How to Make the Most from your Appointment Scheduling
Believe it or not, there is a science to efficient appointment scheduling. Scheduling appointments is a vital part to clinic efficiency and as a result, clinic profitability. Understanding the techniques that frame scheduling best practices, will ensure that you are maximizing your revenue generating activities. As appointment scheduling specialists, here are a few of the techniques we have crafted and perfected for our clients.
Schedule in blocks
Scheduling from noon is a common best practice in the world of scheduling. Many clinics use this process to minimize gaps in the day and maximize revenue opportunities. Scheduling from noon means you schedule backwards from 12:00 for your morning appointments and forward from 12:00 for your afternoon appointments. This method also helps to reduce operating costs by enabling clinic owners to schedule providers to maximum capacity. When the odd gap does present itself, savvy clinic owners use those time slots to hold team meetings, have their team catch up on documentation or complete admin tasks.
Implement a Reminder System
Appointment reminder systems are paramount in decreasing no-shows and last minute cancellations. There are a few options for such systems, including automatic confirmation systems that leave voicemail or text messages with reminders. Alternatively, clinics may opt to manually confirm with their clients. Either system will serve as a huge asset to cutting down on missed opportunities for revenue. Additionally, having a cancellation policy and open communication systems for your clients will allow for less last minute misses.
Create a Waiting List
For those times when you don’t catch a last minute cancellation, it is a great idea to have a client waiting list that you can blast last minute opportunities out to. Social media, text or email blasts are a great way to engage with those clients who may be waiting patiently for an opportunity to come in.
Analyze Appointment Scheduling History
At least once a month and then bi-annually and annually, take some time to analyze your appointment book. Look for patterns where your day was ahead of schedule or behind. Were there certain times of the year when you had higher no-shows or cancellations? Where your waiting list was longer than others? Look for those opportunities where you can perhaps pad or streamline your staff availability. This is also a great way to see if you’re allowing the appropriate amount of time per service and perhaps make some adjustments to increase efficiency.
Double Book with Caution
Many clinics opt to maximize capacity by double booking when possible. Double booking essentially means having two clients booked at the same time or overlapping and servicing both during a window typically allotted for one. This can be a highly efficient and profitable business model, however, proceed with caution. Ensure that your provider can adequately serve both clients without the possibility for poor customer service. That may mean analyzing the efforts required for particular services and matching lower effort appointments with higher effort appointments to ensure viability.
Lastly, it is important to understand which services bring in your best margins and allow for those to be your top booking priority. This may mean blocking off time each day for those high priority appointments to ensure that you can get them in efficiently. However, remember to leave room for all of the services you offer. As a clinic owner, your ‘book’ is one of your most valued tools. By following these best practices, you will ensure that you providing the most value for your customers and your team! If you’d like to learn more about our appointment scheduling services, get in touch for a free demo!