Repeat business accounts for, on average, about 82% of a practice’s revenue and that revenue depends on effective patient recall. Patient recall is the most effective way to grow your practice and can even increase practice revenues between 15% to 20% without having to spend additional funds on marketing and advertising to attract new patients.
Practices Depend on Recurring Patients
As a result of the recent pandemic, our industry analytics are showing that practices have seen an upward trend in the percentage of patients that are due and unscheduled. While this number has grown by 17%, what’s more alarming is the total number of active patients in the average practice that have no future appointment of any kind. This number has grown to 64%. So, while you consider what marketing initiatives to run across your network or practices that would help bring in more new patients, there is work to do in mitigating the loss of existing patients by re-engaging them. And quickly.
Once a patient leaves the dentist’s office, it can be tricky to get a hold of them. In the past, many dental offices relied on postcards and phone calls to connect with patients and encourage them to stay up to date on their dental appointments. Unfortunately, postcards can be lost in the mail, or get thrown out with the junk, and phone calls often go unanswered.
Text reminders are less invasive than phone calls, inexpensive to send, and are more likely to be read than emails. Patient surveys found that 82% of respondents read text messages within five minutes of receiving them, while only one-quarter of respondents read email reminders in the same time period.
Effectively Engage with Patients
Several studies have found that text reminders are an incredibly efficient way to encourage patients to book appointments, remind them about their upcoming appointments, encourage treatment compliance, and improve at-home dental hygiene practices.
Not offering text reminders can also hurt your practice, as 47% of respondents said they viewed practices that didn’t offer text reminders less favorably than practices that did.
Reduce No-Shows & Maximize Your Schedule
Late patients and missed appointments are a huge problem for dental practices, leaving gaps in the daily schedule and reducing revenue. Pre-COVID they accounted for 10-12% of all appointments. During the height of COVID we saw 100% cancelations due to closures and are only now coming back down to normal percentages. Well-timed reminders, such as a text message sent out the day before an appointment, can reduce the number of lates and no shows dramatically. In fact, text messages and other forms of patient recall can reduce the number of due and late patients by up to 50%.
If a patient does have to miss their scheduled appointment, or is running late, a well-timed text message can help ensure that they give your practice ample notice, allowing you to fill their slot or adjust the schedule more quickly and easily. Text messages allow your administrative staff to text patients about last-minute openings, maximizing the schedule and reducing wait times.
Patients that can get care quickly tend to have a more positive view of their dental practice of choice, making them more likely to return in the future and recommend a particular dentist or practice to their friends and family.
Minimize Operational Costs
Text messages are more efficient than phone calls in terms of time. Text messages not only free up administrative staff for other tasks but also offer an easy way for patients to coordinate appointments. Personal engagement is more important than ever but tasks can be labor some. Having automated tools that assist your front desk in gathering all necessary information such as; treatment information, insurance, other family members, medical alerts and many other pertinent data points prior to picking up the phone, will allow them to contact more patients more often.
And a personal phone is still the most effective method of re-engaging your due and late patients, typically resulting in a 4x increase over any other method of engagement.
Keep Patients Engaged
Text messages and other forms of recall can increase patient engagement by up to 90%. Not only can text messages be used to remind patients of upcoming appointments, and fill empty slots as they show up, they can also encourage patients to comply with treatments and perform routine dental hygiene tasks between visits.
For example, patients who need to remember to brush and floss more often can be reminded to do so via text message. You can also use text messages to remind patients that they are due for a cleaning or appointment or check on them after dental procedures to ensure that their recovery is going smoothly.
Show That You Care
A simple text message is more than just a way to communicate important information to your patients. Reminders and other text message-based engagement efforts can help remind your patients that you care about their oral health and hygiene. Most patients won’t recommend a dentist based on how thorough their cleaning was; instead, they will focus more on emotional benefits such as personalized attention and services (which includes selecting methods of communication to suit their needs), amenities such as wifi, a convenient location, and minimal hassles.
How Can I Get Started?
If you are curious about how text message reminders could help your practice continue to grow, please request a no-obligation, free trial of our software and give it a try for yourself.
Written by Josh Muir, Director DSO and Strategic Markets, RecallMax™
Email Josh at: [email protected]
Looking for a Job? Looking to Fill a Job? JoinDSO.com can help:Subscribe for free to the most-read and respected
resource for DSO analysis, news & events:Read what our subscribers & advertisers think of us: