16 Apr Fix Your Cancellation Problem & Take Back Control of Your Practice
Imagine if your overheads ballooned by 10% this week.
You wouldn’t be thrilled, would you?
Of course not.
But have you ever thought about all the money you’re losing on cancellations? I can guarantee It’s in the same ballpark.
Do you know how many cancellations you're getting each week?
How about no-shows or last-minute reschedules?
Have you actually run the numbers? Do you know how much you're losing?
If not, prepare to be shocked.
Take a look at your schedule for the past year — how many cancellations, no-shows, or last-minute reschedules are you getting on average per week for each person and for your entire practice?
Then take that number and multiply it by your average service fee.
That number is how much you're losing each and every week.
Not shocking enough for you? Take that number and multiply it by 52. That’s how much money cancellations are costing you per year.
Then take that number and multiply it by the number of years you plan to stay in business. That’s how much money you’re losing over the course of your career.
But that’s not even the whole picture. Imagine that, instead of losing all that money on cancellations, you put it into an average yielding stock or your super fund and gained a 7% return every year.
When you factor in compounding interest, we’re talking about hundreds of thousands — or even millions — of dollars.
The light bulb moment happened for me when I ran the numbers and realized I was losing about 80K per year on cancellations — which happened to be the investment I needed to buy my new home.
Cancellations were costing me my dream home — and they’re doing the same for you.
If you want to run a profitable practice, you need to fix your cancellation problem.
So let’s talk about how to make that happen.
Define Your Policy
First things first: you need a cancellation policy.
Without a cancellation policy, your patients have no incentive to show up for their appointments.
If their appointment time is inconvenient for any reason, they’ll cancel at the last minute or not show up at all — and you’re the one who’ll have to pay for it.
If you want patients to respect your time, you need a strict cancellation policy.
How much notice do you need for a cancellation? How late is too late to cancel? What are the consequences (like a cancellation fee) if they don’t cancel according to your policies?
Having a strict cancellation policy will make it a lot less likely patients will cancel at the last minute — and will minimize the amount cancellations drain from your practice.
Now, lay out your new policy for your team. Make sure they read and understand the terms, and talk about the WHY with them so they can enforce the rules and set the right standards with patients.
Once you’ve determined your cancellation policy and educated your team, those two steps alone will eliminate 50% of your cancellations.
But what about the other 50%?
With the other 50%, you need to enforce the policy.
Now, this can be a tricky situation.
You need to honor your cancellation policy, but you also don’t want to alienate your patients.
So how do you balance both?
The key is to be friendly and flexible.
There are some situations you’ll want to give leniency, and it's important to get clear with your staff on what does and does not qualify as an exemption .
You need to be clear on what those exemptions are — and any situation outside of those exemptions?
That’s when you need to enforce your policy and apply the fee.
The amount of money you’re losing to cancellations is extreme. But when you follow this simple three-step strategy, you’ll not only dramatically lower the number of cancellations in your practice, you'll also have the opportunity to help more patients – and isn't that really the most important goal, anyway?
Are you struggling with this very issue? Book in for a call where you can chat with my team about how to tackle cancellations and take back control…