Dental Office Hygiene Reactivation Strategy
Dental office hygiene reactivation strategies set the stage for the hygiene schedule. Inconsistent strategies are destined to bring an inconsistent schedule peppered with “holes” each day.
How would you describe your dental office hygiene reactivation strategy? Are you consistent or inconsistent in your efforts? How is your hygiene schedule? Is it solid?
A consistent reactivation strategy will help keep the hygiene schedule hopping in your dental office! You will need to add a little charm to your strategy! However, mix some solid consistency with a little charm, and voila! You have a daily hygiene schedule any dental practice would love!
Is there a secret to solid hygiene reactivation? There are actually several secrets to success here! Here they are! My secrets for your success in maintaining a solid hygiene schedule are no longer secrets!
Dental Office Hygiene Reactivation Requires Consistency
Don’t underestimate the importance of consistency. Dental offices often wait until their hygiene schedules start to fall apart before they start reaching out to unscheduled hygiene patients. I’ve done the same myself. Until I realized just how important the dental hygiene schedule is.
Once I understood the impact of open hygiene appointments, I needed a plan! How could I consistently reach out to unscheduled hygiene patients each month? Where would I start? How could I track it?
Hygiene reactivation was added to my Weekly Management Systems! I had learned with dental office production, to break down my office production goals from monthly goals to weekly goals. I could do the same thing with unscheduled hygiene patients! Take the entire list of unscheduled hygiene patients and tackle this each week in segments.
Dental Office Hygiene Reactivation: Week 1
The first week of each month, I print a list of all unscheduled hygiene patients due that month. The first thing I do is review the list and check insurance frequencies and continuing care settings for all of the patients on that list. I want to be sure before I start making phone calls to patients that I really know what I’m doing! The last thing you want to do is schedule a patient for a hygiene appointment and then have their insurance deny their claim because they needed a few more days before their insurance would cover it!
Look ahead at the hygiene schedule for the month, making note of any hygiene openings. Check before making any calls to schedule patients to see where you might have hygiene appointments available. If you know your patients well, you might already have some ideas on who might want certain dates or times. If you don’t know the patients you are calling well, take a minute when you call to try to establish some idea of their schedules. Getting to know your patients will improve your hygiene schedule.
Scripts For Calling Unscheduled Hygiene
Call patients who are due that month. Now I’m ready to start making calls. What does this script look like? I’m going to give you 2 separate scripts. The first script is what I would say if I am leaving a message either on voicemail or with a person who answers that is not my patient.
- “Hello, This is April @ The Dental Office. I’m calling today for John. If you could please call me when you can. I just have a quick question for you. My number is 888-8888.”
This second script is what I would say when the patient answers the phone.
- “Hello, This is April @ The Dental Office. I’m calling for John. Oh, hi John. How are you today? I am calling because you are not scheduled for your dental hygiene appointment! You are due but I don’t see anything scheduled for you? Would you like a morning or afternoon appointment? “
What if there isn’t a time available that the patient would like for their hygiene appointment? This is where your hygiene call list comes in! Building a strong hygiene call list will save your schedule over and over again! Offer to add your patient to your hygiene call list. Be careful not to call it a cancellation list. Even if your patient calls this list a cancellation list. Some great wording is “I can call you with any schedule changes we might see”.
Dental Office Hygiene Reactivation: Quick Call List
My hygiene call list or short notice call list is simple. You can download a call form here and see what I have used. Create a different sheet for each day of the week, morning or afternoon, and even with a specific hygienist to give you quicker response times! It is easier to fill an open appointment quickly when you can jump to exactly what you need! Go ahead and take a look. You can even download now.
More about the call list. Making notes of the number of appointments offered to patients does help. Sometimes, a patient will ask to be called but then they don’t take any appointment times offered to them. Once I hit the magic number of 5 offered appointments, I will call one last time to let the patient know for now I am going to take the off our call list. Here is a script of how this conversation would go:
“Hello John. I know you had wanted us to call you with appointment times as our schedule changed. It seems our schedules just aren’t lining up. Why don’t we take a break for now. I’ll check back in with you next month and see how things are going. Okay?”
Making notes in the patient’s office journal or field where you can track this is helpful. It is something you want to reference again later.
Additional FREE Downloads For You!
Have you seen the Dental Front Office Library? This password protected page contains special documents of great value to the dental front office team!
All of the free downloads available on my site are inside the library ! Including, a hygiene checklist and even instructions on how to handle short notice reschedules!
Dental Office Hygiene Reactivation: Week 2
The second week of the month, I run a report of all unscheduled hygiene patients who are 30 days overdue. Messages have been left for some of these patients. Hopefully, you are making notes either in an office journal of some kind or you have thought of a system that works for you!
Leave a second message for your patients who have not responded. Your message could be something like this ” Hi John. This is April @ The Dental Office. I am leaving a second message for you. I hope we still have the right number for you. If you could please give me a call back. I’m here at 888-8888.” Tone is very important. A warm invite will surely get John to return your call.
There could also be some surprise guests in this unscheduled list over 30 days! In the craziness of the day in the dental office, things happen. Patients call to reschedule, but then decide they need to call back. Now and then, patients miss appointments and we are unable to reach them. This unscheduled list over 30 days is often the place we stumble across those patients. It’s a great way to keep patients from silently disappearing.
Dental Office Hygiene Reactivation: Week 3
Now as we enter into the third week of the month, you will want to run a report for all unscheduled hygiene patients who are over 60 days due. It is unlikely that you will find any surprises here. In fact, you may wonder if you should even reach out to those patients who haven’t responded to your previous calls. What do you do now?
Try something new! Does your office have small note cards or stationary you could use to send an informal note? Handwriting a personal note to your patient only takes a little time but will make a great impression on your patient. What would you write?
“Hi John. This is April @ The Dental Office. I haven’t been able to reach you by phone and wonder if I have the best phone number for you. I don’t see a hygiene appointment scheduled for you and you are overdue. We would love to hear from you! Could you please give the office a call when you have a minute. Our number is 888-8888.”
Dental Office Hygiene Reactivation: Week 4
It’s the final week of the month now. Run the unscheduled hygiene patients over 90 days report. This is where the cleanup of inactive patients takes place. If you have patients on this list that you have reached out to 3 times, don’t call them again. Just wait for them to return your call.
Inactivate any patients you have not seen in the office over 18 months. It is important to the data base and the office numbers to keep things clean. The unscheduled hygiene list is one of the ways to keep numbers accurate. I don’t necessarily agree that it is a good idea to send a final letter out to patients letting them know you have inactivated their charts or accounts. It could create confusion. Honestly, I recommend clearing their continuing care information and making the account inactive. Don’t archive it. It’s easy to re-activate the account if they call back.
Dental Office Hygiene Reactivation Strategy: Repeat Each Month!
Now that you’ve got the system, just repeat these steps each month! That’s all there is to it. Of course, the trick is to make this strategy part of your life in the dental office and to be consistent. I can’t do that for you, but I can promise that if you follow these steps each and every week of each and every month, your hygiene schedule will improve! When your hygiene schedule improves, you will see changes in every area of your dental practice.
Implementing my dental hygiene reactivation system and consistently applying this method each month will improve your hygiene department! Add some additional checks and balances to this reactivation system and watch your practice grow!