Using patient recall and reactivation programs to boost patient returns

The beginning of a new year is a good time to focus on getting patients back in the door through a patient recall effort. According to CDA Endorsed Program Intuit Demandforce, keeping existing patients coming back is almost 10 times less expensive than attracting new ones.

“Chances are they will be happy to come back for a visit — all they need is a friendly reminder,” said Annie Tsai, Demandforce chief marketing officer. “Patient recall efforts are often overlooked, but can be extremely efficient and easy ways to keep your chairs full and your patients happy.”

Active patient recall can be important to increase revenue and to demonstrate to patients that the dentist truly cares about their continuing oral health. Whether patients are overdue for a checkup, have not booked their next multiple-treatment appointment or have an unscheduled annual teeth cleaning, there are many important considerations to keep in mind when planning a strategy for patient recall.

First and foremost, going through an entire patient base can be a daunting and overwhelming task. According to Demandforce, many practices have found online systems with automated patient reactivation communications to be helpful tools. These programs help identify patients the dental office needs to reach out to, creates the messages to send and some even allow for targeted and customized communications.

Additionally, dentists can change the way in which they deliver this message. For example, if they do not have a patient’s email address, or they do not respond to an email communication, the practice can always follow up with a phone call or a postcard mailing.

“Once you have identified who to reach out to and how you want to reach them, crafting an engaging message is crucial,” Tsai said. “Make sure whatever communication you choose to send out has important information readily available, so that once your patient is reminded that they need to schedule an appointment, it is a cinch for them to do so.”

If a practice is sending out a postcard, the office’s contact and scheduling information should be front and center. If the communication is via email and the practice has an online appointment-scheduling tool, include it in the email so the patient can schedule an appointment with one click.

“Regardless of how you go about it, patient reactivation is an important part of any dental practice’s marketing, retention and engagement strategy,” Tsai said. “It can help drive revenue to your practice, keep your chairs full and ensure that your patients are getting the care they need.”

Intuit Demandforce, a CDA Endorsed Program, is an automated marketing and communications system that specializes in patient recall. For more, visit demandforce.com/cda. Exclusive pricing for all CDA members.