No-shows are one of the most frustrating (and costly!) parts of running a practice, with multiple layers of your business feeling the effects. But, if you tighten up your processes and make use of Power Diary’s powerful features, you’ll be well on your way to eliminating no-shows in your practice this year.
This article follows a recent Power Talks live webinar hosted by Damien Adler, co-founder of Power Diary and registered psychologist in Australia. Damien shared some of his own hard-earned wisdom as a practice owner, as well as insights gained over the years as part of the Power Diary community. We’re going to look at four proven approaches you can build into your workflow to reduce the impact of no-shows on your practice.
Watch the webinar now for step-by-step instructions, or read on to find out how to use Power Diary tools to eliminate no-shows.
How Do No-Shows Affect Your Practice?
When thinking about no-shows, most of us understandably consider the financial implications. However, the truth is that clients failing to attend appointments has a holistically negative impact on your business.
The financial loss of no-shows can be one of the most significant costs of a clinic, yet it’s often hidden. It’s an opportunity cost, the opportunity to sell and provide a service during this time.Damien Adler
Other impacts include:
- You and your team have less time to provide healthcare services to members of your community. A missed appointment is a wasted opportunity, particularly when many people need support due to COVID-19. Furthermore, by the time you know a no-show client isn’t coming, and you’ve tried to get in touch with them, a significant portion of time has been lost.
- Your team’s morale may be negatively impacted, and it can be difficult to refocus when there’s a lull in your day.
- If no-shows run unchecked, clients will stop valuing your and your team’s time. Treatment will become a low priority for your clients, and no-shows will likely become more common.
Therefore, it’s important to be clear about your boundaries from day one.
How Automating Tasks with Power Diary’s Tools Can Help
Power Diary has features baked into the software to help prevent no-shows in your practice, such as:
According to a recent survey, 70% of people are more likely to book an appointment if there’s an online booking option.
Our online booking feature will take your practice to the next level. Telephone calls are becoming obsolete, with more people turning to text and emails to respond on the run. Online bookings cut out the middle man, and they help avoid confusion.
Furthermore, online booking is available 24/7 in our client portal, making it incredibly convenient.
Appointment Reminders & Waitlist Features
Our practice management software has SMS and email features to remind your clients about their appointments. And, you can set up a waitlist for clients looking to see a specific clinician. Use the waitlist to fill non-confirmed appointments and reduce gaps in your calendar.
These tools help to eliminate no-shows, and they keep your customers in the know. Using the latest booking technology is a great way to keep your practice looking professional.
4 Approaches to Eliminating No-Shows
Streamline your Power Diary workflows to eliminate no-shows.
Here are some simple tricks:
No-Show and Appointment Cancellation Agreements
It’s crucial to change your mindset. When a client books an appointment, they’re essentially entering a financial agreement. Your time is valuable and perishable, and it’s reasonable to expect that if you reserve your time for a client, that you should be compensated for it.
Therefore, writing a detailed cancellation policy and implementing it is essential from day one. You can always decide to waive your policies under exceptional circumstances, should the client have a reasonable or urgent reason for missing their appointment.
Use our online form functions in Power Diary to set up a cancellation agreement policy to send clients upon booking. You can also have the cancellation agreement available through signage in your waiting room, mention it verbally in your first appointment, and even add it to your website.
Even if there is a call instead of an online booking, you or your staff should have a brief script to read, so all clients have had the agreement communicated to them.
Appointment Reminders through Email and SMS
Configure email and SMS reminders in Power Diary to ensure that your clients receive automatic reminders after their appointment is booked. We advise that you include a snippet of your cancellation policy in this communication so that it’s always top of mind.
Here’s an example:
“Please note that our practice has a 48 hours notice cancellation policy. After that time has lapsed, any cancellations will be charged a 100% cancellation fee. Our full cancellation policy will be sent via email.”
Or if you need something shorter for SMS:
“Please note that fees apply for late cancellation.”
If you use your Power Diary calendar, all your client communication pertaining to that appointment will be visible when you click on it.
Setting High-Risk Client Alerts for Admin Staff
Leading on from your reminders, encourage clients to respond to these messages to confirm their appointment. If they haven’t responded, you can set an alert on their appointment to indicate that they might not show up. Furthermore, if the client is a regular no-show, you can set the same alert. It’s usually worth calling these clients to confirm their appointment the day before.
Using Online Bookings to Reduce No-Shows
Telephone calls can be personal, but an online booking system makes it easier to automate and track alerts and reminders.
If clients call you on the go, they may fail to write down the appointment or write it on an odd piece of paper, which can easily be forgotten. An online booking system is neat, trackable, and can be shared with all staff members in and out of the office, bringing you all onto the same page.
Plus, with online bookings, clients can pay at the time of booking which can dramatically reduce no-shows. You can require partial or full payment for services booked online.
Payment Collection for Missed Appointments
One of the most efficient payment collection methods is storing your client’s card details in Power Diary (with permission) and then debiting the card in the case of a no-show.
As an alternative, you can add an alert on your client’s profiles to indicate they owe a ‘no-show fee’ that you can collect on their next appointment.
What Makes These Tools So Powerful?
Power Diary features are the perfect way to streamline your business. All your appointments and client information are in one place, not only reducing no-shows but also keeping your team on top of the day-to-day of your practice.
Whether yours is a new or existing practice, it’s important to establish a professional relationship with all new clients while building trust. Finding this balance can be difficult, but it’s essential for establishing a relationship based on mutual respect. That respect will, in turn, guide your clients towards being cognisant of the importance of your time.
Don’t feel bad if no-shows are common in your practice. Just because it’s happening now, doesn’t mean that it can’t get better. You can change how you work – think of it as a rebrand: implementing these new tools gives your practice a higher chance of being a treatment place of choice.