I often hear from my dentist clients that they worry that they are losing “the personal touch” when automating their patient communication with e-communication tools like email and text message appointment reminders. Good customer service certainly requires personalization, but the reality is that technology can actually improve your patient communication.
Patient reminder systems like Sesame 24-7, DemandForce and Patient Activator save the practice time and energy by syncing with practice management software to automatically confirm appointments via email and text messaging. Many services can also help with other internal marketing tasks such as sending birthday cards, creating newsletters, promoting special offers, reaching out to dormant patients, or soliciting feedback and reviews. Using services like this can help reduce no-shows, shorten average recall times, build patient loyalty and even help boost case acceptance – and production.
Successful e-communication comes down to implementation. Maintain a personal touch by calling patients the first time you send the email appointment reminder to confirm they received the email and even offer to walk them through the confirmation process if needed. They’ll appreciate the convenience of email communication & the personal phone call shows you care enough to help them walk through the new process.
Also, be sure to give patients the ability to opt out of electronic communication. Some patients will never grow out of wanting a postcard reminder, but don’t assume that someone’s age necessarily determines their technology-savvy. The fastest growing group of Internet users today are 55 and older!
If you are still worried about losing that personal connection with patients, consider the time and expense involved every time you make ten appointment confirmation calls, mail out a batch of recall cards or create a newsletter. Using technology to automate these processes frees up the front desk to take part in truly personal communications like sending handwritten thank you notes to patients who refer, interacting with patients on social media and spending more time with patients and prospective patients both on the phone and face to face.
Patients not only want their dentist to be a “good dentist,” but also to be someone who truly cares. Utilizing e-communication tools makes consistent patient communication – with a personal touch – easier than ever before.