3 steps to more meaningful and effective practice communication

Increase your patient engagement

Dentists know that a great patient experience is not just about the treatments and services provided.

Having a dedicated front desk team, who provide personalised and professional customer service, makes patients feel valued as well as increasing their loyalty to your practice.

But what many dentists forget is that patients actually engage with your practice long before they step inside: when they search for you online and when they receive appointment reminders.

With this in mind, optimising your communication and engagement strategies with patients outside your practice is key.

How to engage with your patients outside their appointment time

Investing in your practice’s online presence is vital to maximise appointments booked – become available 24/7 by simply implementing an online booking tool!

Once patients have found you online and scheduled an appointment, tapping into a more optimised and personalised appointment reminder system will boost the quality of your patient’s experience – and the success of your practice.

From our consistent analysis of top-performing dental practices around the world, here are three things you can do today to optimise your patient engagement:

1. Use a combination of recall mediums: email, SMS, & phone call

Following up with patients is vital, and ensures that treatment plans are followed-through and regular check-ups are booked.

Strategizing how your practice communicates with patients is vital to ensure a positive response to patient recalls and appointment reminders.

Across our surveys of dental practice management, the practices that saw the highest rate of success were following a 3 x 3 method:

  • 3 x 3: send 3 appointment reminders, use 3 types of communication:

Combining and scheduling patient recall methods unlocks maximum patient engagement.

Instead of only using one method of patient recall, combine email, SMS, and phone calls to prompt patients to book their appointments – and to issue an appointment reminder if they are already booked in.

Patients are more likely to respond, and book, when reminded in a number of ways that appeal to their convenience.

The results speak for themselves: practices using this patient recall system all had over 75% of patients rebooking.

2. Book on-departure

Make the most of your patient’s time by booking their follow-up as they leave their current appointment.

It’s as easy as “would you like your next appointment in the morning or the afternoon?”, appealing to your patient’s convenience and making sure their treatment plan is carried out within the best timeframe.

As well as filling up your calendar, you’re helping patients stick to their treatment plans to prevent dental problems and improve oral health outcomes.

Here are some more tips on how to introduce a book on-departure procedure into your practice. CTA: recall effectiveness article

3. Introduce online booking

Patient engagement is more than just outbound communication; it’s ensuring your practice is available at all times to book an appointment.

With this in mind, it’s important to think about how easy it is for patients to get in touch with you and respond to appointment reminders.

As we expect hotels and retailers to be available 24/7 online – consumers are starting to expect the same availability from healthcare providers.

As dentistry becomes more and more competitive, it’s vital that practices invest in their online presence and offer online booking.

Your round-the-clock receptionist

A Henry Schein One survey of practices showed that a staggering 44% of calls within opening hours went unanswered.

Practices that introduced online booking to alleviate their front desk saw a dramatic shift in appointment booking, as 47% of their appointments came from the new online feature.

Consider those unanswered calls as potential appointments – online booking is your 24/7 admin support.

By alleviating front desk staff and allowing patients to schedule their check-ups without waiting on hold, online booking ensures constant engagement.

Automation: revolutionising patient engagement

With automated dental software, these three steps are seamlessly embedded into your practice management procedures.

Henry Schein One’s dental software allows dentists and their practice team to optimise patient engagement:

  • Automated patient recalls:
    Our software sends your patient recalls automatically, ensuring that every patient receives consistent communication about their follow-ups.
  • On-departure appointment reminders:
    When your patient reports to reception to pay, our software prompts front desk staff to follow a consistent best-practice departure procedure: including checking patient contact details and scheduling their next appointment.
  • Streamlined workflow:
    Automation underpins patient engagement. By alleviating staff from monotonous admin tasks so they can focus on providing the highest quality of customer service to your patients.

It’s time to optimise your appointment reminders! Talk to us today.

Last Updated on 7 January 2021

Set your dental practice up for success