A large number of dental offices are moving away from manually contacting their existing patients when it is time for those patients to attend for their hygiene maintenance and review appointments.
These practices are moving towards a more automated electronic approach of contacting their valued patients.
And I get that thought.
If you’ve got a large practice, it can take a lot of time to phone your patients and make contact with them, and see whether they have any issues with the appointment time they had previously booked when they were last in your practice.
The trouble with automation is…
The trouble with automation is that most of the time, it reeks of automation.
And automation reeks of a reduction in caring.
On the flip side, manually making contact with patients usually indicates a greater commitment to the relationship than simply pressing a button and using an electronic alternative.
In the olden days…
In the olden days there was a thing called a “Dear John” letter.
When a girl wanted to break up with her boyfriend, the most impersonal thing she could do was send him a “Dear John” letter:
“Dear John. I don’t think it’s working out anymore, and I think we should stop seeing each other. It’s not you, its me. Don’t try to contact me. It’s for the best. Signed: Your now ex-girlfriend.”
About as impersonal as you can get…
Often when I receive automated SMS messages, they read just as impersonally as a “Dear John” letter….
Dentistry is a grudge buy….
Ask anybody out there how they would like to spend a spare hour of their time, and going to the dentist would not appear in the top five things they’d like to do.
Nobody likes going to the dentist.
Just like buying new tyres, going to the dentist is a “grudge buy”.
And reducing contact with your valued existing patients to a sequence of automated emails and SMSs is not the best way to build solid long-term relationships.
This is because…
The number one reason that existing patients leave their dentist and go find a new dentist is because of apathy, or perceived apathy shown towards them by their existing dental office and its team members.
Nobody ever likes feeling as if they are being taken for granted, or worse still, being ignored.
But when your patients do feel like they are being taken for granted, they will leave, and take their patronage elsewhere.
And that’s never a nice feeling for anyone.
And it’s never a great result.
And it is so preventable….
So when it comes to…
So when it comes to contacting your existing patients about their upcoming hygiene and maintenance appointments, the best thing to do is employ a combination of SMS, email, and phone contact messages, just so that your patients do really know and remember that your office does care, and that your office is always there for them, and that their dentist and their hygienist are really looking forward to seeing them….
The more personable you are, and the more personable your means of contact are, the stronger your relationships will be with your patients.
And the less likely they will be to feel taken for granted….
Dr. David Moffet BDS FPFA CSP is a certified CX Experience coach. David works with his wife Jayne Bandy to help SME businesses improve their Customer Service Systems to create memorable World Class experiences for their valued clients and customers. Click here to find out how David and Jayne can help your business