There are three steps every practice can take to take advantage of the power of recall. Even the most advanced recall system can only benefit your practice if it is used effectively.
Catch Patients Before They Leave
You and your team should aim to pre-appoint 90% of your patients before they leave.
Why Are Pre-Appointments Important?
- It is easier to move a scheduled patient than book an unscheduled patient, and this helps ensure that your patient is scheduled to receive the care they need.
- Pre-appointment prevents patients from getting lost in the practice management system and helps fill up the schedule sooner, giving you a more accurate picture of the schedule.
- Patients typically make more of an effort to keep a booked appointment than to book an appointment.
How Can I Encourage Pre-Appointments?
- Ask for a tentative commitment instead of a hard commitment, then follow up to confirm the appointment.
- Communicate with confidence, making sure to use the right language and scripts. Stress that by booking an appointment now your patient is more likely to get the day they want and has more options for time slots.
- Reassure patients that appointments are not set in stone; they can always be moved at a later date if something else comes up.
Confirm Patients Before Their Appointment Dates
You and your team should aim to confirm 90% of patients before their appointment date.
Why Are Confirmations Important?
- Patients get more time to keep or move their appointments.
- Your staff get more time to confirm appointments and fill openings.
- Confirmations significantly reduce cancellations and no-shows.
How Can I Encourage Confirmations?
- Aim to have patients confirmed two weeks before their appointments.
- Use the right language and stress the importance of reserved appointments.
- Confirming appointments sooner reduces cancellations by 50% on average.
Due Patients Before Late & Overdue Patients
You and your team should focus on scheduling 90% of your due patients before late and overdue patients.
Why Should We Focus on Due Patients?
- If you try to keep up with everything you and your team may become overwhelmed and drop the ball. Focusing on due patients first makes recall less daunting.
- Due patients are typically more responsive than overdue or late patients. You are more likely to get a due patient to commit to an appointment, making their follow up a better use of your team’s time.
- Encouraging due patients sends the message that dental checkups are essential. This helps safeguard their oral health, preventing more serious problems later on.
How Can I Encourage Focusing on Due Patients?
- Schedule a designated time to follow up with due patients. Most practices typically need one to two hours per week.
- Catch up on late or overdue patients after following up with due patients so that over time, your late or overdue patients can become due patients. This proactive approach helps ensure the schedule is full, and your patients are getting the care they need promptly.