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Recall 1, 2, 3: How to Keep Your Patients Coming Back

dental receptionist getting a patient to fill out a form while she recalls patients

The Power of 1, 2, 3 Recall

Recognizing the power of recall is imperative to ensure your patients remain your patients. Even with the most advanced recall systems, you need to know how to use it effectively to benefit your practice. 

At RecallMax, we care about helping you keep your schedule full. Through expert advice and our 1, 2, 3 recall method, we can help guide you through our revolutionary software and do just that.

Catch Patients Before They Leave

When your patients attend an appointment, you and your team should be focused on having them start thinking about their next appointment. “Pre-appointing” your patients before they leave ensures they are already thinking about the next time they need to come in before they leave.

Manage Your Schedule Ahead of Time

This makes it easier to manage your schedule because scheduled patients are easier to move and adjust than unscheduled patients. Once patients are in your schedule, they’ve already committed to returning and are unlikely to cancel for anything other than unavoidable circumstances. 

In comparison, booking a future appointment with a patient in person is much easier than contacting them via phone call, email, or text.

Keep Patients Active

Booking your patients in for another appointment while still in-office also prevents them from getting lost in your practice management system. It also helps fill out your schedule ahead of time to have a more accurate depiction of what future days will look like.

Ensure You’re Seeing Them Regularly

When you get your patient to book their next appointment when they are in office, they will generally make an effort to keep it – more so than the effort they will put in to book their next appointment.

Encourage Pre-appointments Effectively

When your team asks patients to book future appointments, make sure they are using the right language and scripts. Help them communicate with confidence so they can transfer that confidence over to your patients.

Patients are more likely to book when they are aware of their flexibility. Reassure them that any dates are tentative commitments that they can reschedule at any time. You can also mention that your team will call to confirm so they’ll have the chance to discuss their appointment at that time.

Confirm Tentative Patients

Confirming tentative appointments helps give your patients a sense of communication that makes sure they feel acknowledged. Reaching out to confirm appointments also gives your patients a chance to reschedule if something has come up, remind them of their upcoming appointments, and ask any questions they may have before their appointment.

Give Them a Chance to Reschedule

When patients forget about appointments, they are more likely to cancel them last-minute or even no-show, especially when something else comes up. When you call them to confirm their appointment, they will then have a chance to reschedule if they need to. Your call will also remind them of their upcoming appointment to evaluate if something has come up, which might require them to reschedule.

Encourage Confirmations

When guiding your staff on how to encourage confirmations, be sure to instruct them to reach out to tentative appointments at least 2 weeks from their appointment date. This way, they’re given a chance to evaluate their schedule and what they might need to shuffle around.

Additionally, be sure to give them the tools to use the right language with patients, so they know the importance of reserved appointments.

Due Patients Before Late & Overdue Patients

dental receptionist with dark hair smiling on the phone while she calls due patients

Keeping track of patients that are due for their next appointment helps keep your team on the ball. Trying to focus on all patients, including late and overdue patients, can become increasingly daunting. If your team becomes overwhelmed, their productivity and efficiency can dwindle. It’s crucial to give them the tools and training they need to succeed.

Due vs. Overdue & Late

Due patients are generally more responsive than overdue or late patients. You’re more likely to get a due patient to commit to an appointment, making the follow up a better use of their time.

Stress the Importance of Dental Care

Additionally, when you try to keep your patients on track, you are simultaneously sending the message that dental checkups are essential. You can also emphasize how preventative dental care, like regular cleanings, can safeguard their oral health and prevent serious problems later on.

Encourage the Rebooking of Due Patients

Be sure to schedule a designated time for your team to follow up with due patients. Most practices report only needing a few hours a week.

Once due patients have been contacted, you can then reach out to late and overdue patients. Staying proactive can help your late and overdue patients become due patients, ensuring your schedule is kept full, and their oral health needs are appropriately cared for.

Focus on the 90%

90% is a magic number that you and your team should focus on when it comes to dental recall. This includes:

  • Pre-appointing 90% of patients before they leave
  • Confirm 90% of patients before their appointment date
  • Schedule 90% of due patients before late and overdue

Recall can be a complex topic, especially if you’re balancing a busy clinic with patient management. Our 1, 2, 3 recall method is tried and true and will help your team manage your patients.

If you have any questions, we encourage you to book a no-obligation free trial to see how our revolutionary software can boost your practice’s patient recall.

Written by Josh Muir

Director of DSOs & Special Markets

Before he began at RecallMax, Josh worked as a director of practice management at a large Canadian DSO. As a senior leader, Josh has always focused on the development of the people and clients around him. With over 15 years of leadership at virtually every level of management, Josh has learned the essential qualities that motivate and inspire those he is responsible for and accountable to.

Josh has a preternatural ability to understand key financial levers and the behaviours that influence them. While he works to optimize efficiency, Josh never fails to prioritize service vale, regardless of the situation.

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