one, and even more powerful than a digital or virtual transfer of the patient.

Patients leaving with the total clarity created by the personalised handovers also understand the reasons why they will be returning. But they also return because of the bond, and the connection they have with our valued team members.

These simple common courtesies extended each time to every Patient at each and every visit go a long way to setting your Dental Office apart as being truly World Class.


Have you read my book , How To Build The Dental Practice of Your Dreams [Without Killing Yourself!] In Less Than Sixty Days.

You can order your copy here: Click Link To Order


The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple to build complete Customer Service system in itself that I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

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