5 Ways Dental Practices Can Benefit from Two Way Text Messaging with Patients

For AGES now dental practices have been communicating with patients mainly by phone. Patients call in to schedule, the front staff calls to confirm appointments and to collect balances, along with insurance issues, follow up conversations, and treatment plan information.

THIS IS CHANGING. It’s shifting in all age groups that they would rather be contacted by text message. Why? Maybe they don’t recognize the number, they are busy and just want to get to the point, or they are AVOIDING you for whatever that reason may be. The New York Times reports that 30 percent of voicemails sit for 3 day before getting checked, and get this, 20 percent of Americans reported they don’t check it at all!

How is this impacting your dental practice if you do not have a 2 way text messaging system in place?
Your schedule is falling apart because of unconfirmed appointments
There’s an increase in outstanding collections due to not being able to reach the patient
Your front office staff is spending countless hours on the phone this is unnecessary
Insurance verification is consuming your time while they are looking for their card, wait to update when they arrive, or worse, your staff has to “call around” to try to find their policy.

There are multiple statistics that support, a text message is much more effective than a phone call. Forbes says that 95 percent of texts are read within 3 minutes of being sent! That is huge!

How can your dental office benefit from a two way text messaging system

Generate inbound calls rather than the staff having to chase down a patient.
With your front desk team member sending out the text, they can let the patients know that their correspondence is needed, what the reason is, and leave contact information.

Receive support after they have left the office
When it comes to paper education materials or even referring patients to an online source, it is highly unlikely that they actually can find it, remember it, and keep up with the materials moving forward. Having a text message leaves a permanent source for them to refer back to time and time again.

Increase compliance, lower reschedule rate
This is especially important for patients who take prophylactic antibiotics prior to dental treatment. We know that there are many who cannot remember to take the medications or to call and have them refilled before their appointment date. You could easily solve this situation with texts, then have a phone call follow up if needed.

Gain positive referrals and reviews
Texting is more intimate than a phone call. All healthcare and dental practices use the phone to take care of business, and patients are fully aware. But, by having a system in place that they know is not auto generated, helps to build rapport and gain a sense of compassion from you as a provider. In return, this will be a unique experience that will set you a part from other competitors technologically and culturally.

Office Hours and Holiday schedules
Weather events are typically the most common reason that a dental office closes its doors, but there are other scenarios such as a fill in employee (dentist, hygienist, etc.) is a no show, or a family emergency occurs, along with other factors such as plumbing issues, electrical outages, etc. This is a wonderful opportunity where texting is optimal.

Not only does this reduce the frustration of your staff, but also keeps down those angry patients who show up ready to change providers because of the inconvenience they have been caused. Don’t forget, you can even remind you patients about your holiday schedules and even when their benefits are about to run out!

All of these benefits feed into increasing profits and maximizing the work day on a daily basis. No shows and cancellations are reduced with the ability to fill the schedule, you are more likely to collect outstanding payments that otherwise have to be written off, and you get the greatest compliment of all, 5 star experiences that lead to sustainable growth.

Modento offers two way texting along with many other features, including a patient loyalty program, that are bundled into one turnkey application especially for dental practices and groups. When put into place, many aspects are set to grow without having to constantly change and re implement other software to make the office seamless.