Instagram showcases what your neighbor had for dinner. Facebook details the life of your 9th-grade best friend. Snapchat shares pieces of an evolving story – but only for a second, and texts have all but eliminated the need for actual phone conversation. With all of this, is lack of communication still a “thing”? When it comes to patient communication, it is.
Benefits of Dental Patient Communication
The benefits of patient communication have been extolled time and again, but understanding what you should do and actually doing it are two very different things (refer to that exercise bike turned clothes hanger). Sometimes the very concept of patient communication can be overwhelming. Does your practice need a formal plan? How much is too much? You talk to patients regularly – is that enough? So, like the personal training session you got last Christmas, the idea remains on the peripheral but nothing really comes of it.
The key to implementing anything new, whether it’s an exercise plan or a patient communication strategy, is to break it down into digestible pieces (we’re talking donut hole, not the entire cake). To help you in this effort, we’ve highlighted a few opportunities for patient communication that you might not currently be leveraging.
5 Ways to Communicate with Dental Patients
Here are a five types of patient communications you may not be leveraging to improve your recall campaigns:
1. Appointment reminders by text.
According to survey data published by DentistryIQ, 55% of patients (including dental patients) prefer text communications by healthcare providers. So, for short communications of an immediate nature beyond appointment reminders, using text messaging factors into brand reputation by delivering information where many patients prefer to consume information.
2. Post-procedure instructions.
When patients can’t recall post-procedure instructions, their oral healthcare can suffer, and according to studies published by the National Library of Medicine, “Patients do not recall as much advice and agreed actions about future dental care as dentists believe they have discussed.” Sending post-procedure instructions shows patients you have their best oral healthcare in mind, which strengthens patient loyalty and recall campaigns.
3. Practice improvements or changes.
Have you added a new staff member? Are you now accepting new insurance plans? Have you added new dental equipment? Letting patients know that you invest in your dental practice lets them know you’re invested in their best dental care, which improves recall campaigns by incentivizing patients to return.
4. Unused dental insurance reminders.
When patients don’t fully use their dental insurance, they lose money by not fully utilizing benefits for which they’re paying. Sending patient reminders about unused dental insurance is good customer service that helps patients make the most of their hard-earned money, and customer service pays. As recently noted by HubSpot, “89% of companies with ‘significantly above average’ customer experiences perform better financially than their competitors.”
5. Birthday greetings.
Everyone loves receiving a “Happy Birthday” message, but before you send them, step back to consider how you send them. Yes, emails are fast and cost-effective, and may seem the right format if you buy into the “old school” notion that nobody sends actual cards any longer. Yet that’s exactly the point. Because fewer people now send physical messages, the sheer uniqueness and tangibility of things like postcards has new appeal. If they didn’t, Marie Claire wouldn’t have written in 2020, “Thanks to millennials and Gen Z, the incredibly analog business is experiencing a rebirth.” In other words, to improve recall campaigns, you may want to zig while competing practices are zagging.
Dental Patient Communication Matters
Sending consistent and varied patient communications beyond appointment reminders helps recall campaigns perform better, yet they do demand time. For this reason, more dental practices use automated patient communications to save staff time and maintain efficiency while ensuring optimal reach and impact for recall campaigns.
Also mentioned at the start, there are now many channels to reach out to patients, from email and social media to direct mail and text messaging, and each have their pros and cons. To help you better target your recall campaigns:
>> Download our free infographic – Effective Patient Communications
Providing key channels, benefits, drawbacks, and what they’re used for, our infographic acts as an easy checklist on how to utilize various communication channels to effectively reach more patients.
Here’s to your practice success.