What To Do About Client Cancellations

What To Do About Client Cancellations

3522834325_13bb9084b8_nTim emailed me and asked what we do to decrease cancellations. Here is what I suggested:

Client cancellations are a thorn in our side too. I let our therapists know that there is a 25%-30% cancellation rate before I bring them on so they know what they are in for. We have tried a few things with varying success.

I ordered some post cards with an explanation that we cannot hold therapy time slots for clients who do not show up regularly and explain that the therapist has that time slot for just them. I explain the clinic policy that after two unexcused absences, their time slot will be considered for another client.

Click here to download the postcard that I use along with over 20 other free forms that are used in our clinics.

We are currently creating postcards which will contain a generic message about “please don’t miss your appointment anymore” on each postcard. There will also be a blank place to fill in their specific appointment schedule. This way, all our therapists have to do is grab the postcard, fill in the appointment schedule and place the client’s address on the front. They give the postcard to me, I stamp it and send it off.

We have also created a form letter that explains this same thing in a different way but it is a little more formal. The therapists and I jokingly refer to these as nasty grams. I will attach the one we use here, and you will see that it is probably the nicest nasty gram you would receive. We have had pretty good success with these.
Another thing we do is to include a statement within our initial intake forms on how often therapy usually is and that the client is expected to come. We also emphasize that we only allow 2 unexcused absences before we consider their time slot for another client. That way they are made aware of our policy before therapy ever begins.

Recently, we bought a texting app called “txtscheduler” that we use from the clinic Ipad. It allows you to schedule a text. We use this awesome app to schedule reminders to clients who are not doing so good at showing up. It works as well as anything because everyone has a phone these days. You just have to be careful not to abuse it with the clients who do not like it. But most people are fine with it. We have a PT who will text all of her clients each treatment day to remind them when their appointment is, and this works really well.

So between making our policies very clear in the beginning, snail mail reminders on postcards or formal letterhead and the really cool texting app, we cover some good bases. I don’t think absences will ever be totally eliminated, especially with free health care (people feel it their right to miss), but they can be curbed.

I hope some of these suggestions help.  Please leave a comment below to let others know your ideas to decrease cancellations.

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