Thanksgiving is coming up and that reminds me of when we communicated with our patients the hardest and least profitable way possible.
One time it was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and we had a bunch of chiropractic patients scheduled for that day. We were supposed to see patients from 8:00 AM until 4:00 PM.
Our crowd was scheduling appointments ahead of time and didn't realize it was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
I look at the schedule and it's completely full. But my gut feeling was saying “Man, I can't believe all these people are going to come in in the afternoon.”
The day before Thanksgiving is all about running around, picking up family from the airport or getting ready for your dinner. It's a big deal.
We started seeing people at 8:00 AM, and at 9:30 we get our first cancellation for the afternoon, at 3:30. It's six hours ahead.
An hour later, by 10:30, we had four cancellations in the afternoon.
It was still pretty busy. We had three hours of patients.
But those four cancellations were a trend, and I knew it was only going to get worse.
Honestly, though, we did this the hard way. We realized this was a problem quite late.
Our solution was: in between patients, I had my receptionist call everybody that would come that afternoon and say, “We know it's the day before Thanksgiving, and you have a visit scheduled here. I just want to make sure you're still coming.”
When they did that, unfortunately (or fortunately), more than half the people canceled their appointments because they said, “Oh, yeah, I'm heading out of town or doing something else.”
This sucked because we realized that all those people weren't coming in, but we had people scheduled until 4:00.
After all those cancellations and all those phone calls, we were able to reschedule everybody.
We just came back from 1:00 to 2:00, and then we were able to send our staff home at 2:00 because we communicated.
But it was a super tough way of doing it. It was super involved.
Now, if we could do confirmations at the start of the day, we would've known all that information, and it would've taken a whole lot less effort to text those people than it did to make individual phone calls.
Chiropractic can be tough because once that patient cancels, there's no way to sell that time slot again.
It's hard to grow when people are canceling on you. The only way you could avoid this is if you had a great communication system in place.