3 ways to help your clients attend appointments on time

We have likely all had those days when you start to run behind on your appointments, meaning your upcoming clients are having to wait longer for you to be ready – this can happy for a number of reasons, and one of those is having a previous client turn up late to their appointment. When this is an initial appointment people are running late too, it can really throw out the outcomes you were hoping to achieve and the experience not only of the client but you as well.  What can we do?

Being late can happen – I myself have been late to appointments, and no one does it intentionally. When it is an initial, and there are forms to fill in – by the time they arrive and do that you can lose the first half of an appointment often. The more we can reduce lateness the better for our practice, and let’s be honest, it is not entirely the clients' fault many times. Here are three ways that you can improve your client’s ability to be on time more often, but especially for the first initial appointment.

  1. Provide the right details in the first place: Sending out an appointment confirmation to your clients, be it via email or post, is a great way to let people know what they need to do when arriving for the first time. Don’t sink into that common way of managing a practice where you assume people will know how it all works – you need to teach people.  If there are forms they will need to complete, let them know and advise them if this requires them to turn up a little earlier than their scheduled time.  Let them know where to park and how far the parking is so they can plan their trip. Let them know what to do if they can’t find a park, or can’t find your practice. Any information like this can help your client know what they need to do.

  2. Acknowledge lives are busy: They really are these days. People are busy, we are busy. It is easy to forget appointment times, or that you even have an appointment.  Structuring a way into your practice that helps remind clients of their appointment time is important. This can be especially so if the appointment was made a while before the actual date – out of sight, out of mind!  Ideas could be to develop a practice app that has a reminder setting, send out SMS reminders to clients; send email reminders; or telephone beforehand.  The method you choose needs to reflect the needs of your clients, so be mindful when choosing.

  3. Speak about the elephant in the room: If someone is late, let them know. Don’t assume they know – in a kind way, let them know that the appointment time will be a little shorter as they arrived late so they know ahead of time. This also allows you to stick on time for your clients that are coming afterwards. If no one says anything, it can be likely you might end up with a repeat offender who continues to then run late.  A few simple well spoken caring words letting the client know that you don’t mind them being late because you know how busy their morning has likely been, but you won’t be able to spend the full time with them on this occasion but will make plans to catch up another time to cover what is needed. 

Efficiency is your friend – lateness is not! See what you can do today about helping your clients be on time for their appointments.


customer Service, Allied Health, Systems, Appointments

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