Become More Patient-Focused by Implementing a Smart Reminder System

Front Office Person Focusing on Patients

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We tend to think of appointment reminders as a way to help our business. By decreasing no-show rates, an office can increase their bottom line, boast better patient outcomes, and free up their staff for more revenue-generating tasks.

 

There’s no denying the fact that reminding clients and patients to show up for their scheduled appointments is critical. Given that the average dentist appointment ranges from 44 to 52 minutes, those time slots are incredibly valuable and can cost a dental practice up to hundreds of dollars when they’re left vacant due to a last-minute cancellation or no-show.

 

While focusing on implementing patient reminders is bound to help decrease no-show rates, an often-overlooked component of these automated reminder systems is the patient experience itself. By using a more intelligent platform like Weave’s Smart Reminder System, you’ll be able to focus more on patient interaction thanks to the additional time that it provides front office personnel.

 

Focus More On the Patients In Front of You

 

We recently interviewed Julie Herr who owns Life Point Dental together with her husband Dr. James Herr who is the dentist. She made a comment about how automating tasks like appointment reminders allowed her front office to focus more on the patients in the office. Julie said that before implementing Weave in their office, the front desk person was often on the phone and had to wait to start a conversation with patients who came into the office.

 

After getting Weave going, their front desk person had so much time freed up, that she could focus on building a relationship with the patient right away, which has proved to be a vital asset in their office.

 

Choose a Reminder System That Helps Build Patient Relationships

 

We’ve all gotten generic appointment reminders in the past that looked something like this:

 

Hello. Your appointment is on June 2nd at 11:00 a.m. at Acme Dental. Respond “C” to confirm. If you are unable to keep your appointment, please call 555.665.4356 to reschedule it.

 

From a technical standpoint, there’s nothing wrong with this message. It serves the purpose of reminding the patient of an appointment. However, there’s nothing special about it, either. If you want to nurture a long-term relationship with your patients and create a warm atmosphere that they might enjoy coming to year after year, then being able to personalize these messages with unique details will help set you apart from other offices.

 

Weave’s Smart Reminder System allows you to personalize your messages, including the delivery frequency, while also enabling you to set the tone and even add emojis to the body of the message. The personality of your office can shine through, and instead of looking at automated reminders as just another message, your patients might actually smile when they see a text from your office.

 

Options for Personalizing Reminder Messages

 

Weave’s Smart System provides all the functionality you’re accustomed to seeing but with some additional benefits that help build relationships. Here’s a list of what you can do to personalize your appointment reminders:

 

Patient Name

Most systems allow you to insert custom fields in a message, including a name. For example, a text that or email that read something like “Hi {First Name},” in your software would display, “Hi Jennifer,” in the message. While this feature comes standard with most software solutions, Weave goes a step further by adding a Preferred Name Field.

 

You might have a patient named Roberto Cavalli, but he goes by Beto. To personalize your message you want to address him as Beto. However, you also know that it’s not a good idea to change his first name patient record to Beto because that’s not his legal name.

 

By having an option to address patients by their preferred name or nickname during correspondence, you’ll have more rapport and demonstrate that you care about calling them by the name they use instead of their more formal first name.

 

Appointment Date and Time

 

Being able to customize the appointment dates and times is also a standard feature among other systems, but again, Weave goes a step farther and also has fields that merge these together.

 

For example, you have these field options when specifying the appointment:

 

  • Date and Time
  • Day
  • Day of the Month
  • Month
  • Time

 

This allows you to use just one field if you’d prefer or add extra details that will be helpful to the patient. While other offices might just say, “August 4th at 1:00 p.m.,” you might elect to specify, “Wednesday, August 4th at 1:00 p.m.”

 

Message Body

 

Feel free to write as much or as little information as you’d like in the body of the text or email. Short and to-the-point messages are typically the most well-received, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little bit of fun while maintaining a professional tone.

 

Here are three fun ways to customize your message with some examples to inspire you:

 

Message Body & Tone

 

If your office staff is known for being personable and bubbly, let their communication style shine through. Change the typical “Hello” greeting to something like “Good morning!” and end the message with something warm and genuine.

 

Example 1:

 

“Good morning, Charlie! Share your radiant smile with the world and don’t forget your appointment on Thursday, November 10th at 8:00 a.m. with Dr. Fitzpatrick. If you need to change your appointment, please give me a call, and we’ll reschedule. See you soon! – Candace”

 

Example 2:

 

“Hi there, Charlie! It looks like you missed your appointment with Dr. Fitzpatrick today ? ? ?. I know life gets hectic, but let’s not forget about the importance of a healthy smile. Please call us at 555.490.3215 to reschedule.”

 

Seasonal & Holiday

 

Keeping your message themes consistent with the season and holidays can be a fun and unique way to make your patients feel like they’re part of the family.

 

Here are some examples of holiday and seasonal messages to try:

 

Example 1:

 

“Happy Halloween, Samuel! Just a quick reminder that you have an appointment on Monday, November 4th at 11:30 a.m. Let’s clean out all that candy! ?”

 

Example 2:

 

“Hi, Thomas! Did you know that Friday is National Selfie Day? Keep your smile camera-ready ? by scheduling your next cleaning with Dr. Fitzpatrick. Give us a call at 555.490.3215.”

 

Customize Who Receives Messages

 

Depending on the status of an appointment, you might want to send different messages. For example, someone who has already confirmed their appointment won’t need a message telling them to confirm. However, if a patient has made an appointment but hasn’t confirmed it yet, then sending them a follow-up message asking them to confirm is essential. You can classify your appointments with these default settings or add your own:

 

  • All appointments
  • Confirmed appointments
  • Unconfirmed appointments

 

Choose a Delivery Method

 

Not every patient wants to receive text messages. But, some patients will become annoyed with phone calls. With Weave’s Smart Reminder System, you can track patient preferences and contact them using the method that they want.

 

Delivery Time and Frequency

 

Depending on your patient base, you might need to send more or fewer messages than average. The good news is that you can create as many reminders as you’d like and customize your settings so that some patients get more reminders than others.

 

You can also set when the reminders are sent based on what works for your patients and maximizes show-up rates.

 

By customizing your messages based on patient preferences and the structure of your office, you’ll be able to delight your patients and create an overall better experience consistently.

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