26 Aug The Psychology of Appointment Confirmations
No shows. No way. Evidence shows, that asking every patient or client to confirm their set appointment or reschedule for a more convenient time, can reduce no-shows and late arrivals.
Our customers at Appointment Reminder, find that once an appointment is confirmed, there is a 90% chance it will not be rescheduled.
We explore the science and the psychology behind appointment confirmations and show you how to get more clients or patients to confirm their appointment and then arrive as scheduled.
We all know that you can’t control mitigating circumstances, such as a sickness, sudden change of schedule, or other scenarios, but you can have influence on the remaining factors that go into someone confirming and arriving.
The level of motivation that a client or patient has to confirm and appear for their appointment is based on their own needs. Even though the person, controls these desires and urges, you are still able to exert some influence on their level of internal motivation by reinforcing the importance of the appointment from their viewpoint. We often think of appointments in terms of our own needs and how missed appointments impact our day and business. However, from their perspective, there are other reasons why they are motivated to act a certain way regarding their appointment.
There are two different actions we want the person to take, and we should consider their internal motivation for doing each action.
We want them to:
- Confirm the appointment
- Attend the appointment
Discussion of Benefits
Lots of businesses send reminders that focus on basic information such as date, time, and location. Thats it! This is a huge missed opportunity to reinforce why the person should want to attend the appointment. Most appointments are made for a specific reason as the person has a problem that they need to solve or something they are worried about and need questions answered. You can use it to your advantage .
You can send a personalized reminder that provides motivation. For instance, as a dental practice, you could include a reminder message that patients who attend their regular cleaning are less likely to have cavities. If you are an insurance agent, you can message the fact that you’re able to help your clients save 20 percent more on car insurance than any competition.
Messages that are short and to the point are key, but warm and welcoming language also helps to make them feel at ease about attending the appointment. This helps to build rapport and comfort with your clients. Something as simple as a personalized message can go a long way in making someone’s day and helping them feel more confident about their appointment with you. Stand out from all of the other appointments they have booked!
Along with the above factors, there are also external forces that give people motivation to take a certain action. These factors are things like social norms, punishments, rewards, and other systems and processes that encourage people to either take an action or deter them from doing so. These motivations can come in many forms, and you can use them to your advantage to reinforce the internal motivations that someone has and give them an additional reason to stick with their scheduled appointment.
Rules and Communication
If you have fee for no shows or a cutoff date to reschedule, you should make sure that this is well communicated to your customers. This sets expectations early on that your practice has specific procedures. Some businesses find that having late arrival or no-show fees can help deter people from missing their appointments, however it’s safe to say that these tactics are typically used as a last resort when other methods of communication are not effective.
Sending a notification right after the appointment is booked will help the customer not to forget. It gives them an opportunity to add it to their schedule when it’s on the top of their mind, and reduces the chance that they will get busy and forget about it. Sending reminder messages to your clients or patients about their appointment will literally remind them of the upcoming appointment and also communicate to them that your business has set aside special time for them.
You can experiment sending reminders at different times and intervals, and change up the language to optimize the process and see what works best for individual customers. Although text or email may work for some, others may need a phone call or vice versa. With Appointment Reminder you can use one or all three methods.
Keep in mind that it may be necessary to include parking, directions to the office, or other points that may not be known and make someone feel uncomfortable. These efforts can make a huge difference and give someone the extra boost they need to confirm their appointment and be on time!