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Why & When to Send Reminders to Dental Patients

Couple booking their next appointment.

Here’s a little bit of math for you: patients equal money. It’s shocking, we know, but this is something that rings true for all dental practitioners. However, most revenue isn’t made from new patients; it’s made from your regular ones.

In fact, 82% of all practice revenue comes from recall (repeat) patients, making them extremely important to your business!

So, to make your practice a success, you need to be ensuring more people are coming for their appointments than not. How do you do this? By creating and managing a system of reminders to help your patients know when they are due for their next appointment!

Today, we want to take a deep dive into why you should have a reminder system and when to send them so you can maximize your recall patients.

So, without further adieu, let’s get into it!

Graphic explaining the keys to sending dental reminder messages

Why Send Reminders?

It Maximizes Your Revenue & Patient Retention

The very first reason why you should be sending reminders to your patients is that it will help maximize your revenue and retain more patients. Your patients lead busy lives, and this can make it hard for them to remember their appointments. According to studies, forgetfulness is responsible for up to 44.8% of missed appointments.

That is no small number, but it’s something you can directly impact by having a reminder system. By actively contacting and scheduling recall appointments, you may start to see your attendance rates hit around 95%!

On top of this, reminding your patients will also help promote your practice through patient referrals! By going the extra mile to show your patients how much you care, they’ll be more inclined to tell their friends and family about your quality service!

Increase Productivity & Improve Your Office Culture

Preparing for an appointment takes time and effort from many staff members. However, an average of 42% of patients never make it to their appointment, wasting time and money.

Missed and cancelled appointments can wreak havoc on your staffs’ productivity, and in some cases, lead to longer wait times for patients who are making their appointments.

By sending reminders to your patients, you not only have the opportunity to develop more revenue but also improve your staff’s quality of life at work.

Reminders Can Improve Patient Experience

There is no question that patients value their health, but patients also value their experiences. It’s never enough to manage and monitor your patient’s health; your patients need to know that you are with them every step of the way!

Sending reminders will help your patients know that you’re thinking of them and creates a relationship that’s just a little more meaningful to them. 

More Chances to Manage Your Patient’s Health

Reminders can also trigger a domino effect that could provide more chances to improve your patient’s oral health. 

Reminding your patients will help them spend more time improving their oral health by brushing, flossing, or attending scheduled appointments.

When Should You Send Reminders?

How Does Timing Affect Patient Attendance

Most researchers tend to recommend sending patient reminders closer to the appointment date, with multiple reminders being more effective than just one.

One study discovered that sending reminders both 3 days and 1 day before the appointment was more effective than sending a single reminder either 3 days or 1 day before.

However, one thing that you should be aware of is not to send reminders too early because patients can forget about them. Early reminders serve no purpose for you or your patient.

Where Will You Reach Your Patient’s Best?

Knowing where to send your reminders is key to making sure your patients see them. Each person is different, and each has a preferred way to be contacted. One of the first things you should offer your patients is a variety of contact options they can choose from.

Some of the most common reminders include emails, text messages, or phone calls. It’s always a good practice to ask how patients would like to be contacted after each appointment as well, in case they wish to change the way you contact them.

However, research has shown that patients are more responsive to text and email reminders than phone calls.

Man getting a reminder of his appointment.

General Reminder Tips

Less is More

Sending reminders is a delicate balance between making sure your patient gets the fullest impact of the reminder while not irritating them.

One thing you should not do is send multiple reminders every week leading up to their appointment. If you do this, your patient can get annoyed and block the messages altogether, making it harder than ever to remind them of their appointments.

Instead, only send a couple of reminders (2 or 3 max) a few days before the appointment. You won’t annoy the patient, and they will likely appreciate the space you’ve given them.

Content is King

It’s one thing to send a reminder; it’s another thing to send a poorly crafted reminder.

So, if you’re going to send a message, make sure you’re crafting a message that resonates with your patient. You can do this in several different ways, but a general rule is to personalize the message as much as possible. 

The patient experience should always be on your mind, and these reminders are a fantastic way to let your patients know you care about them and their needs. The more you can direct that message to the specific patient, the more they will positively respond.

Accommodate Your Patient, Not the Other Way Around

Please give your patient options for communication! Not everyone prefers the same thing, so holding them to strictly one mode, like phone calls, emails, or texts, will ultimately affect how well you’re able to reach and remind your patients. 

Start Seeing More Patients Today!

Patient reminders are crucial for ensuring more patients are coming to their appointments. If you’re looking for a new and innovative way to communicate with your patients, contact us today! We can help maximize your practice and improve your patient’s experience by setting up a recall system that works!

Contact us today!

Written by Leah Dennis

Director, Client Success

Leah’s passion lies in ensuring our clients thrive. Thriving clients have a great experience, and our company builds lasting relationships that drive our reputation as the authority on Dental Management Systems. Systems create an organized, predictable environment in which team can flourish. Leah’s years of experience as a Practice Management Consultant has given her key insights into what works well by putting RecallMax to work in the real-world and understanding what our dental teams face on a daily basis.

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