Improving Reappointment Rates
It’s not always what you think
The first action I take when I onboard a new client is getting to work on their reappointment rate. Every office always thinks their reappointment rate is excellent. When I tell them they are at 45-50%, they are shocked. When I first started working with one particular office, as is usual for me, I went to work straight away to help them improve their reappointment rate of 45% and helped them increase their revenues by $70,000 in less than six months.
Ensuring your practice’s schedule is full is an ongoing concern in particularly now with the Coronavirus situation. It has never been more important to focus on reappointing patients. Reappointment rates dramatically affect revenue in both directions, negatively if low and spilling over when high.
The industry-wide reappointment rate has stayed at 60% yet, the simple act of reappointing can create a massive impact on your practice revenue. As I said earlier, most dentists I’ve worked with believe their reappointment rate is higher than the numbers show. In my Dental Business Masterclass, dentists, on average, increase their reappointment rate to 85%. At this point, you may be thinking that you recoup any missed reappointment through recall.
Most recall systems are only 25% effective, which means if you recall the 40% of missed reappointment in the average practice with 1200 patients, your recall system is only bringing in 120 missed reappointment, leaving 360 patients without an appointment. By increasing your reappointment rate to 85%, you only have 180 patients to recall. Would you rather have your missed patients be 11% or 30%? If your revenue per patient is $650, that is $146,500 of total missed dollars over 12 months.
This scenario doesn’t even account for new patients coming into your practice. That number can increase even more when compounded over time and as you continue to improve the system over the years.
What would an additional $146,500 do for your practice?
By improving your reappointment rate, not only will you enjoy more money in your practice but, now your team can spend time working on getting other collections and profit growing items instead of spending time on phone calls with a low success rate.
Find out if this is affecting you
One of the fastest ways to increase your reappointment rate is to start tracking it. I am sure you have seen it in your own life. What we pay attention to is what we affect. It is the same idea as to when you buy a new car. If you seriously consider purchasing a yellow VW bug, you start seeing all the yellow VW Bugs on the road. If you want to see a higher appointment rate, track it, and it will likely improve. There are tools that you can use. I use a few handy tools in my Dental Business Masterclass to review your reappointment numbers but, if you don’t have a tool that will do it for you, a simple spreadsheet with a column for patients seen and patients rescheduled will suffice. The downside to a spreadsheet is that people forget. You can audit it occasionally to check its accuracy.
Now that you’ve discovered whether this is affecting you more than you anticipated, let’s talk improvement. Your reappointment rate could be showing a giant hole in your revenue bucket.
First Level of Defense
Your hygienists are your first level of defense. The key to successful reappointment rates is to train your team to use a positive statement that assumes they are coming back into the office. For example, Let’s get your next cleaning scheduled, or while we wait for the doctor, let’s get your next appointment scheduled.
The front desk is your second line of defense. Before the patient leaves, have your front desk team confirm they have an appointment scheduled. If not, get them on the calendar. We can’t force every patient to reappoint but, if we ask everyone consistently, improvement will occur. These small changes, amongst others, can make a large impact.
Find out how well you are reappointing. Look at the numbers, don’t guess. You may be surprised. Add this number to your daily huddle. Incentivize and make your team responsible for its improvement. Plug the hole in your bucket to make it overflow with dollars.