Are patients canceling and rescheduling?

Do you get frustrated when people cancel or reschedule, because you could’ve taken someone else on during that time instead? (Not to mention your time wasted, and lost income).

One practitioner estimates no-shows and same-day cancellations account for up to 15% of all appointments scheduled by his practice, accounting for $25,000 a year in lost revenue.  That’s a lot of money.  Not to mention the people who may not have gotten the care they needed because they canceled.

Even if you’re not losing that much money, it can be a money leak for you and a waste of your valuable time.

Read on for 3 simple keys to prevent cancellations or no shows:

1.  Have a cancellation policy and stick to it.  For example, request a credit card and mention that it will be charged if they cancel before a certain time frame.   

This way, you are creating clear boundaries for what you will and won’t put up with.  Have this as a written policy people sign in their first visit.

You or your front desk can also bring it up on the phone and take down card details when scheduling a patient for their first visit.

2.  At the end of each visit, reinforce your patient or client’s progress and bring up what you’ll work on (or what to expect) during the next visit.  That way, your patient/client is clear about the purpose of the next visit.  You may think it’s clear or an unspoken understanding, but reinforcing the purpose of each visit helps the patient understand the importance of coming back for their next treatment or session. 

For example, “[Acknowledge their progress].  Next time will work on….,, so that….” 

3.  Watch your own integrity with your word.  Do you cancel, reschedule, not show up, or show up late for things?  It is not unusual to attract people who mirror us.

Sometimes when I am noticing people canceling or rescheduling on me, I look at my own life and reflect on where I may be out of integrity.  For example, I had an NAET practitioner I went to (and still planned on seeing), but I decided to schedule an initial visit with another NAET practitioner who is an instructor. I did this simply because I was curious whether this practitioner’s approach would be any different from my current NAET practitioner.  

My appointment was on a Tuesday  & I caught myself thinking that week “maybe I should cancel the appointment.”  She is located more than 1 hr away, the appointment is during a workday, she charges twice as much as what other practitioners charge, plus the initial visit is 1.5 hrs long and she doesn’t treat you in the first visit.  I had asked her to treat me in the first visit (to combine two visits in one), and she said it would take 2.5 hrs long.   

But the moment I had that thought, I thought to myself that I needed to keep my word, even if it meant that it was an inconvenience and I don’t feel like making such a big trip. 

I admit that I am not perfect and continue to work towards complete alignment and integrity.  

How are you right now with your integrity with your word? 

Check in with yourself on that.  Show up with integrity in all areas of your life yourself.  You may notice your cancellations go down.  That, along with having structures in place that help people see the value of continuing care right now & having clear boundaries will inspire others to respect your time.  

If you’re concerned about having a cancellation policy, let me guess…you feel like it’s not being nice or considerate to other people’s last-minute things that may come up, preventing them from seeing you.  I get it, because I’m a recovering people pleaser.  It was a hard thing for me to put a cancellation & reschedule policy in place at first, because I also felt bad about “what ifs?” for emergencies.

Chen YenBut when I started setting clear boundaries like this, I quickly realized that people respected me more for setting clear boundaries.  Also, I quickly found out those who were serious and those who weren’t.   Chen Yen, 6 & 7-Figure Practice Makeover Mentor

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  1. Taryn on February 27, 2020 at 2:34 am

    Love this- thanks for reaffirming it!

    • Chen Yen on February 28, 2020 at 10:10 am

      Taryn, you’re welcome!

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