It can be frustrating to watch your staff stand around waiting for cosmetic patient no-shows and you are also left in a “holding pattern” which isn’t good for your mood or your pocketbook.
There are lots of reasons why cosmetic patient no-shows are happening in your practice:
- We live in a crazy busy world so patients forget about their appointment and then are too embarrassed to call back;
- They had every intention to show up but something else came up so they didn’t bother to let you know;
- They got lost, couldn’t find your office easily and just gave up.
However, when I interviewed patients to learn why they didn’t show up for their appointments, the #1 reason given was…
….they didn’t know you or have a relationship with you so they didn’t feel an obligation to show up if something else came up or if they changed their mind.
My guess is these are Internet Stranger Patients, rather than your current patients whom you have some type of relationship with.
There is just too much chatter out there to “assume” these prospective patients will show up even though they said they would.
Of course, there is a lot more you could do at the front end, such as:
Send Welcome Packet
The more the patient “feels” as if they know you, the more likely they are to show up so mail or digitally send your “Get to Know Us” that includes a warm welcome letter, before/after photos of other happy patients, patient reviews, thank you notes from grateful patients, information on easy pay plans, directions to your office and so on.
Have your coordinator start the relationship-building process ahead of time by making a friendly and informative call to the prospective cosmetic patient. They can introduce themselves and pre-frame you, the surgeon, as the best choice.
Technology has made it easier for you to automatically remind the cosmetic patients via email and/or text; however, the human touch will never go out of style.
Charge a Consult Fee to Avoid No-Shows?
The quickest way to find out how serious a prospective cosmetic patient is, is to charge them a consult fee.
Of course there is a chance you will lose some of these callers who refuse to pay a consult fee; but the ones who do pay it are typically serious enough to respect your time.
All you can do is test it. For one month, charge a consult fee and track the following:
– How many prospects called or emailed?
– How many of them converted to the consult?
– How many of them showed up?
– How many of those consults said YES?
Now check those numbers against your usual numbers when you DON’T charge a consult fee and there’s your answer!
How do you keep cosmetic patient no-shows to a minimum?
Catherine Maley, MBA is a business/marketing consultant to plastic surgeons. She speaks at medical conferences all over the world on cash practice building and trains staff to be converting rock stars. | View Author Profile | Get a Free Copy of her popular book, Your Aesthetic Practice: What Your Patients Are Saying