Ideally, this is how things go; you see a patient a few times and give dental treatment that meets their needs. You suggest they book a subsequent appointment with your receptionist on their way out. They never do – and they have stayed away forever.
Most dental practices have many patients in their database the staff hasn’t seen in a long while. These people tumble off the calendar for some various reasons – probably missed an appointment and never rescheduled, found another dentist or perhaps their insurance changed. Regardless of the reason, these patients represent untapped numbers for your practice.
So how do you make the best of these exploits and be ahead in today’s competitive dental market?
Identify inactive patients
Go through your patients’ records and create a database of patients who haven’t shown up at least for the last 18 months but no more than 36 months – patients beyond this period are unlikely to return.
Find a captivating reason to contact inactive patients
Making a simple “courtesy call” isn’t going to make a major impact other than providing an easy way out for the client to tell you they are fine and hang up. To avoid this scenario, create a captivating reason for your call that also plays as an incentive for patients to return. This will show how professional and caring you are as well as boost your confidence when phoning the clients.
Offer an incentive such as free oral exam just to check if anything has changed since the patient’s last visit. This approach is very likely to convince the clients to come for your services.
Be ready for objections
People are different and not all of them are likely to give in to your proposal. Therefore, be prepared to carefully respond to clients who’ll respond negatively, and make them recognize the prerequisite and value of your current service.
Script your call
Write down the key message points to communicate to the client. Focus on things such as the patient’s oral health, their updated contact information, and their availability for appointment. Make sure to train your staff to follow the script accordingly.
Follow up with the available channels
There are chances that not every client will respond to your first call. Create standardized messages to send to those clients that you are able to reach through phone calls, and send the messages via email or letters. There’s a limit on doing this though. Some patients might have changed their contacts thus making it harder to track them down. In such cases, simply remove them from your database and spare the time and effort for potential patients.
Make returning patients feel at home
Once your “lost patients” start to show up in your office, treat them nice and make them feel like kings and queens. Rekindle your relationship with a delightful treat. Inform your staff prior to a returning patient’s visit so they can give them a warm welcome all around. Once the nitty-gritty is over, then dive into the clinical matters and let the patients realize the value of their return.
Finding new patients is tough, however, the right strategy can make the work easier. You might be looking for new clients for your dental practice, yet you may already be having some. Those patients that you treated once or a few times in the past may offer significant returns for your practice. The only thing is getting them back. With the steps highlighted above, you can now reactivate your old patients in a cost-effective and efficient manner.