What is an Automated Appointment Reminder System?
In the past, dental practices would make manual calls to each patient to remind them of their upcoming appointments, but modern technology makes it easy to automate this system while still providing dedicated patient care. With an appointment reminder system, you can customize your messaging and then send reminders out at certain intervals, like the week before an appointment and the preceding day. A good system will also give you the ability to choose how patients receive these messages, so patients can choose from emails, texts, phone calls, and postcards to find the channel that works best for their schedule.
What is the Purpose of Appointment Reminder Systems?
There are many benefits of having an automated appointment confirmation system. Here are 5 benefits that you should be aware of:
Increase Patient Satisfaction
In the modern world, everyone is inundated with tasks, meetings, and never-ending chores. Trying to juggle the necessities of modern life is stressful in and of itself, so dental offices need to ensure they’re minimizing stress for their patients. Text messaging is a quick and easy way to remind patients of their appointment, and 80% of surveyed patients in a recent Hanover Research Study prefer a text message over a phone call, and text messages have an average response time of 90 seconds. Sending a SMS appointment reminder shows you care about your patients’ time and increases their satisfaction with your services!
Open Communication Before Each Appointment
Another way to increase patient satisfaction is to show you care about your concerns. Most SMS appointment reminder services, including ProSites, allow for two-way communications, so patients can respond with any questions or concerns they have. This makes rescheduling appointments quick and easy, and it also allows you to save time at the start of each appointment by answering questions beforehand.
Reduce No Shows and Add New Appointments
The most obvious benefit of an SMS appointment reminder service is reducing no-shows. With a busy schedule, it can be easy for patients to forget about an upcoming appointment, especially if they scheduled it months in advance. By sending reminders before each appointment, you avoid no shows and fully optimize your business. On average, dentists that choose ProSites add 2.5 appointments per day, save over 40 hours a month on patient communications, and earn $50 back for every dollar they spend with us (a 5000% ROI)! Optimizing your patient communications makes a huge impact on your practice, allowing you to increase revenue and focus on what matters: your patients.
Go Above and Beyond for Families
If you focus on family or pediatric dentistry, having an SMS appointment reminder system is a must! Busy parents are constantly juggling appointments for their kids, and it can be easy to lose track of who goes to the dentist when. ProSites’ family messaging consolidates reminders into one text, making it easier for parents to streamline their calendar for the entire family.
Support Ongoing Treatment Plans
Even yearly checkups can be hard to remember, so ongoing treatments require more frequent communication. For your patients who need a series of treatments, you can use your SMS appointment reminders to schedule new appointments throughout the process. This saves time for your office staff and makes it simple for patients to keep up to date on their treatment plans.
Launch Your Own Successful Benefits Reminder Campaigns
Begin by reaching out to all insured patients with an email or text message. Allow 7-10 days for patient to call in and schedule. If no response, send a postcard. REMEMBER to contact patients using the method(s) they prefer. For example, don’t text a patient who has opted out of your texts or send an email to someone who has unsubscribed. According to the ADA, 53% of the U.S. population have dental insurance.
Common appointment reminder software features
Most automated appointment reminder software includes a number of features to help keep dentists’ schedules full. These features may include:
- Automatic reminders are sent to patients prior to their appointments, either through email, text message, or phone call
- A patient self-service portal where patients can reschedule or cancel appointments online
- Automated appointment reminders that are personalized for each patient, based on their past appointments and preferences
Having these features in place can be a huge help in ensuring that dentists’ schedules remain full and that patients are reminded of their appointments well in advance.
Questions to Ask When Looking Into an Automated Appointment Reminder System Like ProSites
Will your system work with my practice management software?
Ask this question first, as it’s vital that any recare system be compatible with your existing practice management system. And while you’re at it, confirm all the technical requirements to ensure that the product will run on your network.
How does your system meet the specific needs of dental offices?
Some automated recare systems are developed for all health-care practices. The approach is generic to accommodate various branches of medicine. But dental marketing—which recare is—is a much different discipline than marketing to cardio patients and expectant mothers. Dental patients have their own needs and concerns, as do dentists. For the best results, go with a system specifically designed for dental practices by a company that knows the industry.
How can I measure the volume of new business generated by your system?
Some automated recare systems obscure their results—or lack thereof—by tracking all new appointments made, regardless of whether the system prompted them or not. Ask the provider if the product tracks the number of new appointments it generates, along with the response rate to the various communications it sends out.
What if your system does not perform as promised?
Whether you are dealing with a lab or an equipment vendor, you want accountability if a supplier fails to deliver what was promised. Is your satisfaction guaranteed? How will the provider respond if results are lackluster or the system has technical flaws? If you are dissatisfied with the answers you get, keep shopping.
I am missing email addresses for some patients and mobile numbers for others. How will your system reach all of my patients?
Some systems offer limited methods of communication, such as texts or emails only. If you are missing email addresses or mobile numbers for patients, the recare system won’t reach them. Be sure to choose a system that employs all means of communication, including phone calls, text messages, emails, and postcards.
Can I customize patients’ records to accommodate their preferences for type, frequency, and timing of communications?
Every dental practice and every patient is different. You have your own needs and preferences, as do your patients. Millennials may prefer texts, whereas seniors may prefer phone calls. Some patients want just one appointment reminder, while others need several. Look for a system that is flexible enough to meet your patients’ needs as well as your practice’s.
Is your system user-friendly?
Ease of use is one of those overused technology terms we’ve been hearing for decades. To find out if a system is truly easy to use, request a demo and try some specific routine tasks. For instance, ask how your staff would send a recare email featuring smile makeovers to all female patients 40 years and older who have not visited the practice for more than two years.
My staff has neither the time nor the skill set to design effective recare messages and campaigns. How does your system address this issue?
There is more to automated recare than meets the eye. Eliciting a positive response from dental patients requires marketing know-how. Your office manager or front desk person would need to know what to say to whom, when and how often to say it, and through what communication channels. Understanding demographics is also required. Rather than put your staff through mental gymnastics just to send out an appointment reminder, look for a system with prebuilt marketing campaigns based on proven best practices for dentists.
What are your support and training policies?
This is the time to read the fine print. Find out what the provider’s training and support policies are. How are your staff to be trained? What are the support hours? How often is the system updated with feature enhancements? Are there additional costs?
What are your pricing plans, and which services are included?
Here you can do some comparison shopping on price. Be on the lookout for hidden fees and add-on services. It’s also important to ensure that the services included are a good fit for your practice. In the long run, paying for something your team doesn’t need or won’t use is never a bargain, regardless of the cost.
Will I be locked into a contract?
Like many technology companies, recare vendors are fond of contracts because they protect their own revenues while doing absolutely nothing for their customers. Try to find a contract-free provider so you don’t get stuck with unsatisfactory service. If there is a contract, read the fine print and ask the provider’s sales rep or legal department to explain in writing any unclear points.
Can I talk to some of your dental office users?
Don’t be shy about asking for references. Contact a few of the provider’s current users and find out how the product is working for them. Ask pointed questions: find out what they like and dislike about the system, what they wish they could improve, and, above all else, if it has increased their active patient base.
Try ProSites Today
Appointment reminder systems are a valuable tool to keep your business running smoothly. By providing customers with appointment reminders, you can minimize no-shows and ensure that appointments start on time. Automated appointment reminder systems make the process even easier by sending reminders via text or email. If you’re looking for a reliable and easy-to-use appointment reminder system, try ProSites today. With our automated system, you can relax and know that your clients will always be reminded of their appointments.