You of course need to make sure that your patient is comfortable with this type of communication, and that they are not communicated to in an irritatingly aggressive manner. Too many confirmation communications can cause you to lose a patient.
Make sure that the automated email or text communication that you utilize allows you to customize the communication for each patient. As well, it is important to confirm that this type of communication can have the verbiage customized for you. Utilizing the correct verbiage is hugely important. Communicating to your patients efficiently and effectively is a big part of this success!
Each office is different and will utilize different systems, techniques and ideas to confirm appointments. Finding out what works the best for you and your office is also vital to the success of your practice. The following information detailing telephone, email and text confirmation/communication will help you in determining what is right and best for your business.
Initial patient confirmation in general should happen one week in advance of the patient appointment. However, some offices will take that out as much as one month with mailing a post card, or two weeks with email or telephone communication. Our findings are that one week is sufficient in confirmations, still allowing you time to fill unconfirmed or cancelled appointments.
The email confirmation is somewhat similar. Communicate the importance of the visit, the value of the visit, not just the date and the time of the visit. Your email confirmation should be one week in advance of the visit unless your patient asks you to communicate otherwise.
The telephone communication should occur two to three days prior to the patient visit. Some offices will call one day before, some two. What works for your office is good. Keep doing it if it works. Understanding the importance of the confirmation call cannot be underestimated. The confirmation should be kept simple.
They will let you know if there is a problem or if everything is fine. Utilizing the word reserved is critical. You elevate the value of the appointment by utilizing this word. As well, by utilizing reserved, you use a term that many individuals understand. It is a common term when booking a hair or nail appointment.
If you do have to move the appointment, it is important to not give the patient another appointment time for at least three weeks, four if possible. The easier it is for a patient to cancel and to get a new appointment time quickly, the more likely they will do it again if there are no consequences.
If the patient attempts to cancel or move the appointment, most team members will immediately succumb to that and begin to offer the patient other openings in the schedule. This is not the best course of action. With the proper voice tone it is best to attempt to keep the appointment. Do not fear in presenting this question throughout the phone call on two or three occasions.
Always remember, when you call a patient to “confirm” you are basically saying to them that they can get out of the appointment. Utilizing the word “reserved” is a much better way of communicating to the patient. Do not take it for granted that the patient is going to confirm their appointment. Stress the importance of the visit and “close the appointment”.
In this day and age of modern communication, it is wise to utilize systems that will allow your team to be as efficient as possible. Email and text confirmations are importantly simple and very efficient.