Times change and so must we on this one. The traditional way of scheduling patients or clients for their bi-annual or annual check-up was to send a card telling them it was time for them to call in and made an appointment. A very loosey goosey method with a lot of lost business.
Then came computers and scheduling patients or clients for their next visit before they left the practice and then a card would be sent out reminding them closer to the time. Still lots of lost business. Next came phone calls to remind the folks of their upcoming pre-set appointments. Lots of messages left and lots not returned. Also, a lot of staff time chewed up leaving all these messages and talking to the patient or client on the phones.
Fast forwarding to present time, we have seen another evolution … texting and emailing to get people confirmed for their already set up appointments. A lot of the software systems available have this system built in for automatic email and/or text reminders with a required answer back of “C” (for confirmed). (If no reply, the staff would then have to resort to other methods.) Gone is the expense of mailing cards and the time involved in that too. HUGE time saver for the front desk staff, thus freeing them to do marketing and other important duties.
As a patient, I FAR prefer not to have a phone call reminding me. I don’t always check messages on the voice mail. I am a busy person and like to just look at the text (or email) from my healthcare provider and reply “C” and send it back. Done. No interruptive phone calls. No conversations.
There will always be those people who don’t text or have email who you will have to phone, but nowadays those are really few and far between (probably less than 10% of your patient base).
If you’re not up-to-date on this, you might want to check into it.
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