Are your staff tired to death of spending half their days doing phone calls to remind patients or clients of their upcoming appointments? And does it seem harder and harder to make contact via phone? Would you rather have them spend that time on something more valuable … like marketing ideas to attract more new patients?
Good news – there are alternative solutions in the digital world. Many practices are already on the bandwagon with these tools but more than 75% are not.
Here’s my feedback as a patient at the receiving end of the new technology:
I’m at the front desk of my dental office a couple of years ago, having just completed my treatment for that time around. I paid my bill and figured out a date for my next 6 month checkup and cleaning. Then the receptionist asked me for my email address and my cell phone number. She told me she’ll remind me of my appointment 1 month before and a day or two before the actual appointment and did I want to be reminded via text or email? I chose text as first option and we worked out the exact dates of the reminders. She programmed them into her computer for automatic messages to be sent out. I thought, “Wow, cool, no phone calls interrupting my days.”
One month before the appointment, I suddenly get a text saying, “_____ Dental confirming your dental appointment for Monday, May 21st at 10:30 a.m. Please press “C” for confirmed and press Send. If you have any questions, our number is _________.” (They didn’t ask if I needed to cancel or change the time, but the number IS there if I do need to.) I am super impressed that I only have to press C and Send and not talk to somebody for a few minutes in the middle of my day.
Then, the night before my actual appointment date (I asked for this time – Sunday at 8:30 p.m.), I get the reminder by text about the next day. I’m happy to be reminded then. No fuss, no bother, no chit chat. State of the art, I think to myself.
Okay, so that’s my story. The question remains, however, whether all patients will prefer this technology over the old fashioned way of chatting on the phone with a real person? Apparently not all will. But even if it’s only 10% of your patient base who needs a live person to talk to, that is still a huge reduction in staff time spent on confirmations and recalls. With that freed-up time, there is absolutely no shortage of marketing actions that staff could have some fun with to help grow the practice!
Buy it, Use it
If you don’t have the technology in your practice software, you should buy it. If you can’t, get a cell phone and just sign up for texting only and use it to do the confirms. It is slower for sure, but not as long as talking on the phone. Also, some patients or clients will prefer to receive emails.
Bottom line: Efficiency and production lead to excellent service to your patient base!