In my last newsletter I mentioned taking a deposit for appointments by card payment. It has sparked a lot of interest, so I thought it was worth a bit more discussion.
The main concern of those who have been in touch seems to be ensuring patients attend their appointment and ensuring remuneration when they forget. If you think about the reasons that people don’t turn up:
- They don’t need the appointment anymore- they feel better, its stopped hurting they ignore it
- They forget
- They are ill or worse.
You can make allowances, if you want, for illness but there is no excuse for the first two.
There are 3 steps to ensuring you get remuneration for every appointment.
- Formulate your policy and stick to it. Put up notices informing your clients that they will be charged for missed appointments. Remind them when they make the booking ( we remind them at the time of booking that there may be a charge if they give less than 24 hours notice of change or cancellation), and then DO IT. It won’t work if you don’t.
- Appointment reminders – this really helps jog their memory even if they are ill. So first of all, sms appointment reminders are really useful. The sms or email reminders sent through your software are generally the best value. If you can’t do that we can telephone clients for you and we charge this as a unit. This method does occasionally pick up someone who can’t make it, and I know I have been in receipt of a call that saved me from a missed appointment fee.
- You charge a deposit for the appointment at the time of booking. One does feel encouraged to turn up if one has already paid for an appointment. We can take a payment for you by debit or credit card.
The first client we did this for told me she found the number of missed appointments fell dramatically. You need to decide whether it is right for your practice, whether it is for all appointments, or only first bookings and how much deposit would you want?
If you are interested please call us.
If you have found a better way to ensure your clients attend, make a comment.