Guest post by Shaun Clark, Prompt Appointment
The average billing rate of a lawyer in Oregon is $242 per hour. So when a client fails to keep an appointment, you stand to lose a substantial amount in consultation fees. Add in the time it takes to follow-up with the client and reschedule, and the real cost of a no-show becomes more apparent.
Even if you offer free initial consultations your practice is still at risk if you have a high no-show rate. Clients who fail to keep initial appointments rarely, if ever, book a subsequent appointment for which the lawyer can actually bill.
This Isn’t Only Your Dentist’s Problem
No show appointments can be a huge drain on your practice’s bottom line. Clients are difficult to get and the ones you have are important to keep, that’s why utilizing automated appointment reminders in your practice is an inexpensive way to solve this profit-draining problem.
Automated reminders can be used to:
- Stop no show appointments
- Drive up collections rates with bill reminders
- Compliment marketing efforts by creating positive online reviews for your firm through the use of follow-up e-mail surveys
How Does an Automated Reminder System Work?
Automated reminder systems send text, e-mail, or voice messages to clients prior to their appointments. Reminders can be initiated through your existing legal practice management software (i.e. Clio, Rocket Matter, MyCase) or through the appointment reminder Web interface.
When the text, e-mail, or voice message arrives, the client is asked to confirm his or her attendance at the appointment. If the client cannot keep the appointment, he or she can initiate a request to reschedule. When the client responds to the appointment reminder, your office will be notified immediately. If the client asks to reschedule, you or your staff can quickly reach out to set a new appointment date and time.
Are Automated Reminder Systems Costly?
Automated reminder systems cost as little as $30/month. At an average billable rate of $242 per hour it doesn’t take long for an automated system to transition from paying for itself to actually making a law practice money. (Money that was simply being lost month in and month out in missed consultation fees.) In addition, providers of these services usually offer free trials. This makes it easy for a solo or small firm to take a test drive before committing firm dollars to new software that doesn’t work or falls short of its promises.
How Can an Automated Reminder System Help me Collect Fees?
Automated reminders don’t have to stop at appointments. You can use the reminder system to prompt clients about overdue bills. With an automated system client invoicing can transform from a confrontational endeavor (tracking down late payments; sending clients to collections) to improved collection rates and lower receivables. Text or e-mail reminders can alert clients their invoice is ready and provide a link for online payment. Any system that assists in prompt delivery of client bills and provides clients with an easy way to pay and will reduce the number of days your unpaid accounts remain outstanding.
The Benefits of Integration with Practice Management Software
The best appointment reminder systems will integrate seamlessly with your legal practice management software. To you, the user, this means the appointment reminder system will appear as another tool in your existing software (i.e. Clio, Rocket Matter, or MyCase) without the hassle of having to learn a new program.
If you or your firm is suffering from client no shows, we would be happy to arrange a free 30 day free trial of PromptAppointment. We send automated appointment reminders and can link to your existing practice management and accounting software. Try PromptAppointment today and make no shows a thing of the past.
A note from Oregon Law Practice Management: I have reviewed automated appointment reminders in the past, but was happy to offer Shaun the opportunity to blog about PromptAppointment, a home-grown solution based right here in Oregon. Unlike Demandforce, the product I blogged about previously, PromptAppointment promises to integrate with your existing practice management software – a real plus. With that said, this is not a product endorsement. If you are interested in appointment reminder solutions, conduct appropriate research.