How easy is it for first-time patients to schedule appointments with your practice? When a patient calls for a follow-up appointment, how long does he or she spend on “hold?”
How many rounds of “phone tag” does it take until your patient actually connects to make an appointment with your practice? Have you ever even thought about the impact your scheduling procedure might have on your bottom line?
Here’s the point:
It has to be easy for patients to schedule appointments with your practice, especially those who might be looking to see you for the first time. If your scheduling process is clunky, complicated, outdated, or inconvenient, patients who want to schedule a first-time visit will just cross you off and call the next dentist on their list. And repeat patients will just put off scheduling treatment, hoping to catch your office at a more “convenient” time when the phones aren’t busy or they’re not greeted by an answering machine.
That’s lost revenue.
Here are three huge scheduling mistakes you are (probably) making that cost your practice a bundle.
Your support staff is always on the phone.
In most practices we visit, we observe team members spending an outrageous amount of time making and answering phone calls. They’re playing phone tag…leaving messages…returning patient phone calls…with everyone just trying to connect.
Patients never actually connect.
All too often, whenever a busy patient finds a few minutes to pick up the phone and schedule an appointment, the equally busy receptionist says, “Hold, please,” before the patient can even get a word in edgewise. Patients find that frustrating – if not outright irritating — especially if they only have a few minutes to spare. If they experience too long a time on hold, they’ll more than likely hang up before actually connecting because they have to get on with their day. Or if they have to leave a message or call back because the team is out to lunch, they’re likely to hang up and try again later. When that happens, your patients never actually connect to schedule the appointment. Next time, they might just decide to try another practice that isn’t too busy to take their call.
Your schedule is chaotic.
Your practice schedule can often be a source of stress for you and your team members, but it shouldn’t be. Instead, it should provide a streamlined map of your day to keep you on track to meet or exceed your practice’s daily production goals.
When too many hands are involved in the scheduling process, confusion, frustration, and chaos are the result. And if the scheduling process is too chaotic, your staff and your patients will get caught up in the endless cycle of phone tag as they try to connect.
We get it. You’re busy. Your staff is busy. But your patients are busy, too. Continuing to operate your practice with that kind of chaos and inefficiency is costing you money, morale, and patient retention. It’s time to reclaim that lost revenue, relieve your team’s stress, and make your patients happy by bringing your scheduling process into the 21st Century.
Implement Online Self-Scheduling.
66% of U.S. health systems will offer digital self-scheduling and 64% of patients will book healthcare appointments digitally by the end of 2019, according to a recent study published by Accenture, a leading management consulting firm. The firm further estimates that about 38% of dental appointments will be self-scheduled (that’s almost 986 million appointments!) representing over $3.2 billion in value to the industry.
If people can coordinate their shopping, housekeeping, entertainment, and car maintenance digitally using a smart phone, tablet, or computer, why shouldn’t they be able to schedule an appointment with their dentist that way?
Your patients are learning to expect convenience, and they’re going to rely on you for it. It only makes sense.
Here are the benefits of an online self-scheduling appointment procedure:
- Patients can select an available appointment with their digital device any time — day or night — whenever it’s most convenient for them.
- Patients won’t have to concern themselves about getting through or waiting on hold when they try to call whenever they get a break in their day.
- Online scheduling can free up your staff so they’ll have more time to focus on the patients and improve overall patient experience.
- You’ll be offering the kind of exceptional customer service that creates a loyal base of patients who are happy to refer their friends, family, and colleagues.
- Online scheduling that syncs with your practice management system reduces the time it takes to enter patient appointments, and helps ensure you have a streamlined schedule that keeps you productive, not just busy.
- Enhanced productivity means you’ll get more patients in the chair and start meeting your full potential.
There are several online scheduling systems available with different features. Do your research, and choose a system that best meets your practice needs.
And we’d be delighted to help you.
We’d love to discuss your practice management systems, and specific ways you can enhance your scheduling efficiency.
Schedule your complimentary Discovery Call today.
Because of the high demand for our consulting services, call times are limited. If even one idea, one tiny shift, could make your practice more satisfying and profitable, why wouldn’t you take advantage of this complimentary opportunity?
We’d love to help you reach your goals. We look forward to your call.