Offer Choices to Control the Appointment Book


Patients want to schedule appointments when we are not open or during a time that it is not in their best interest to have the procedure done.

Desired Result:

Patients accepting our preferred appointment times

How To:

Have the clinical team prepare the patient in the back for the times the Doctor prefers to do the procedures.

“John, I know Doctor will prefer you to have the first visit for this procedure in the morning. He likes to have things ready for the lab to pick-up the same day and the light is better earlier in the day.  When you return for the second visit we can schedule you later in the day.”

Then, to gain patient acceptance of desirable practice appointment times, offer a choice between two times which meet the practices scheduling objectives. Use the doctor’s preference for the times which you offer.

“John, Doctor would like to see you for the first visit for this procedure on Tuesday at 10 a.m. or Thursday at 11 a.m., which would be best for you?”

Often a practice will ask opening questions which give control to the patient. The practice thinks that they are being helpful, however they often make it more difficult to schedule according to your guidelines because you get an answer that you do not want. The following questions are commonly heard in the dental practice.

“When would you like to come in?”
“When will it be convenient for you to come back?”
“When is the best time for you to come in?”

“Did you want to go ahead and make an appointment?”
“Do you need to make an appointment?”
“What is better for you, morning or afternoon?”
“I imagine Mondays are best for you?”

“Do you need to come in after work (school)?”

Avoid using these opening questions. When we use these questions, we give control to the patient and lose focus on the best time for our patient to receive ideal care. Try offering two appointment times and gain control of your schedule.