Cosmetic Patient No-Shows Are a Problem

BusinessMarketing & Advertising

  • Author Catherine Maley, Mba
  • Published September 22, 2021
  • Word count 503

Cosmetic Patient No-Shows Are a Problem

It can be frustrating to watch your staff stand around waiting for cosmetic patient no-shows, and you are also left in a “holding pattern,” which isn’t good for your mood or your pocketbook.

There are lots of reasons why cosmetic patient no-shows are happening in your practice:

• We live in a crazy busy world, so patients forget about their appointment and then are too embarrassed to call back;

• They had every intention to show up, but something else came up, so they didn’t bother to let you know;

• They got lost, couldn’t find your office easily, and just gave up.

However, when I interviewed patients to learn why they didn’t show up for their appointments, the #1 reason given was…

….they didn’t know you or have a relationship with you, so they didn’t feel an obligation to show up if something else came up or if they changed their mind.

My guess is these are Internet Stranger Patients, rather than your current patients with whom you have some type of relationship with.

There is just too much chatter out there to “assume” these prospective patients will show up even though they said they would.

Of course, there is a lot more you could do at the front end, such as:

Send Welcome Packet

The more the patient “feels” as if they know you, the more likely they are to show up. So mail or digitally send your “Get to Know Us” that includes a warm welcome letter, before/after photos of other happy patients, patient reviews, thank you notes from grateful patients, information on easy pay plans, directions to your office, and so on.

Pre-Consult Call

Have your coordinator start the relationship-building process ahead of time by making a friendly and informative call to the prospective cosmetic patient. They can introduce themselves and pre-frame you, the surgeon, as the best choice.

Send Reminders

Technology has made it easier for you to automatically remind cosmetic patients via email and/or text; however, the human touch will never go out of style.

I lay out plenty more strategies in Converting Callers and Converting Consults tools.


The quickest way to find out how serious a prospective cosmetic patient is - is to charge them a consult fee.

Of course, there is a chance you will lose some of these callers who refuse to pay a consult fee; but the ones who do pay it are typically serious enough to respect your time.

All you can do is test it. For one month, charge a consult fee and track the following:

– How many prospects called or emailed?

– How many of them converted to the consult?

– How many of them showed up?

– How many of those consults said YES?

Now check those numbers against your usual numbers when you DON’T charge a consult, fee and there’s your answer!

How do you keep cosmetic patient no-shows to a minimum?

Since The Year 2000, Catherine Maley, MBA has been a plastic surgery growth business and marketing consultant, author, speaker, trainer, blogger, and podcaster. Her website is

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