Of all the systems that keep a dental practice more up to date and efficient, the recall (or recall) of the patient is what separates success from the failure of an activity.
The ideal dental recall campaign can prevent and deal with problems that, when not treated, normally involve emergency appointments. Keeping current patients is less expensive than attracting new ones. Because you have patient information and know the services they need, it is much easier to effectively market existing patients.
Not only is it economical to implement, but creating and following a strategic recall campaign can result in a lot of extra money for your practice. However, many dental practices remain stuck in a recall routine, leaving patients without information and many potential revenues on the table.
Three ways to win over patients
There are two types of patients in the medical field:
- There is the preselected patient – the responsible patient who plans the follow-up appointments at the end of each cleaning or procedure.
- Then there is the unplanned patient who has forgotten to plan his next appointment.
These two types obviously require a very different recall of health marketing strategies. Before going into the details of each, there are some basic principles to follow that apply to any dental recall campaign, ie the message, the medium and the timing.
The call to action for recall campaigns might seem simple: make an appointment or don’t miss an appointment. However, persuading people to take action requires more nuances, particularly for unplanned patients, to clearly communicate why they would benefit from taking and keeping an appointment.
People do things only if they know what they are getting – a bright smile, friendly staff, 10% discount on cosmetic work, cavity prevention. Think personal, not prescriptive. If a patient feels considered, it is much more likely to keep coming back.
Recall communication should always balance a sense of urgency with a feeling of community .
Effective recall campaigns use multiple communication methods (telephone, e-mail, flyers, ordinary mail). What works for one patient may not work for everyone.
People generally require six to eight touches before acting . In other words, they must be contacted (touched) at least half a dozen times before making an appointment.
By spreading your messaging on different channels, patients are more likely to remember to make an appointment. Different means also reduce the risk of patients experiencing a sort of fatigue due to recall .
Within an optimal Healthcare Marketing strategy , timing is all about patient recall.
You have to play your game by sending reminders well in advance . However, you also need to balance a short strategic game with texts and emails. Learn the right days, as well as the best moments of the day, to send a reminder: it’s a decisive factor that can make you have a certain appointment or an annoyed patient.
When you start planning your strategy, remember that patients are human. They have good intentions, but they are also fighting with a series of daily commitments and unforeseen events. Patients need a series of reminders that add value without adding stress.
Likewise, you also need a system that minimizes effort and maximizes conversions , such as creating a timeline with personalized messages for both scheduled and unplanned patients. Doing all this in advance reduces the pressure on what to say and when to say it.
Set goals for your dental program
Take a step back before jumping to updating planning templates and sending appointment reminders. Focus on what you plan to accomplish. From there, set a simple goal for your patient program.
Your program should increase cost efficiency while reducing stress for staff. The easiest way to measure progress is to set an average daily production target that can reach monthly or annual goals.
Just divide your monthly or annual production target by the total number of working days (complete or partial) during that period. Depending on your growth plan, it aims for 10-15% growth compared to the previous month or year .
This number allows your office to manage a guide light. It allows them to balance routine procedures, such as free cleaning and consultation, with high ticketing procedures, such as root canals or periodontal surgery. Your growth number also helps indicate the time spent in the office. In essence, it provides greater clarity to your bottom line.
Examples of dental recall campaigns for programmed patients
Reminder n. 1
Messaging: Include an engaging photo of your office or team. This is also an excellent opportunity to grow your personal branding.
Times: 6 weeks before the appointment
Reminder n. 2
Medium: email or phone call
Message: let the patients know that their appointment is just around the corner (eg “A week before cleaning!”)
Times: 1 week before the appointment
Reminder n. 3
message Message: send a confirmation message for the friendly appointment (“We can’t wait to see your smile tomorrow!”)
Times: 24 hours before the appointment
Examples of dental recall campaigns for unplanned patients
Reminder n. 1
Post: send an engaging photo of your healthcare facility and your team, the phone number and clear instructions on how to schedule an appointment.
Time: 8 weeks before the appointment (if it was planned)
Reminder n. 2
Message: include a personalized message about the importance of cleaning and include a link to your online planning portal.
Time: 3 weeks before the appointment (if it was planned)
Reminder n. 3
Message: communicate a sense of urgency and inform the patient that it is possible to get an appointment as soon as possible (“We have a hole for tomorrow afternoon. Plan your cleaning now!”)
Times: 24 hours before the appointment (if it was planned)
Subliminal Recall Marketing
However, patient recall is not limited to an email, text or phone call sent directly to a patient. It is impossible to talk about the perfect recall campaign without tackling all the subtle marketing that helps keep patients involved.
Support your primary recall campaigns with some subliminal marketing strategies such as:
- Special offers or discounts by mail
- Post on seasonal social media that promotes cleaning (back-to-school, weddings, vacations)
- Newsletter via e-mail every six months with office updates
- Electronic or postal greeting cards that thank your patients
This holistic approach to patient recall strengthens your message without patients feeling spammed. Everything returns to that balance between urgency and appreciation. Patients should feel obligated to act – to make or keep an appointment – because you have created a timely sense of value around the appointment.