Dental practices put a lot of effort into getting new patients from referrals and marketing initiatives. But the unsung heroes of dental practice success are loyal return patients. Dental recalls, or reappointment rates, can make or break your practice. Reappointments can be the difference between a $500,000 practice and a $1 million practice.
A full hygiene schedule should be your goal, but only 17 percent of dentists report that most of their active patients receive hygiene treatment every six months. Patients are busier than ever, and cancellations and no-shows are all too common. Even a push to schedule reappointments in office can’t guarantee results.
Regular cleanings lead to healthier patients and a full hygiene schedule for your practice. These four tips can help to increase your reappointments.
Don’t Refer to Appointments as ’Cleanings’
Appointments are so much more than cleanings. This term is too general and devalues the work put into each appointment. Bi-annual hygiene appointments allow time to perform preventive care, health screenings and answer questions face to face.
Providing patients with oral hygiene tips based on each examination shows room for improvement on their part. It can lead to more dedicated patients at home and increase the importance they place on those appointments, increasing the overall need and desire to return in six months.
Build Greater Value for the Hygiene Appointment
Each appointment not only provides an oral cleaning, but dentists and hygienists are providing prophylactic care for conditions like periodontal disease and gingivitis. Regular X-rays are crucial for detecting movements of incoming teeth, such as wisdom teeth, as well as detection of cavities.
Keeping up on regular appointments can save patients money. Preventive care can limit the amount of costly and painful procedures needed in a patient’s lifetime. The cleaning portion of the appointment also helps to remove stains caused by foods and drinks, like coffee, sending your patients home with a brighter, whiter smile. This cosmetic benefit is a wonderful reminder to patients of the important work done at each appointment.
After clearing up the generalizations of the term “cleaning,” it is important to emphasize these additional benefits given at each appointment. This will build a greater value around appointments and oral health, encouraging reappointments.
Attempt to Reschedule in Office
Make an effort to reschedule patients before they leave your office. Patients often forget when that six month mark rolls around, so having something in the books does the work for them.
Instead of posing a question, make rescheduling sound more necessary. Suggest “Let’s get your next appointment scheduled.” This seems less optional and more essential. Making a concerted effort to ask patients before they leave can increase your amount of returns.
Planning six months ahead does mean schedules can change, so reminders and confirmations are imperative. Contact patients to confirm appointments at least 48 hours in advance. This allows time to adjust personal schedules, if needed. If a cancellation does come up, it also gives you enough time to schedule another patient in the open appointment slot.
Phone calls are still the most popular way to contact patients, but plenty of practices are integrating email and even texting. Contact patients in at least two of these ways. This increases the likelihood of receipt of your message and the likelihood of response.
Emphasizing the importance of bi-annual dental appointments and the many benefits they provide can leave patients more inclined to revisit. Adopting these best practices can lead to more reappointments and a full schedule for your practice. If you’re interested in more ways to increase your appointments and gain more satisfied patients, check out our blog for more helpful tips!
About Conversion Whale
Founded in 2014, Conversion Whale is a rapidly-growing marketing firm that has become the nation’s leading Google AdWords marketing company for dental practices, legal offices and franchise companies. Its dedicated and knowledgeable staff specializes in turning existing websites into profitable marketing engines and promises its clients a minimum of 50 new leads a month. The company currently has more than 500-plus partners throughout North America and is rapidly expanding its reach. For more information, visit http://www.conversionwhale.com or call (855) 699-4253