Your appointment secretary manual should emphasize the following:
1. The key to a high percentage of appointments kept is getting your dental patients to understand what will happen if they do not move forward.
They must understand that the condition will worsen; not because you say so, but because of just physics. They also need to understand the effect that will have, not just on their dental health but their overall health.
It is also key to make sure patients understand that they have made an agreement with you to be there at a certain time.
They need to know that the dentist/hygienist is setting aside time just to see them and that it will adversely affect the office schedule if they not keep their agreement. You respect their time; you only ask that they respect yours in return.
2. It is vital to follow-up on all unscheduled treatment and missed appointments. Make sure only to have a person with excellent communications skills make the calls.
3. For chronic broken appointment patients (at least three broken appointments or is not sorry after the second broken appointment) dismiss them or only allow them to be on your short call list.
4. If you have too many no shows/cancels of new patients a call from the dentist prior to the appointment welcoming the new patient to the practice will stem the tide.