How often are you on-time with your dental patients? Whenever I ask this question to dentists and teams, I typically get three distinct answers.
Dentists are usually consumed with the present moment and the patient they are treating, and their answer is influenced by the difficulty of the day. Clinical teams usually have a better sense of the pace of the appointment, but they usually do not see when patients arrive and check out.
The front office team knows better than anyone when patients arrive and leave—they feel everyone’s stare when the practice is running late—yet they are less clear about why an appointment runs behind.
Three groups, three different perspectives on practice punctuality. Yet dental patients know exactly how effectively you are at staying on time. The more often you run behind, the more likely patients are to place reduced value on their appointments, which results in more cancellations. In addition, patients are less likely to refer family and friends to practices that run behind. One of the main reasons patients leave practices is due to the inability to stay on time.
Therefore, staying on time is important for growing your practice. In order to get a true measure of how well you stay on time, I encourage you to track it for a few months. Have your front team record when patients are seated and when they reach the front desk to check out, and then consider how well you did against what was scheduled. I encourage you and your team to set goals for on-time percentage.
One of the best ways to grow your practice is to show you value your patients’ time, and there is no better way to do that than by staying on schedule.