Ask any front office personnel in a dental practice what their biggest stresses are during a week, and chances are most will say no-shows and last minute cancelations. The responsibility to keep a schedule full and productive can cause tremendous pressure. A open hygiene appointment today, could mean a open crown appointment next week.
Every office has to deal with patients canceling at the last minute. In a world as hectic as the one we live in it is essential that a practice adapts to the kind of communication a patient is used to using. Our practice was no different. No matter how nice the office looked, or how kind the staff was or how well our hygienist cleaned their teeth- patients still canceled at the last moment or forgot completely.
Now we have had some effective protocols over the years that certainly helped. Calling to “let them know we are looking forward to seeing them,” and explaining that we need 48 hours to cancel an appointment. And the good old fashioned recall cards served their purpose. But something was missing.
I will make an obvious statement: smart phones are everywhere. We all now seem to grasp that concept. What does that mean for a dental practice? It means that a practice needs some way to connect to their patients through this technology. For an increasingly growing portion of the public, it is their main communication source.
For the last few years, we have implemented email and text message reminders using a couple of different services. The result? Amazing! The missing link. Last minute cancelations have dwindled down to almost non existent and no-shows cancelations are far and few in-between. The benefit list is a long one, but a marked difference is the amount of time our front office administrator doesn’t have to spend on scrambling to fill these spots. That means a full productive schedule, with staff who has the time to work on filling the next weeks and months schedule, not tomorrow's.
Recently we have transitioned to a company called RevenueWell. When I first heard about the company, honestly, I didn’t pay much attention because we were already using a service. As an office manager, I didn’t see the need of going through the process of switching from one ‘email/texting’ company to a different one. However, at the urging of Patterson, I made an appointment with the RevenueWell rep to check it out.
The thing that caught my attention was that RevenueWell was only for dental offices. Meaning that they understand that our profession isn't the same as the hair dressers next door. That also meant that they would provide services that go beyond just reminders. They consider things like, treatment plans, reactivating patients, automatic post-op instructions, complete integration into your practice management software and more. They even go as far as improving your online presence in order to attract new patients. The best part is it is completely automated, so it’s working even when you aren’t.
The return on investment for this service is outstanding, actually lowering overhead and increasing productivity. Stress is reduced and best of all we are giving our patients the highest level of service possible.
Jenny Noland, RDA
Office of James Klim, DDS