Policies are for businesses that fail with service and persuasion.

When all else fails, some business people believe that putting a policy in place will magically cure all ills.

A policy is simply a sign that a business has lost control, and has no idea as to the best way to fix their problem and move forwards.

In a dental practice, patients who love the service that the practice provides them will never cancel and will always turn up. And turn up early for their appointments.

In dentistry…

In fact in dentistry, the existence of a policy for something spells SPOTLIGHT for a problem that is out of control.

Typically, a dental practice will implement a CANCELLATION POLICY because patients cancelling appointments has become a significant problem in that practice.

Patients cancel dental appointments for two reasons:

  1. They are allowed to
  2. They have no perception of the consequences and damage that can occur to them when they delay their necessary treatment.

In dental practices, the Cancellation Policy is usually used as a crutch to threaten a patient who wants to cancel or reschedule their appointment. But these weak worded “policies” are rarely enforced.

Often these Cancellation Policies are as soft as a feather.

And often, the result of mentioning a Cancellation Policy to a patient who wants to cancel results in that patient leaving the dental practice and taking their dental care elsewhere.

When a dental practice CLEARLY EXPLAINS to a patient exactly what will happen to that patient’s tooth/gums/infection as a result of that patient delaying treatment, more patients in that practice will immediately start to attend more appointments, and keep more appointments.

Threatening cancelling patients with financial penalties only succeeds in driving those patients away and to another dental office.

Financial penalties do not boost patient attendance rates.

Patients will be more motivated to avoid risking a root canal or a split tooth, than they will to avoid incurring a “threat” of a $50.00 penalty.

Putting a cancellation policy on your practice website…

If you’re thinking of putting a cancellation policy on your dental practice website, you may as well invest in an advert on a local billboard telling your community that your practice has a serious problem with patients cancelling too many appointments.

If cancellations in your dental practice are affecting your practice production and profitability, you might like to drop me a line at david@theUPE.com and I’ll let you know the best ways to go about fixing that problem.


Dr. David Moffet BDS FPFA CSP is a certified CX Experience coach. David works with his wife Jayne Bandy to help SME businesses improve their Customer Service Systems to create memorable World Class experiences for their valued clients and customers. Click here to find out how David and Jayne can help your business