If your office is worried about how to tackle dental patient reactivation, we’re here to help!
Have you noticed an increase in cancelations or missed appointments when running office analytics? Are you wondering why your inactive patient list is growing? There are many reasons why patients become inactive. Some lose dental insurance through job changes. Other patients miss an appointment or two and become embarrassed to call and reschedule. Life gets busy, and sometimes, people simply forget to make hygiene appointments.
If you want to focus on gaining business back from inactive patients, it’s important to have a game plan. How do you determine which dental patient reactivation methods will work best? Some previous patients will respond better to different types of outreach.
The first step you should take is to create a list of targeted patients.
To do this, run a report of those who are past due for their recall appointments within the past 12 months. You’ll also want to target anyone who missed an appointment in the middle of a treatment plan. Once you understand who your lost patients are, you’ll better know how to approach them. Here are six different methods for reactivating patients.
Write and send direct mailings
Direct mailings can be a great way to reach out to a bulk of patients in one attempt. Using paper with a letterhead from your practice, craft a professional letter reminding inactive patients that it has been some time since their last office visit.
Next, remind them of why regular dental care is so important.
Finally, it’s time to get specific. List the names of each patient in the household and also the last day they were seen in the office. If they are due for any follow-up treatments, be sure to list the treatment type they need to schedule. Here’s an example of wording you could include in your mailing:
Our records indicate that you are overdue for your dental cleaning. We understand how busy life can be, but we want to make sure you remain in good dental health, so we hope to see you soon.
Call us at (xxx) xxx-xxxx, and we will schedule your checkup as soon as possible.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Pick up the phone
Consider allocating 15 minutes a day – or even just 15 minutes a week – to reaching out to inactive patients personally. You might consider starting with any patients who are in the middle of their treatment plans and then move on to those needing hygiene appointments. This call can easily be scripted. Just be sure to personalize it so that patients don’t consider the call to be spammy. Try this fill-in-the-blanks script on your next call.
Good afternoon, (Patient’s Name)! (Dr.’s Name) was reviewing records and realized that your last examination/treatment was in January of last year. We’re concerned about your dental health and would love to have you back in the office. Can I schedule an appointment with you right now?
Embrace email blasts
Why spend the money on mailings to inactive patients that haven’t been to the practice in over two years or weren’t in the best standing after missing appointment after appointment? Instead, target them with an email campaign. When emailing your patients, keep the message light and brief. Try this for your dental patient reactivation blast:
Time flies when you’re having fun! It’s been a while since we’ve seen you in the office, so you must be having a great time. We’d love to see your smile soon. Please call us at (xxx) xxx-xxxx to schedule your next appointment. Until we see you, we hope you stay healthy and happy.
Type up a text message
Text messaging is a great way to quickly and succinctly reconnect with your patients. It’s perfect for getting the attention of your clientele, and because it doesn’t waste any paper, it’s good for the environment, too! Here’s an example of a quick text you could send:
“We miss seeing your smile! Call the office at (xxx) xxx-xxxx to schedule your next dental appointment.”
However, if you plan on using this function, make sure you’re following the TCPA guidelines by asking your patients to opt-in to the text message feature.
Start a dental practice newsletter
Creating a company newsletter is not only good for marketing, but it’s very helpful regarding dental patient reactivation. If you’ve never drafted a newsletter before, you might be wondering what to include. Here are a few ideas of newsletter-relevant information:
- new techniques and procedures available
- any financing options available
- continuing education programs you and your hygienists have completed
- dental office upgrades
- random, but relevant dental facts
Send an end-of-year benefits postcard
Do you send an end-of-year benefits letter to all of the patients in your practice? Many patients take advantage of employer-sponsored benefits, such as Flexible Spending Accounts, and many might forget to use the funds they’ve set aside for health and wellness. Every October, send a postcard mailing that reminds all patients to schedule any last minute treatments before the calendar year ends. Here’s some wording you can use:
Time is ticking down until this year ends. Have you utilized all of your dental benefits? If you’re looking to schedule an appointment before year end, we’d love to see you. Reach out to our office today at (xxx) xxx-xxxx!
If you don’t want to worry about dental patient reactivation, you can plan ahead to capture your patients before they become inactive.
Try to schedule all of your patients for their next appointment, whether it be a six-month exam or a follow-up in the series of treatments, before they leave the building. If a patient is unable to schedule before leaving, flag him immediately for follow up. Be proactive and call, email, or send letters reminding your patients to schedule their next appointment within a month of their previous appointment.
While you’re busy reaching out to inactive patients, Umbie can help you streamline every corner of your office. Sign up for a demo of Umbie and learn about how we can manage appointment scheduling, treatment planning, imaging, patient management, employee management, billing, and reporting. Yes, we can do all that.