As people become increasingly busy and active after months and years of covid-related delays, appointments are harder to remember than ever. Doctors, dentists, healthcare providers, accountants and many other professionals face significant revenue losses due to missed appointments. Studies have found that no-show rates vary by industry, but can frequently average between 15%-20%.
Missed appointments also effect clients, not only because they missed a service that they wanted or needed, but they may face cancellation fees and trouble rescheduling. When clients miss an appointment, they often blame you for the long rescheduling times (even though we all know it was their fault for missing the appointment).
Missed appointments are bad for everyone. Reducing no-shows increases revenues and ensures that clients remain loyal and happy!
Even though it is their fault, patients get angry and frustrated at themselves AND you when they miss appointments. Especially for newer patients, this may result in them not rescheduling with you in the future.
You have built a successful practice and your time is valuable. When a patient misses their appointment, it frequently takes a while for you to have another opening. Patients are angry that they already waited a while to see you and now they have to wait even longer. That frustration is often directed at you even though they were the ones that missed the original appointment.
Anxiety and disappointment
Many patients have anxiety about seeing you. They know they need your help, but they are nervous about the news they will hear or the ultimate costs they will incur. Making appointments with doctors or other professionals already cause consumers and patients increased anxiety, but missing the appointment makes them much less likely to reschedule and receive the help and services they need.
Guilt and embarrassment
Most people feel bad when they miss an appointment because they know they wasted someone else’s time. They are ashamed of missing an appointment and feel that their provider may be angry with them. This added pressure sometimes results in consumers being too embarrassed to reschedule.
No one likes paying cancelation fees. Even though cancelation fees are usually well documented, patients still think they are “unfair” when they must pay them. Some patients get so irritated by them that they may not return to the provider that charged them.
We all get busy and sometimes we misplace information about our appointment or write it down wrong. We’ve all been there – you have a feeling that you are forgetting something but can’t think of what it might be. You look in your calendar but don’t see anything. With no other options, you miss an important appointment with your dentist for a biannual cleaning and the dentist does not have any more openings for several months.
Reminders came in the wrong form
Email, text, and phone calls are all important forms or communications these days. Generally speaking, younger populations love sms reminders and frequently ignore phone calls, while older populations prefer email or phone calls and frequently ignore texts. Though with that said, countless people don’t fit into those rules. Though most people do have a preferred form of communication and other forms of communication that they frequently ignore. Personally, I check my texts and emails within 1 hour, but my voicemails may go ignored for days. While my father has no idea how to check text messages on his phone, he will always pick up an incoming call. If you send the wrong type of reminder to your clients they may never get the message, making that reminder useless.
Getting to your office can sometimes be too difficult for customers to overcome. In some cases, their car may need to be in the repair shop; for the elderly, they may need to rely on a friend or family member to take them. Difficulty in finding transportation to their appointment is one of the most cited reasons for missed appointments.
You may be serving many clients whose first language isn’t English. For these clients it may be difficult for them to understand the instructions that they have received in English. Misunderstand just one or two words may cause enough confusion for them to inadvertently miss their appointment.
Critical information changed
Businesses change locations, construction causes parking to be a nightmare (could take an extra 30 minutes to find a spot), or in the case of the pandemic, masks were required. Whatever the reason, sometimes the situation changes temporarily requiring additional preparation for your clients. If they don’t know or simply forgot, they may miss their appointment.
Work or personal issues
Sometimes life happens. We’ve all been there – a last minute meeting or a family emergency. These are usually last minute and completely unavoidable. To be honest, there isn’t anything that can be done to avoid these.
Although there are a multitude of reasons why people miss their appointments, the good news is that there are some easy ways to mitigate most of them.
Implement an appointment reminder service
Automated appointment reminders are an easy way to eliminate most no-shows. If you choose the right reminder app for your practice, your reminder service should fit easily in your existing workflow. In most cases, our automation will save your staff hours of work each day while also delivering a service that your customers will appreciate and love. Solutions like Reminderly are easy to use, increase revenues, and increase patient satisfaction.
Offer customers a choice between text reminders, voice reminders, and email reminders
Offering your clients choice of text reminders, voice reminders, and email appointment reminders will ensure that your messages are not lost in the ether. We even have clients that proactively send a combination of all three messages to their clients. You just want to make sure that your appointment reminders and notifications are landing where your clients look most often. Text messages and emails can easily be searched, but for those that don’t use a smart phone, phone calls are still the most effective. Giving your customers choice will ensure that they get the message and don’t miss their appointment with you.
Include additional information besides the date and time of the appointment
Sending appointment reminders are an excellent way to remind patients of an upcoming appointment while also providing the necessary details for locating the office, parking instruction, arriving with the correct PPE per the office’s guidelines, etc. We even have clients that include different transportation options for elderly clients.
Offer reminders in multiple languages
If you have clients who’s first language isn’t English, you may want to offer them reminders in their native language. Some people understand English in written form better than spoken or vis-a-versa. So combining multilanguage support with your client’s ability to choose sms, voice, or email reminders ensures that everyone gets the information that they need. At Reminderly, we currently support 10 languages.
Allow customers to respond back to your reminders
For the inevitable “life happens” moments, you want to make sure that your clients can easily and quickly let you know that they can’t make it. That will give you time to offer the time to another client. Many of our clients say that the best part of using Reminderly is that they get plenty of advanced notice when a client has to cancel. With Reminderly, your clients can text or call your Reminderly number back and we will immediately forward you the message or voice call – it makes it completely seamless for your clients to get in touch with you.
Whether you're a small business or a large enterprise, Reminderly can help. We integrate with many appointment scheduling software including Google Calendar, Outlook Calendar, and other EHR solutions. We aim to offer superior functionality at an average price.