So you have a great cancellation policy set up in your health business.
All clients know about the cancellation policy and all agree that you are going to charge them a cancellation fee – equal to the cost of the missed consultation – if the patient is not able to give you the required 24 hours notice.
All seems OK so far – as it seems you have effectively earned the right to charge the cancellation fee.
But should you now charge it?
As I said in my other comments on this hottest of topics – it is essential to have the policy in place so all clients know about your cancellation policy – however – I don’t actually think you should charge the cancellation fee.
Note- if you missed my earlier comments on this topic – you can catch up at the page below:
I can hear your cries from here?
Hang on Wrighty – you have just told us to repeat the policy over and over again to the client – and then we ARE NOT going to charge it?
That’s right my friends – you have made the client aware of the policy – but when push comes to shove – you don’t actually charge it.
Instead – when a client cancels short notice or fails to attend a session – your team say something like:
“Hi Mr Smith – sorry you can’t (or did not) attend your consultation today – I am sure you had a good reason – however I do need to point out our cancellation policy – which you were informed about and agreed to on your first visit.”
“The policy requires you to pay the full price of the session – if you were not able to give us 24 hours notice that you were unable to attend the session“.
Now – these words simply echo and re-enforce the cancellation policy the patient agreed to initially – a good reminder. – however –here is the most important part:
“However – as you are a valued client – we are willing to waive this fee today – provided you are able to reschedule the session for (date and time – best within 12 hours) – how does that sound?”
So your admin team are effectively waiving the fee – in return for the patient agreeing to make a future appointment.
As opposed to telling the client you are sending them an invoice for the missed session – or adding the fee to their account for them to pay in their next visit – which makes it more likely they wont attend for that session anyway as it will be effectively double payment.
That being said – you only let this happen once (twice at best for a great client) and discharge the client if they get to a third instance – or get them to pay up front in advance for the well meaning but chronic non arrivals.
This system make clients aware of the importance of your time, protects your team from having to chase cancellation fees and stops potentially good clients from dropping out of care due to a bad feeling about a pending cancellation payment.
The system also stops your admin team having to be the “judge and jury” over the quality of an excuse for a short notice cancellation.
Does a sick mother – beat a cat being run over – or a car that wont start – I am sure you have heard them all before – and many are absolute lies anyway – so you are better off removing the “excuse grading scale” altogether.
I know this is a touchy subject – but you MUST manage this process – or you are at the mercy of your clients arranging the running their own cancellation system.
DO NOT make this mistake.
Put in a detailed and multi step cancellation policy reminder system and then a well rehearsed front office script on what to say when the short notice cancellation occurs.
And finally – be willing to get payment up front – or discharge the repeat offenders.
You and your team – are better off without them.
If you would like copies of New Patient Agreements, Welcome Letters and Registration forms to reduce cancellations immediately in your practice – you can download samples by using the bonus link in my first few pages of my Amazon Best Selling book “How to Run a One Minute Practice“.
You can order your hard copy and get your bonuses by going to: