One of the most important aspects of running a successful dental office is having an effective patient recall process. Keeping oral health records up-to-date by ensuring your patients return for annual care and follow-up treatment is vital to provide the best care experiences possible.
However, if you aren't achieving the recall rates needed to sustain and grow your dental company, it could be an issue with your scripting. You may already use several components for your strategy. Still, a script can finesse your team's phone and messaging etiquette to maximize the likelihood of a patient's return to your office.
Every patient is unique, and you develop oral healthcare treatments based on their individual needs. Recalling them back for follow-ups, missed appointments, and other situations necessitate using different scripts depending on the topic your staff is contacting them about.
Below is an overview of the most common patient recall scenarios your dental company faces and the best script for getting patients back into your office:
For dental organizations using practice management software (PMS) to track patient treatment and scheduling, it's a simple process to identify those who are overdue for routine care or follow-ups. Also, getting them back into the dental chair will help your retention rates and strengthen their loyalty to your brand.
Ensure your attempts to recall them are successful by using a script that reminds them they have oral care due and provides an easy method to schedule.
An excellent text/email recall example for patients with overdue appointments is:
Hi, (Name of Patient). It looks like your annual dental exam and cleaning are overdue. Dr. Smith recommends you get this performed every six months to help you reduce the chance of developing gingivitis or cavities. Is there a time of the week that works best with your schedule?
This message provides a straightforward message that needed care is overdue, and your office is readily available to get them in for treatment. If you use a PMS like Adit, you could even include a link that takes them directly to your online scheduling. This cuts down on having to message back and forth.
Keep in mind that some patients need that personal phone call to help them determine what appointment time works best for their visit. Regardless of how your staff reaches out to a patient, ensure they emphasize how necessary the appointment is to encourage scheduling.
Another important recall script for your dental office is one focused on booking future appointments. The dental industry relies on hygiene recall for its profitability, and because this is an expected bi-yearly routine, it boosts your ability to retain patients.
Here is a great script idea for recalling patients for future visits:
Hi, (Patient Name). It appears that you will be due for a yearly exam and cleaning in early April. We want to encourage you to go ahead and book this now so we can ensure you keep that healthy smile sparkling. You can set up your appointment using the link below or give us a call at 111-111-1111 to speak with our scheduling department.
What's really nice about this script is you can send it out en masse to all of your patients who have exams and other routine care coming up. This saves time compared to making individual calls.
The bane of any dental practice are no-shows and frequent cancellations. When a patient doesn't show up for their appointment, you lose productivity and revenue. If you have a few patients that regularly cancels, consider the following recall script to help them reschedule or at least communicate their issue with keeping their commitments:
Hello, (Patient Name)! We are sorry you can't/couldn't make today's dental appointment with Dr. Smith's office. We were really looking forward to seeing you on (date). What can we do to help you make it to your visit next time?
This is best utilized when you find out they have canceled or won't be showing up. If your patient responds stating that keeping the scheduled time was impossible, immediately offer to reschedule and find out if there are certain days or times where they know for sure they can make it,
If your practice imposes a fee for last-minute cancellations and no-shows, be sure to remind them of this policy politely. Often, patients will instead forgo cancellation and make their visit on time.
Another patient you should prioritize recalling are those who faithfully make and show up for their scheduled appointments. Never take this loyalty for granted and use recall scripts to strengthen your relationship with them further.
One great way to do this is by reminding them to leave a review of their oral healthcare experience at your office. This not only helps to build your brand reputation but keeps your practice at the front of their mind.
There are a few innovative ways to ask for feedback, including right at the end of the appointment when scheduling their next visit. This script is perfect for automated text reminders:
(Patient Name), it was great seeing you today! Our team would love it if you could take a few moments of your time to share your thoughts and feedback about your experience. Doing this helps us improve our services and ensure our patients get the best possible care at our office.
Thanks so much for your support, and we look forward to seeing you at your next appointment.
As you can see, there are a few key points covered when making this request:
Using dental practice management software, such as Adit, makes this process even easier with automation and easily created templated text.
Believe it or not, another situation that benefits from a recall script is sharing general information about your practice to requesting patients. By answering their inquiries promptly, converting them into booked appointments is easier. Also, it highlights your office's dedication to its patients.
Whether this information is requested by phone, in-person, through an online contact form, or text message, you can use this recall script:
Thanks for contacting us about (topic), (Patient Name). We are more than happy to answer this for you. (Answer the question). If you have any additional questions, feel free to respond to this reply to get more information.
Also, don't hesitate to include a link to your website's frequently asked questions (FAQ) page. This can free up your staff from answering the same questions all the time, like what your hours are or location address.
PMS platforms like Adit also provide additional technological recall tools like automated text responses, including important website links with general information.
Using a script effectively involves more than just good memorization and tone. Below are our top best practices when using dental recall scripts:
Whether you send a text message or call them directly, you must consider a patient's availability to respond. Many working professionals keep banking hours of 9 - 5, which means they may not reply until off work. You may find better luck with your recall strategy if you focus on hours after this time frame.
Always approach patients professionally and empathetically. For example, they may be calling you while suffering from debilitating tooth pain or concerned about an oral healthcare situation.
Using a call script centered around stressed patient situations can help standardize your team's interaction with courtesy and effective communication.
Your patients likely come from all walks of life and cultures. In a country where finding quality dental care is already challenging, you can maximize your recall strategy by offering multi-lingual scripting to provide effective communication. Providing this extra avenue for patients to communicate with your staff also reinforces a patient's desire to choose your practice over competitors.
If you offer dentistry services to every age group, keep this in mind when contacting patients to book their annual cleanings. Instead of adding multiple appointments to their already busy schedule, offer to set up consecutive time slots. This not only proves convenient for the patient and makes it less likely they will miss appointments for their other family members.
Even though your patient may have scheduled an appointment, it's vital to make sure they attend. Using a dental practice management system to send out automated reminders and later follow-up requests can boost retention. These notices can be sent through secure SMS text messaging, allowing patients to discreetly receive your communications at their own pace.
At Adit, we understand how your dental staff and quality of service can impact your ability to retain patients. With carefully developed recall scripts, you can add another layer to patient experiences in your office and boost retention and profitability.
Using a comprehensive digital practice management tool that provides state-of-the-art features to attract, convert, and recall your patients, Adit is a one-of-a-kind end-to-end solution for dental offices worldwide. Ask for a free demo today and learn why our cloud-based platform is preferred among dentists everywhere.
Angela is a former English teacher turned marketing content specialist. Over the past 10 years, she’s developed marketing strategies to forge enduring bonds between B2B, B2C and SaaS companies and their clients through holistic education, effective communication, and captivating storytelling that moves audiences to act.
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Every dentist knows that patient retention is critical to their practice’s growth. The challenge is determining which strategies and tools work best to boost retention. This guide gives you 5 strategies to help you get started!