Dental Assistant

Interested in Dental Administration Courses? How to Handle No-Shows and Last-Minute Cancellations

June 07, 2019

Last-minute cancellations and no-shows are a part of working in dental administration. As the backbone of a dental office, it’s up to an administration team to deal with this issue professionally and efficiently. Unfortunately, when a client is a no-show, other clients have missed out on their slot. In addition, scrambling to try and fill a last-minute cancellation is difficult, time-consuming, and takes away from other office duties.

To deal with this problem, you can apply your soft skills and a few simple strategies, to both discourage cancellations and handle them when they come up. Here’s a quick look at some of the tricks you can use.

Employ Strategies to Prevent Cancellations Before they Happen

As with habits like flossing, some of the best administrative tactics are preventative. Appointment reminders through calls, text messages, and emails keep clients aware and accountable. It can also be a good idea to not offer cancellation instructions in the reminders you send, as that information can get clients thinking about cancelling their appointment. Approaching appointments with the positive assumption that the client will come in can affect their behaviour more than you think.

Scheduling and rescheduling appointments, as outlined in dental administration courses, is a big part of running an effective dental office. When a client books an appointment, ask them to give adequate notice if something comes up. This buys you more time to deal with rebooking slots and makes the process less hectic. If a client does cancel, reschedule them, but not for the very next day or soonest available slot—unless the cancellation was completely unavoidable. This helps to show that time slots have value, making people less likely to want to give theirs up.

Soft Skills Complement Knowledge from Dental Administration Courses

Whether you are working as an office assistant, a dental secretary, or in another facet of dental administration, your soft skills will take you a long way. Your ability to connect with other people and understand where they are coming from will build rapport, even to the point where clients may look forward to coming to the dentist!

Young Assistant make Appointment on Reception in Dental Clinic

Getting to know your clients is a great way to help them trust you and feel comfortable at appointments

Use first names, take time to acknowledge each client as an individual, and lead with kindness. When people like you, they are more likely to want to follow your instructions and treat the dental office with respect, by showing up for their appointments. Dental anxiety and fear of going to the dentist are common reasons for cancelling or delaying appointments. If you can make nervous clients feel comfortable and safe with you, they’ll be more likely to feel they can handle coming in for their procedures and less likely to be no-shows.

Use Communication Skills You Picked up in Dental Administration Training

Backing up people-savvy soft skills with excellent, clear communication is a surefire way to make sure clients hear the information they need. This is why effective communication skills are part of a dental office administration program.

Understand why clients are cancelling. A good rule of thumb is to listen first, then respond. Cancellations happen, sometimes for upsetting reasons. If a client calls to say they can’t come in, show concern and ask if everything is okay. Next, ask clear questions about why they are unable to come in. If their situation sounds like it might be flexible, you can offer suggestions of what they could change to make it work. For example, maybe a client’s car is out of service but they live close enough to use public transport.

young beautiful woman at reception isolated white

Take the time to understand what cancelling clients are going through so that you can help

Sometimes clients will take your advice and come in for their appointment, but if they just aren’t able, you’ve still offered friendly help, shown concern, and furthered your rapport with the client. This is all part of being a top-notch dental administrator.

Are you interested in dental administration training?

Contact Medix College for more information.

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