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Eradicate No-Shows From Your Practice

No-Shows, DNA, CNA etc etc.

Whatever you call them there’s nothing more frustrating than a “no show”. It’s a double whammy of lost income and unplanned downtime, that you often can’t fill.

But is it worth fixing?

We think so. Our evidence suggests that most practices experience something like a 10% DNA rate which equates to around £7,000 of lost income per annum for a busy single clinician practice. We’re not talking pocket change here. This is serious money and we think its worth investing some time to get your “No-Show” % as low as possible.

Here are FOUR proven approaches that will help you to recover some of that lost £7,000 per annum:

1. SMS and Email Confirmations & Reminders

One of the simplest explanations for a missed appointment is that the client simply forgets. It happens, but there are ways that you can minimise the likelihood of it occurring:

  • Send an automated text or email confirmation to the client when the appointment is booked
  • Send an automated text or email reminder to the client x number of days before the appointment

Based on our own data, texts are a more effective means of communication than emails. I suspect the reason for this is the sheer volume of emails that we all receive versus the number of texts that we get and most (but not all of us) have some form of home screen notification which gives a text message just a bit more prominence.

That said, emails are generally free whereas texts cost anywhere between 5p (WriteUpp) and 12p depending on who provides your practice management system. Be sure to check with your provider before you activate this functionality!

Going forwards, with GDPR on the horizon, you will also need to make sure that you have opted-in clients to receive email/SMS communications.

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If you’d like to find out more about setting up confirmations and reminders in WriteUpp please check out the article below:

Guide to Appointment Confirmations & Reminders

2. Online Booking

How many times have you been stood at reception and booked a follow-on appointment without having your diary/calendar with you?

Online booking allows your clients to choose their own appointment in their own time and when they have their diary at hand. If you’ve not seen it in action take a look at our sample online booking site below:

All your client needs is an internet connection and a browser running on a desktop, tablet or mobile device. Here’s online booking on a desktop computer:

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…and here it is on a mobile device:


You’ll see that the screen is optimised to allow for the fact that the screen is smaller on a phone or tablet.

If you would like to know more about setting up online booking in WriteUpp take a look at the guide below:

Getting Started with Online Booking

3. Pre-Payment

Its fair to say that some clinicians have strong views about pre-payment but the harsh reality (proven with hard evidence) is that appointments that are pre-paid experience a significantly lower “no show” rate.

Bluntly, when a client pre-pays they are motivated and the onus is on them to make sure that they don’t forget to turn up.

In WriteUpp, pre-payment is an integral part of the booking process which you can choose to enable/disable in online booking.

If you operate a pre-payment policy we would recommend a few things:

  • Make it clear on the homepage of your online booking site (or website) that you require pre-payment and advise your clients to have a debit/credit card to hand when they make an online booking
  • Ensure that your terms and conditions clearly state that “no show” appointments are non-refundable or at least that refunds are discretionary
  • Ensure that you use a secure and reliable payment provider so that your clients experience an effortless and straightforward payment process. Any issues with payment will result in lost bookings so it’s important to make sure that you use a world-class provider. In WriteUpp we use Stripe, one of the world’s most popular payment services providers, used by organisations like ASOS, Lush, Made, OpenTable, Deliveroo, Pinterest, Facebook, Oxfam, British Heart Foundation and Comic Relief amongst their clients.

If you would like to know more about pre-payment in WriteUpp check out this article below:

How do I take pre-payments via Online Booking?

4. Tracking, tagging and Records

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, there are clients that continually miss appointments. Obviously, what you choose to do about this is your call but some simple house-keeping can help. Here are a few tips:

  • Maintain a clear record of your client’s activity:
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  • Use tags or labels to mark clients who repeat DNA so that you can take appropriate action if they make a booking:
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  • Have some clear policies in place about what is and isn’t acceptable in terms of no-shows. Once they have been agreed upon be sure to apply them consistently across all clients.

About WriteUpp

WriteUpp is a beautifully simple practice management system designed specifically for health and wellbeing professionals. It runs securely on desktop, tablet and mobile and includes a whole host of time-saving features including: text reminders, online booking, notes templates, card payments and super-simple invoicing. If you would like to streamline your practice, you can give WriteUpp a try free for 30 days with no obligation. Click here to take the trial. Alternatively, take a look at our Facebook Review to see what our lovely users really think of us!

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