Do you use dental office text messaging for patient communication? If not, you’re missing out on one of the best ways to optimize two-way communication and improve patient satisfaction. Texts have a 98% open rate, with 9 out of 10 people opening their text messages within three minutes.
In this article, our team at Weave highlights the ways texting can help you draw in new patients and encourage them to keep coming back so that your dental practice can continue growing.
The Benefits of Texting Your Patients
When you use text messaging to contact your patients, you’re using the method of contact that most people want to use when interacting with businesses. These days, getting a patient to read a text message is much easier than getting them on a phone call.
One of the most common struggles of a healthcare practice is “phone tag,” where your office calls a patient who doesn’t answer, leaves a message, and misses their returned call, repeating the cycle. With texting, your message gets to the patient even if they’re busy when you contact them.
With dental software, you can automate your text messages, saving time spent sending appointment reminders and invoices. The ease of communication with text messaging means that your dental office can cut down on no-shows and improve the overall patient experience.
In summary, the following are some of the benefits of texting your dental patients:
- Using patients’ preferred method of contact
- Getting better open rates compared to phone call answer rates
- Preventing phone tag with patients
- Reducing missed appointments
- Saving time with automated messages
Paper forms, voicemail, and manual tasks are a few things that slow many dental practices down in business operations and patient communication. Our e-book from Weave on modern dental office communication gives insight into how the latest technology can improve dental businesses.
Ways To Use Text Messaging for Your Dental Office
Text messages simplify the patient’s experience with their healthcare provider, allowing them to send and receive information in an easy and comfortable way. A medical office can take advantage of texting benefits by incorporating text messages into its existing processes, such as sending an appointment reminder and requesting payments.
The following are seven ways your dental practice can use text messages to communicate with patients:
1. Send Dental Appointment Reminders
Many dental offices still send an email reminder before a patient’s scheduled appointment, but emails can be an unreliable way to contact someone. With potentially hundreds of marketing emails bombarding their inboxes, patients are more likely to miss important messages, such as an appointment reminder.
Sending a text message reminder for an upcoming appointment ensures that the patient sees it as soon as possible and can plan to be available at that time. Patients can use the information in text reminders to quickly add the appointment to their phone calendars, making it less likely they forget to show up or commit to another meeting at the same time.
With patient communication software, you can automate your dental appointment reminders, notifying patients at set times before the date. The texting software can instantly update your office’s schedule when the patient responds with an appointment confirmation.
2. Send Personal Messages to Patients
Text messaging opens up two-way communication between your dental practice and your patients. A patient with a major procedure coming up might have questions they want to ask their dentist, but it can be time-consuming to get answers by calling the practice.
With the ability to send and receive texts, you can immediately address the questions and concerns of your patients and carry on a conversation. With this convenient form of communication, information on pre-op and post-op care becomes much easier to convey to patients, increasing the chances of a quick and successful recovery.
Your dental practice can also improve patient engagement by incorporating text messages that delight your patients, such as “happy birthday” texts. Personalized communication helps patients feel closer to your practice, increasing patient retention.
3. Follow-up on Missed Calls
One of the best ways to use SMS messaging for your dental practice is to set up automated follow-up texts when your office misses a call. Usually, if someone can’t get through to the dental office and doesn’t hear back quickly, they will move on to their next prospect. With a simple text message, you can avoid losing new patients when you don’t catch them on the phone.
Automated text messaging enables you to engage with a current or potential patient even when you’re busy. With customized messages including your brand’s tone and practice name, you can greet your patients and ask why they called. This automated conversation gives you more time to call them back and address their concerns.
4. Notify Patients of Office Updates
When you have to suddenly close or reschedule appointments, contacting every patient on your schedule to inform them of the disruption can be a nightmare. With two-way messaging software, it’s as simple as sending a mass text to all the patients concerned.
Unlike unreliable phone calls and emails, texts have an extremely high open rate. As we mentioned earlier in the article, most people look at a text within a few minutes of receiving it. Therefore, you’ll have fewer frustrated patients showing up for a dental appointment despite an emergency office closure.
Sending non-emergency office updates over text messaging is another excellent way to keep patients engaged and informed. You can let your patients know when you hire a new staff member or open a new location, making them feel involved in your practice’s community.
5. Request Reviews From Patients
Reviews are vital to your business because they determine your reputation in your area and provide feedback that helps you improve your practice for your patients. Having more or less positive reviews than your competition can be a critical factor in your patient volume, so it’s crucial to have a solid plan for getting more reviews from satisfied patients.
The best way to get reviews from patients is to make it as convenient as possible for them to find the review site and write their comments. You can do this by sending a text message as a follow-up to their appointment, requesting them to leave a review for your practice on Google, Facebook, Yelp, or another review site.
In the text message, you should maintain a friendly tone and include a link to the review site you prefer. All the patient should have to do is tap the link and write about their experience at your dental office. Using this method, you’ll see your review count skyrocket, helping spread your brand online and making it easier for new patients to find your practice when searching for a new dentist.
6. Engage and Retain Patients
Improving patient retention is essential to running a dental practice because keeping existing patients is easier and cheaper than attracting new ones. Staying engaged with your patients keeps you at the top of their minds, making it less likely that they will miss appointments or branch out to other dentists.
SMS marketing is a valuable tool for dental practices to increase return appointments. You can draw patients back to your office with recall reminders or promotions for teeth whitening, keeping your schedule full and increasing your revenue.
Patients who had dental procedures should return to the office for check-ups and continuing patient care. Getting the first appointment with a patient is challenging enough, but recall appointments can be worse. Using a text message appointment reminder, you can increase your chances of getting a confirmation from the patient, enabling you to provide better dental care.
7. Speed Up Payments With Text-to-Pay
Some dental communication apps enable your patients to use text-to-pay when settling their bills. Instead of having to remember yet another password and log in to an online patient portal to pay an invoice, you can let patients pay instantly via text.
Phone calls and email reminders might go unanswered for days or weeks, leaving your practice without payment for its services. When the number of unpaid bills grows, it can hurt your business. Therefore, it’s best to utilize systems like text-to-pay that make payments simple and convenient.
You can send texts about billing directly after a patient’s appointment, including an option to pay immediately. The convenience of paying through text messaging leads to more timely payments, increasing your monthly revenue and helping your dental business thrive.
Use Weave To Attract, Retain, and Engage More Patients
Weave is an all-in-one dental office communication software that makes it easier than ever to manage daily tasks like appointment booking, payments, and reminders. Our software simplifies these crucial aspects of running a medical practice and introduces new technology such as text automation, caller ID with patient profiles, and contactless payments.
Weave supports HIPAA compliance with a design that helps you protect patient information so that your patients feel secure. We built our platform to help dental practices like yours deliver an outstanding patient experience, efficiently growing as a business while providing high-quality dental care.
To experience the benefits of dental office text messaging, schedule a free demo today.