For ages now, dental practices have communicated with patients primarily by phone. Patients call in to schedule an appointment, and the front staff calls to confirm, collect balances, deal with insurance issues and discuss treatment plan information.
This is changing. Most age groups have shifted to preferring text messages over phone calls. Why? They might not recognize the number, are busy and just want to get to the point, or they are avoiding you for whatever reason. The New York Times reports that 30 percent of voicemails sit for three days before getting checked, and get this, 20 percent of Americans reported they don’t check it at all!
How does this impact your dental practice if you don’t have a two-way text messaging system in place?
Your schedule may fall apart because of unconfirmed appointments.
You may experience an increase in outstanding collections if you can’t reach the patient.
Your front office staff could spend countless unnecessary hours on the phone.
Research supports that text messages are more effective than phone calls. According to Zipwhip, 74 percent of cellphone users have no unread text messages — a stark contrast to the number of voicemails that get ignored.
Here’s how your dental office will benefit from a two-way text messaging system.
When your front desk team member sends out texts, they can let the patients know they need to respond, why, and how they can get into contact.
When it comes to paper education materials or referring patients to an online source, chances are low they will find it, remember it, and keep up with the materials moving forward. A text message leaves a permanent source for them to refer back to time and time again.
This is especially important for patients who take prophylactic antibiotics before dental treatment. We know many people have trouble remembering to take the medications or call and have them refilled before their appointment date. You could quickly solve this situation with texts, then have a follow-up call if needed.
Texting is more personal than a phone call. All healthcare and dental practices use the phone to take care of business, and patients are fully aware. However, having a channel patients know isn’t auto-generated helps build rapport and strengthen the patient-provider relationship. It will also offer a unique experience that sets you apart from other competitors technologically and culturally.
There are several reasons a dental office would close its doors temporarily — bad weather, employee no-shows, plumbing issues, holidays, electrical outages, etc. These last-minute changes are perfect opportunities to use two-way texting. Not only does this reduce the frustration of your staff, but it also helps manage angry patients.
All of these benefits feed into increasing profits and maximizing the workday. Reduce no shows and cancellations, re-fill the schedule, collect outstanding payments, and get the greatest compliment of all — five-star experiences that lead to sustainable growth.
Modento is a turnkey app that offers two-way texting and other features — like online scheduling, digital forms, and online payments — designed for dental practices and groups. Once implemented, Modento will grow with your business seamlessly.