As a dentist, staying organized and keeping your patients’ appointments straight is essential. One way to do this is by using appointment reminders. There are many ways to remind your patients of their upcoming appointments, but some methods work better than others. Here are nine best practices for appointment reminders that will help you keep your practice running smoothly.
1. Use dental software to send automatic reminders
Appointment reminder software can be a big help when sending reminders. Most programs allow you to set up automatic reminders that will go out to patients a certain number of days before their appointment. This can take a lot of the work off your plate and ensure that patients always have the most up-to-date information about their appointments.
2. Personalize your reminders
Your patients are more likely to pay attention to reminders that feel personal, so try to add a personal touch whenever possible. If you have time, write a brief message letting the patient know you’re looking forward to seeing them soon. You could also include helpful information like what to expect during the appointment or what they need to bring.
3. Send reminders frequently
It’s better to err on the side of sending too many reminders than not enough. Patients can be forgetful, so it’s essential to give them ample opportunity to remember their upcoming appointments. Try sending a reminder a week in advance, a few days before, and finally, on the day of the appointment.
4. Use multiple channels
To reach as many patients as possible, you should use multiple channels for your reminders. In addition to email, you could also send text messages or even give patients a call. Some dental software programs allow you to automatically set up reminders that will be sent out through multiple channels.
5. Make it easy to cancel or reschedule
If a patient needs to cancel or reschedule their appointment, you should make it as easy as possible for them to do so. Include instructions on how to do so in your reminders, or provide a link they can click on. The easier you make it, the less likely patients will be to not show up for their appointment.
6. Follow up with no-shows
Some patients will inevitably miss their appointments, despite your best efforts. When this happens, be sure to follow up with them afterward. A simple phone call or email can go a long way towards getting them back on track. And, of course, be sure to resend reminders for their next appointment, so they don’t fall behind again.
7. Use appointment reminders as an opportunity to upsell
Appointment reminders can also be an excellent opportunity to upsell patients on additional services or products. If you know a patient is due for a cleaning, you could include information about it in their reminder. This is a gentle way to remind patients of the needed services and get them excited about coming in for their appointment.
8. Keep track of your results
Finally, keep track of your results to see what’s working and what isn’t. Most dental software programs will allow you to track how many patients receive and respond to your reminders. This information can be beneficial in fine-tuning your reminder strategy over time.
9. Avoid rescheduling requests
Asking patients to reschedule their appointments in the reminder message will likely create confusion and frustration. If a patient needs to reschedule, it’s best to contact them directly to discuss available options.
Following these best practices for appointment reminders can help ensure that your patients don’t forget their upcoming appointments. Dental online scheduling software can help keep track of your patients’ appointments and send out reminders. And by personalizing your reminders and using multiple channels, you can ensure your patients are more likely to see and remember them.