How to increase appointment show up rate and reduce no-shows

Attracting new patients to your practice should be a constant focus, but a lot of practices still run the risk of relying only on referrals because the people they attract through advertising usually don’t show up to the appointment.

I hear this often, and the reason is because people who come in new cannot be treated the same as a referral. These people must be taken through an impeccable sales process taking into account the points we are going to cover in this article.

Generate affinity in the first call

The first call with the prospect is key. This call cannot be solely for information, such as cost, location, or hours.

The purpose of this first call is to understand the person and their need very well, and to generate the affinity necessary for that person to consider your practice.

Affinity is generated by showing that we care about them as a person, showing empathy with the problem they are experiencing, and making them feel that we are here to serve them. It is almost like seeking to become friends with each and every prospect.

Ask a lot of questions

It is very common that in the initial call the prospect is the one asking the questions, but this should not be the case. This first call is our opportunity to understand the person very well and to know how we are going to sell to them.

We always recommend starting by asking why they wanted to talk to you. This question is to understand the person’s problem, and to make sure that they do have a need for our services.

It is also important to understand what the person’s internal desire is, for example, a person who wants to buy orthodontic services may have a need to straighten their teeth, but their internal desire is to raise their self-esteem, or to speak with confidence.

Other crucial questions for the first call is why treatment has not been done before.

Create scarcity and urgency.

Today people have many options to choose from when looking for a specialist for the treatment they need, especially if it’s dental treatment.

That’s why it’s so important to give them a reason to take action right now, and nothing works better than scarcity and urgency.

This is generated with an irresistible offer, where people feel that the value you are creating for them is greater than your competition, even if your prices are higher.

The offer must have an urgency factor, such as limited time to obtain the offer. You must also use scarcity, like a limited number of coupons for your offer.

This scarcity and urgency makes people not want to miss out, and they take action instead of thinking about it longer or going to check with other practices.

An example might be: Orthodontic service includes cleaning, whitening and retainers at the end of treatment, only 10 slots available this month.

Send reminders through different channels.

Reminders are key to increase the number of visits, but it is important to use several channels.

It’s not enough to call the person a day before, it is also important to take advantage of text messages or WhatsApp messages, as well as emails.

On occasions we have seen practices generate very good results by sending reminder messages through social networks as well.

Send multiple reminders

It is not enough to send one reminder the day before the appointment, no matter how many channels you send it through.

It is important to send several reminders, especially if the appointment is several days in advance.

One recommendation for sending multiple reminders without annoying your patients is to send valuable content with each reminder.

For example, one reminder might include testimonials from patients who have already had success in your practice, another might include the most frequently asked questions that your new patients typically ask.

Do a lot of follow-up

The difference between a prospect who comes in through advertising and a referral is that the referral already has a clear need and budget, so the sale comes easily.

Prospects that come in through advertising come in very cold, as they do not know the practice or the doctor, which makes their level of trust very low.

In addition, the prospects are not clear about the budget and that is why they must go through a sales process where we make them see that taking this treatment is the best decision they can make at the moment.

That is why it is key to follow up with prospects, because we must remain at the top of their mind until they make up their mind and feel confident working with your practice.


In conclusion, prospects cannot be handled in the same way as a referral, since referrals arrive with a very high purchase intent.

That is why it is important to take them through a sales process that has all these points that we have just mentioned in this article and thus guarantee a high percentage of people who come to the appointment.

If you would like to learn more about our services and how we can bring qualified patients to your office every month, click here to speak with one of our consultants.



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