Every dentist wants to maximise the amount of patients who come back for exams and hygiene sessions but some don’t know where to start.
First you need to make sure you keep all your active patients in the recall ‘loop’ on your practice software.
So make sure you are updating your patient records correctly and consistently.
In the case of SOE/Exact, this involves checking the appropriate recall box after every patient appointment so the software will include the right patients at the right time in your automated recall lists.
If in doubt — get on to your software provider and check it out! Your recalls are your bread and better and you MUST be recalling your patients correctly.
If you find you have dropped some patients from your recall system, lean on your software provider to help you identify these patients and make contact with them.
Of course, the more patients who book their next appointment before leaving your practice the better. This pushes down the number you need to recall.
So set yourself a target recall rate to achieve and test all the enhancements you can in terms of the language you use when encouraging them to rebook, who reminds them to book (make sure the clinician is involved here as patients tend to take more notice of what they say), how you lead them back to reception and so on, in order to nail the most effective system. Remember to measure the outcome of each change you make as you go along.
For those you still have to recall, look at the following:
- Value perception — do your patients appreciate the value of your regular appointments? Often they can appreciate what is being done by a hygienist but it’s likely you’ll have to work harder to make the checks you are making during an exam apparent to them in surgery. You can use a dental exam checklist to show them what you have checked
- What you say when you recall — ‘your next appointment is due’ is not enough! Make sure you include details of the features and benefits of your check-ups and hygiene sessions in your patient communications
- Who recalls — do you have the best person managing your recalls? This is particularly important if you recall system involves a telephone contact(s). It’s worth dedicating someone really great at dealing with your patients to this job
- How they recall — ask your patients how they want to be recalled and do that
- How often they recall — make sure you contact patients to be recalled at least twice, three times ideally
- When they recall — don’t wait until the month they are due to attend
If you would like to discuss how you can maximise your patient recalls further or wish to discuss any other business growth matter, call me on 01249 712074. I’ll be glad to help.
You are also invited to order a copy of my book ‘The Business of Dentistry’, which captures and shares a ‘route map’ for you to follow to create a stronger, more profitable dental business.