Question: My front desk team is having a hard time scheduling new patients right now because we are booked out so far. What can they say to these patients?

QUESTION: My front desk team is having a hard time scheduling new patients right now because we are booked out so far.  What can they say to these patients?

ANSWER: Typically, we like to get new patients in as soon as possible. This is because we want to let them know we are here to help and also because we know something has motivated them to call in that moment and we need to take advantage of that before they change their mind.  

If you have a situation where your schedule does not allow for new patient visits in the near future, I do have a few tips; 

[mepr-show if=”loggedout”]Members only resources[/mepr-show] [mepr-active memberships=”629,630,37388,37393,37672,37676,37670,37668,37674,44674″ ifallowed=”show” unauth=”message” unauth_message=”Answer hidden, please login or purchase a membership to view.”]1. Ask questions.  Some people may call and say they need a cleaning but, is that really what they need?  Ask them- are you having any issues at the moment? Are you experiencing any discomfort?  This allows you to assess the situation and decide if they need to come in sooner. 

2. Let patients know you will be happy to reach out if there is a change in your schedule that will allow them to come in sooner.  A “change” vs a “cancellation”.  Why? Because if we tell patients cancellations are typical they will think missing or cancelling an appointment is no big deal.  And that is NOT what we want them to think.  We want them to value their time with us and understand the importance of keeping appointments.

3. Consider “tweaking” your new patient protocol.  If you remove some of the restrictions with new patient appointments you may be able to get someone in sooner.  For example, some offices require  90 minutes for a new patient visit in the hygienist schedule.  Well, what if we tried 60 minutes in the hygiene schedule and 30 minutes in the doctor’s schedule? Be open to alternate ways to schedule a new patient. 

At the end of the day we want to get those patients in ASAP. The longer they have to wait the more likely they will either go to another provider, or not show up for the appointment you gave them in your office. [/mepr-active]