Dental staff member scheduling appointments using patient recall system

Patient recall is often one of the most procrastinated, ignored, or even dreaded systems. However, it’s one of the best ways to increase production numbers and retain loyal (yet inactive) patients, ultimately resulting in growth and profitability. While it is an investment of time and effort for team members, the return on that investment is big. Recent studies show that businesses who boosted customer retention rates by 5% saw increases in profits up to a whopping 95%. (source)

September/October is a perfect time to combine your recall efforts with reminding active and inactive patients to take advantage of their unused insurance benefits and/or flex spending accounts before the end of the year.

How to create a year-end patient recall plan

Step 1: Use your dental software to identify patients with dental benefits remaining.

Step 2: Filter that group down to those who are overdue for hygiene appointments and those with outstanding treatment.

Step 3: Personally call these patients and tailor your call to specifically address how they can make the most of their benefits before the end of the year (possibly saving them thousands of dollars!)

TIP: If you have an SMS reminder system in place, text patients you can’t reach over the phone, and if you don’t have a system to text patients, consider investing in one. Connecting with patients is no longer one-size-fits-all – we MUST utilize a variety of methods to keep those lines of communication open!

Most patients will appreciate the reminder to make the most of their dental benefits – after all, they’ve already paid for them. According to Demandforce CMO Annie Tsai, “Chances are, they will be happy to come back for a visit — all they need is a friendly reminder. Patient recall efforts are often overlooked, but can be extremely efficient and easy ways to keep your chairs full and your patients happy.” (source)

Tips to make patient recall easier

Give team members 30 minutes of uninterrupted time to reach out to patients – this makes calls more personal and more effective!

Establish a discount or special offer for patients who book within a limited amount of time.

Patient recall tip: Share the load!

Share the load! You may tend to rely solely on your front desk team for recall efforts. However, when hygienists and assistants have gaps in their day due to open or missed appointments, enlist their help! They often have developed close relationships with patients.

When calling, assume the appointment. Assume everyone you call will schedule their appointment. This creates a sense of urgency and helps you sound more confident over the phone.

Create a sense of urgency or FOMO (fear of missing out). Patients need to feel like they need to take advantage of this opportunity before time runs out! Reminding them to “use it or lose it” can help them realize the importance of booking right away.

When on the phone, remember ABC: ALWAYS BE CHEERFUL! Enthusiasm and friendliness will come across in your voice. Smile – patients will be able to “hear” your smile in your tone and will be put at ease.

How to promote year-end patient recall with your marketing

Use social media. Post reminders for patients to benefit from their benefits before time runs out. If you’re a Roadside client, use your pre-made “Use It or Lose It” campaign from Weekly Coach. If you’re not a Weekly Coach subscriber, you can use tools like Canva to create your own social media posts.

Write a blog post. Educate patients on the value of using their benefits before the end of the year – they’ve paid for them already, after all! Write a blog post on the topic and be sure to include answers to frequently asked questions from your patients about insurance.

Send an email blast. Demandforce CMO Annie Tsai encourages practices: “Once you have identified who to reach out to and how you want to reach them, crafting an engaging message is crucial.” Use clear, direct, and motivating language to help patients see the urgency and benefits of booking. Include a clear way for them to book an appointment.

In conclusion, successfully retaining patients and keeping them regular with their hygiene appointments is one of the most effective ways to keep your practice profitable. Share these simple tips with your team, craft your own year-end patient recall system, and watch the schedule fill up!