Be honest: Are you frustrated by your dental practice’s no-show rate?
Despite having your team call and email patients, are you still seeing a higher number of no-shows than you’d like?
If you can’t get a handle on this number, you’ll start compromising more than just your bottom line.
As you’ll see in this guide, there’s a better way to address this all too common issue: using mass texting.
We’ll dive into why every dental practice should be using an SMS service and we’ll even share a sample reminder schedule to help you get started using mass texts.
You’ll also learn how mass text alerts can help you improve your patient satisfaction scores.
So let’s start by jumping into the top reasons your dental office should make the switch to using text messages over phone calls and emails for reminders.
Here’s Why Mass Texting is More Effective for Appointment Reminders
For many dental practices, the standard reminder process involves a call or email to your patients with the date and time of their upcoming appointment.
The problem is these routes aren’t always your best option, as you may have already seen with your no-show numbers.
With Robocalls becoming the norm, many people simply don’t answer phone calls from numbers they don’t recognize anymore.
And while you could leave a voicemail, you would also have to hope your patients are willing to take the time out of their busy days to hear that message, which may not always happen.
Emails don’t fare any better either.
Spam filters and promotional tabs make it difficult for your recipients to even see your reminder come through.
If your appointment email unexpectedly gets flagged as a promotional offer, or worse, spam, your patients may never see it. And that can leave you with a higher no-show rate than you’d like.
Fortunately, there’s a better alternative here: mass texting.
See, most people are attached to their phones. In fact, many Americans over the age of 18 clocks in close to 3 hours of smartphone use each day.
And it’s not only social media that’s eating up their time.
The average person also sends around 32 text messages (varies depending on age) per day, which takes up about 13% of their smartphone time.
Text messages also deliver the highest open rate (at a whopping 99%) which means your reminder messages will no longer go unnoticed.
There’s also a few more reasons why texts are more favorable to reminder calls and emails.
First, they’re a much easier way for customers to stay in touch.
Instead of having to call to cancel or reschedule, they can reply to your message within a minute or less.
This simple convenience can help improve your overall patient satisfaction scores.
Texts are also affordable.
They don’t cost much to use and most people have an unlimited amount included in their phone plans.
Plus, they take less than a minute to read and send, which saves people time.
Some dental practices even discovered that patients were more likely to follow through with their appointment if they received a reminder on their phone.
But the trick to all this working is knowing how to send reminder texts without your patients finding them annoying or obnoxious.
How to Send Mass Text Reminders Without Annoying Your Patients
To strike the right balance when it comes to your dental text reminders, you don’t want to send too many texts or ones too far in advance.
Do this and your patients will start to tune them out or they won’t even remember that they confirmed their appointment.
A good rule of thumb, especially when dealing with cleaning reminders that are once every six months, is to send the first confirmation text 30 days before their appointment.
This gives your patients enough time to check their calendars if they need to reschedule and it also gives your practice a buffer should you need to fill the time slot now.
After the 30-day mark, your next text should remind patients one week before their appointment to ensure their busy schedule didn’t overlap or their appointment time was double-booked.
And finally, your last text reminder should occur 24 hours before their appointment.
The reason for sending one more text is simply because a lot can change in one week.
By knowing this at least 24 hours in advance, your team has the option of taking a last minute appointment or a walk-in to fill the slot instead of losing out on potential revenue.
You could even maximize the time slot by scheduling a staff meeting instead of finding busy work to keep everyone occupied.
Overall, this schedule of three texts tends to offer patients the perfect number of reminders without overdoing it:
- One text 30 days out
- Another one week before the appointment
- And the last one within the 24-hour mark
There’s also one more aspect of your no-show rate mass texting can help fix:
Friendly Text Reminders Can Also Get Patients Back In Your Practice
Have a patient that missed their 6-month cleaning appointment?
Or has it been over a year since one of your patients has come in?
Instead of continuing this dormant cycle, send a text reminder to nudge your patient back into your practice sooner rather than later.
To do this, have your front office team members keep a running Google or Excel spreadsheet of anyone who is overdue for a cleaning but hasn’t scheduled an appointment yet.
Then every so often, such as once a month or every other month, reach out to remind them they are overdue for a visit.
This simple step can help you increase how many patients your practice sees and you’ll keep your patient’s health in tip-top shape, which is a true double win.
Start Using Mass Texting Today
By taking advantage of the speed, efficiency and easy-to-use nature of mass texting, you’ll be able to reduce your dental practice’s no-show rate without having to expend too much effort or money in doing so.
Not only that, mass texts will help your patients keep their dental health a top priority despite their busy schedules, which most people will definitely appreciate.
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