No shows rot your dental practice like sugar rots a tooth.
No shows cause a loss of productivity, disrupt your schedule and cause delays. They can lead to patient dissatisfaction, reduce the quality of care and ultimately cost your dental practice a lot of money.
Do you know just how much no-shows cost your dental practice every year?
A lot more than a mouthful you might say.
Here’s a stat that may just make your teeth clench: the average no-show rate is around 5 and 7%, the equivalent of 1 in 20 patients.
If you consider that most dental practices would see more than 20 patients in an average day, this quickly adds up to thousands of dollars in lost revenue every single year.
Ultimately, no-shows cannot be entirely prevented. But they can be greatly reduced. This is because a large reason why no-shows happen in the first place is because people forget about their appointments.
SMS reminders (text reminders), offered via dental appointment scheduling software, can largely reduce the number of no-shows at your dental practice.
Why Your Dental Practice Needs SMS Reminders
SMS reminders get in front of your clients before they forget their appointment. SMS reminders aren’t just an option. They are a necessity. Here’s why:
1. Save Thousands of Dollars Every Single Year On No-Shows
Most experts out there will tell you that most dental practices will lose roughly $40,000 on no-shows every single year.
$40,000 dollars may sound a lot of money, but if you take the time to do the math, you will see that the number is actually quite realistic.
If your dental practice receives between 1 and 2 no-shows a day with an average spend of between $100 and $125, the math indeed adds up to roughly $40,000 every single year.
This number is not even factoring in the labour costs involved in scheduling, rescheduling or the loss of productivity that occurs when schedules are disrupted.
Here’s the reality: no-shows are not just a matter of saving thousands of dollars a year but rather whether your practice can afford to lose this amount every single year.
2. Minimize Scheduling Delays (And Patient Dissatisfaction)
No-shows can quickly throw your schedule into chaos, which can go on to affect the flow of your entire dental practice for the rest of the day.
The person who ends up filling the spot may require an entirely different type of dental care which your staff then has to accommodate.
This can cause delays even before the appointment has even started and quickly throw off your staff’s schedule if the appointment ends up running longer than expected. Both situations lead to patent dissatisfaction.
3. Automate the Process (And Save Time)
Your receptionists have a lot to manage at your dental practice. By making your reminders digital, you automate the process and reduce the need for them to write out reminder cards or manually call patients in advance of their appointments.
In turn, your receptionists save time that they can spend elsewhere.
Let’s face it: mistakes happen. With dental appointment scheduling software, you also ensure that your clients never miss a reminder again.
4. Save on Paper-Based Reminders
If you’re using paper-based reminder cards (like the ones that go on the fridge), you essentially might as well throw your money down the sink. They just aren’t nearly as effective (more on this to come).
By making your appointment reminders digital, you can save on the thousands of dollars that you spend on paper-based reminder cards and reduce your paper waste in the process.
It’s a win-win.
5. Keep Your Quality of Care High
No shows can also reduce the quality of care, which can lead to patient dissatisfaction.
This happens in more ways that one.
First, the patient who missed their appointment may have been in the process of receiving a particular treatment. If their treatment is delayed further, the quality of care declines.
No shows also prevent other patients from receiving the care that they need as well. It delays treatment on the day of the missed appointment but also in the future as scheduling changes become necessary to accommodate the individual who missed his or her appointment.
SMS Reminders = The Most Effective Way to Reduce No-Shows
SMS reminders aren’t the only way to reduce no-shows. But they are among the leading ways to reduce them.
SMS reminders take a proactive approach to remind your clients of their appointments, reminding your clients in a timely manner. Timely reminders are particularly imperative with dental appointments, which can be scheduled at least 6 months in advance.
The majority of people always have their mobile phone with them at all times, which means that regardless of where they are, chances are high that they will always receive your text message.
That’s not the case with paper-based reminders that typically go on the fridge.
Similarly, people are not always available to answer phone calls.
What about a cancellation fee, you ask?
Not all practices are comfortable with cancellation fees. But even if you do make the decision to implement a cancellation fee, these fees do not actually cover the amount that was lost because of the no-show.
The reality of cancellation fees is that they are typically only somewhere between $20 and $50.
All of these reasons are why digital reminders like SMS reminders are the most effective ways to prevent no-shows.
How to Set Up SMS Reminders with Yocale
Setting up SMS reminders with Yocale is easy.
Step 1: From your email drop-down menu, go to ‘Menu’ > ‘Profile’
Step 2: Under the ‘Provider’ tab, select ‘Booking.’
Step 3: Select your desired settings for your SMS reminders. You can set your reminders anywhere from 2 hours to 2 days before a client’s appointment.
Step 4: Save your changes.
Wrapping It Up
No shows are problematic for dental practices. They decrease productivity, cause delays, lead to patient dissatisfaction, threaten quality of care and cost your practice thousands of dollars every year.
SMS reminders deliver timely reminders of their upcoming appointments so that you no-shows are drastically decreased.
We write a lot about how to improve your dental practice. You might also be interested in:
- 4 Marketing Techniques to Attract More Patients to Your Dental Practice
- Is Your Child Scared of the Dentist? Try These Five Ways to Make it Fun
Do you want more exposure and appointment bookings for your dental practice? Yocale offers the leading dental appointment scheduling software on the market. Our beautiful and easy-to-use calendar gives you the extra hand to simultaneously run and grow your practice at the same time. Click here to sign up for FREE or learn more.