Have you ever uttered these words?

“If I could just take control of my cancellations…”  

“How do I decrease my cancellations…?”

“Charge someone for a cancellation? No way! We don’t want to upset them…”

If you answered yes to any one of those, then you’re not alone.

Same-day cancellations are a pain in the butt!

No question about it. Same-day cancellations cause us frustration and affect the practice and other patients.

A high percentage of same-day cancellations and no-shows also affect your bottom line and make it difficult to know when to hire new staff. Do you have a high rate of same-day cancellations and/or no-shows? Or inconsistent patient arrivals? If this applies to you, read on. I’ll provide suggestions you can use to take control of your cancellations.

Same-day cancellations and no-shows are disruptive to your practice as well as the lives of your patients.

When someone calls to cancel on the day of their appointment, they prevent other patients from getting the care they need. So now, two people go without getting care: the patient who cancelled without the required notice, and another patient who would’ve taken that appointment if it was available sooner. On top of that, you’re paying staff members who don’t have anyone to treat. 

The key to managing your schedule and helping more people is to get your patients to provide at least a day’s notice for appointment changes and cancellations.  Maintaining and utilizing a cancellation program that keeps everyone in check and offers your team the time needed to fill a spot with another patient is your key to success.

Sign up for a Discovery Call today and train your team for success!

Same-day cancellations and no-shows don’t just affect patient care, they cause more confusion in your front end and also increase their workload on any given day.

When your daily CX/NS rate is high, your front-end team has to hustle to find refills that pull them away from critical day-to-day tasks and keep them focused on today’s problem instead of tomorrow’s schedule.

To keep your team focused on positive action and also help them be successful in their position, prevention is key.

The more patients who provide notice of an appointment change or cancellation, the better for everyone involved.  (In a previous article, I discussed same-day cancellations and measuring clean arrival rate. You can read it here.)

A common complaint I hear, is that no one likes to charge or confront someone about their late notice or no-show. Everyone is worried the patient will freak out or get angry, so they don’t confront them.

When patients are allowed to continuously cancel on the day of their appointment (or even worse, when someone continues to no-show for an appointment), it causes a downward spiral that keeps the practice from moving forward and expanding their reach. If you feel like you’re spending a lot of money to market your services but aren’t getting the return you expect, a high rate of same-day cancellations and/or no-shows could be part of the cause. Which do you feel is worse? Handling someone who provided late notice and dealing with their potential upset? Or not helping more people get the care they need? For me, it’s knowing that due to a high rate of cancellations or no-shows, there are people who need help but aren’t getting it. 

So, why do patients cancel? It comes down to one thing; they don’t understand what you need from them.

We live in a very different society than we did 20 years ago (or even 10 years ago). People are moving at a faster pace, are more distracted by technology, and are just “so busy” that they don’t make the time to care for themselves the way they should.  

One way or another, the patient who cancels the same-day doesn’t understand what you need from them and they become a problem that no one wants to deal with. They cause frustration, and they can lower your team’s morale.

Prevention is key – the more you can prevent same-day cancellations and no-shows, the better it will be for everyone involved.

Here are five specific actions you can take right now to prevent same-day cancellations and no-shows:

  • Remain focused on the correct product. The more PEOPLE HELPED, the better.  Put your team’s focus on the people they can help, and you will get them to help more people.
  • FOCUS on the positive. Don’t track and measure cancellation rate, use arrival rate to keep your team focused on the positive outcomes. When someone is focused on what they can or did ‘do’, they get excited and work harder to achieve success. The opposite is also true. When someone’s focus is put on something negative, it lowers their willingness to confront and handle it. If you want your team to work toward helping the practice achieve success, you need them focused on successful actions. Getting more people to arrive for care, is the most successful action I can think of. And it’s served us well in our practice.
  • PREVENTION is KEY. It’s never really about charging that same-day cancellation or late notice fee, it’s about prevention. Prevent the problem, don’t wait until it’s happened to deal with it. In order to increase your arrivals, you need to prevent same-day cancellations and no-shows altogether. Put a cancellation program in place that prevents same-day cancellations and no-shows instead of one that is focused on disciplining patients for them.
  • Have a program that offers a way to handle patients who provide late notice or no-show for a scheduled appointment. If you put a prevention program into effect, you won’t have as many same-day cancellations or no-shows, but you still might have a few. So, you need a specific program that lays out the exact actions that should be taken when a same-day cancellation or no-show occurs. When you have a set system that can be followed with specific steps to take, your team will have more certainty and be more confident when handling those problem patients. Without a process to follow, without specific actions laid out, they won’t handle someone like they should. Your team needs to have a program that can be followed, that explains what happens when, and one that helps them know what should be handled and how to do it.
  • Train your front office team – build true Patient Care Coordinators. The better trained they are, the more effective they’ll be, and the more your practice will thrive. Consistency is key – everyone should have the same training, the same understanding of how to manage patients properly, and the same steps to follow when handling a same-day cancellation or no-show. When you have a system in place and a training program that provides your front office team with a better understanding of how to best manage patients and handle their objections, the more successful they’ll be and the more efficient and effective your practice will be.  

I started Front Office GURU with a single goal in mind, and that’s to help private practices thrive. Your front office plays an integral role in your success, and yet, most practices don’t have set training and systems to ensure that everyone in the front office manages patients the same way. Don’t wait until the perfect time to get started because there will never be that perfect time or the perfect staff. 

As a practice owner, former manager, and the Front Office GURU, I understand your difficulties because I’ve been there. And my programs provide the solution.

Are you struggling with same-day cancellations and no-shows? Are your front office staff not consistently handling patients who cancel? Unsure how to go about establishing a proven training program for your front desk? Not sure if you need front office training?

You can schedule a FREE Discovery Call to learn more about my programs and how I can help you and your practice.

Wishing you the best, today and always!



I’m Dee

As a practice owner, former manager, and the Front Office GURU, I understand the difficulties you face because I’ve been there. And my programs provide the solution.

Are you struggling to train your front office team? Unsure how to go about establishing a proven training program for your front desk? Not sure where to start or what your options are?

Then schedule a FREE Discovery Call to learn more about my programs.

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At Front Office GURU, we offer two main training options for you and your Patient Care Coordinators.

Your first option is my virtual academy where you and your team will work through video-based lessons and apply the implementation provided in your lesson workbooks. Your other option is my flagship program where you work one-on-one with me as I guide you through my Basic Patient Care Coordinator Program.

You can learn more about each program below:

The Front Office GURU Training Academy is an online training platform for you and your Patient Care Coordinators! It’s great for team building and establishing successful systems and training for your front desk. And the BEST part? YOU don’t have to recreate the wheel – it’s ALL done for YOU, and you can follow along the path I’ve set or go straight to that one problematic area you want to fix!!

Getting started is super easy…make your payment, open your welcome email, set up your account and off you go. I’ve even provided training instructions to help you along the way…

Your Patient Care Coordinators will feel welcome and supported as the training is ALL about them. Click HERE for more info and get started right away!

Not sure what’s best for you and your team? Or looking for more info and pricing on my guided Basic Patient Care Coordinator Program? CLICK HERE to schedule a FREE Discovery Call.

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