Calling Unscheduled Hygiene Patients Weekly
Calling unscheduled hygiene patients on a weekly basis is important. But I recommend that you break your unscheduled hygiene list into different sections to call each week. And that you pick a day to make those calls. And it’s the same day each week. I like to make these calls on Thursday mornings. And the system I use is my very own Weekly Management Systems . Created for more efficient dental front office days. Your very own Dental Front Desk Membership provides you with access to all the e-books and courses here to support you. Check it out below!!
The first week of the month, call patients who are due that month. And follow along each week with the next group of patients. Like I said, I do this Thursday mornings. I like the morning because it does allow the rest of the day for patients to call back. And it won’t take long to make these calls unless you have a lot of unscheduled patients.
Some experts say this is time-consuming. And even go so far to say that it is a waste of manpower. I totally disagree with that statement. I believe it improves patient relationships. But of course, it has to be done right. Even if you are using automated systems! And you want to use automated reminders. We’ll get to that.
Calling Unscheduled Hygiene Patients Who Are Due Now
What we say and how we say it is everything. Let’s say we reach our first patient on the phone. This patient is due this month. We say, “Hi Mr. Jones. This is April calling from Dr. Brown’s dental office. I won’t keep you. But I need to schedule your hygiene visit. You are due for your hygiene appointment with us this month. Would you prefer morning or afternoon?”
The patient is unable to schedule at this time. Mr. Jones reminds us that he is out of town on business. And he isn’t sure when he will return. It might be another 4-6 weeks. We offer to call him in 6 weeks. “Thank you, Mr. Jones.” I will make a note now to call you again in 6 weeks. Safe travels. We’ll see you soon.” Then just be sure to make a note in his chart that you will call again in 6 weeks. And mark your calendar to do the same.
Now let’s make a call and leave a message. The next call on our list goes to voicemail. “Hi Jane. This is April at Dr. Brown’s dental office. Could you please call us here at 888-8888? We need to schedule an appointment for you. Thank you.” And we leave it at that. If Jane doesn’t call back, she will show up in our call list again next month.
Calling Unscheduled Hygiene Patients, The Second Time
Jump ahead to the next month. Jane did not call to schedule. We try again. And let’s say she answers this time. “Hi Jane. This is April calling from Dr. Brown’s dental office. I’m so glad I reached you. I need to schedule your hygiene visit. You are a little overdue for your hygiene visit. Would you prefer morning or afternoon?”
Hopefully we can schedule her. If she cannot make an appointment, we want to make a note explaining why. And offer to call her when the time is right for her. But sometimes, the time she wants isn’t available. So, we can put her on our call list. And promise to work on getting her into the schedule.
A second message can be left for Jane. It’s important not to sound pushy here. A little concern is okay though. “Hi Jane. This is April at Dr. Brown’s dental office. I hope you are doing well. If you could please, give us a call soon. I do need to schedule an appointment for you.” And again, you want to make a note that a message was left again.
Calling Unscheduled Hygiene Patients, The Third Time
Yes, we move to the next month. And you may have patients you have left 2 messages for. Still, they have not called you back. Should you try again. By all means, yes! Some people don’t even listen to their voicemail. But keep your tone polite and sincere. Leave a similar message that you did the previous month. And don’t worry. Just make a note of the third attempt.
But don’t give up yet! I make a call when a patient is due. Then again at 30 days over. Follow that when the patient is 60 days overdue. And finally at 90 days overdue. If by that time the patient is still unscheduled, I give it a rest. Most likely, your patient is preoccupied with other things. And most likely they are not going anywhere else. Something is happening in their life. And they need some time.
Notes are also nice. Note cards are always nice to send at the 90 day mark too. Write a personal note to say hi. And ask your patient to call the office because you have been unable to reach them. Maybe draw a smiley face. And then give them some space.
Inactivate After 18 Months
I don’t believe in calling patients forever. And there are dental practice coaches and consultants who do. But I do believe we need to track and keep our data base clean. And that we also need to focus on patients who want appointments now. Those who want to wait can certainly wait. And the practice will be there for them when they are ready. They most likely are not going anywhere. They just need some time.
After 18 months, inactivate their account. Clear the patient’s continuing care setting and inactivate the chart. Don’t archive it, or make it go away. Most likely, the patient will call soon enough to schedule. Trust me! But you want to know when they do call, that it’s been 18 months at least. And you will see this at a glance if the account is inactive.
It’s also a good idea to clear out the insurance information. This way, you will also be prompted to update information when they do call back to reschedule. Keep their email, address, and phone numbers active. Just remember to update all of their account information when they call.
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Automated Systems Will Continue to Reach Out
Keep the automated system reminders turned on. Unless your patient has opted out, you can continue with email and text reminders. These automated reminders that they are overdue take no work on your part. And patients may respond to a text or email reminder after hours. They might even explain why they haven’t called back.
Lighthouse is my favorite automated system! And it will be yours too! You can schedule your FREE demo today. Your patients will love it too! And it can even help you fill open appointment times. Check it out!