Texting for Dentists: Reminders, Appointments, and More
POSTED AUGUST 25, 2021
If you own a dental practice, you know how much there is to focus on every day. Dentistry, for one. The care of your patients. The payroll and more. You don’t have time to focus on SMS marketing message reminders, sending out appointment reminders, or remembering who needs to hear about appointment reminders.
Enter the concept of an online texting service for dentists. Today, there are better solutions for a dentist keeping tabs on their patients than in the past. And it’s less time-intensive. Rather than spend all your time on phone calls—or having someone at your practice manually type out text messages—there are better ways to handle the setting of dental appointments.
Why Would a Dentist Want to Text Their Patients?
For starters, you have to keep them in the loop. Dentists have been reaching out to customers with appointment reminders and check-up notices since before the days of the Internet. Once upon a time, dentists sent out postcards in the mail—a practice that often continues today.
But texting is a more direct and immediate way to reach patients these days. You want to use the latest technology to take care of peoples’ mouths at any dental office. But what about the newest technology as it comes to relating to your patients? You’d be amazed at what you can automate these days. And when you adopt a good platform for patient communication, you’d be surprised at what you can accomplish:
• Reducing no-shows. One thing that drives dentists crazy is the concept of no-shows. You do all that work in marketing, arranging appointments, and more—and then your patient doesn’t even show up! One problem is that the medium you’ve been using to reach out to patients might no longer be on the patients’ terms anymore. People use their cell phones a lot these days; they might be less inclined to listen to snail mail appointment reminders that get thrown out along with the rest of the mail.
• Automating. Appointment reminder text? Appointment confirmations? Updating a patient’s phone number? Two-way texting? You’d be amazed at how much of it you can automate when you have the right platform in place. You should always aim to reduce the hassle of patient outreach so you can focus on the healthcare you’re providing. Dental software that serves as a communication tool that you don’t have to check constantly will help you focus on the business of helping people rather than the business of drumming up new business.
• Handle last-minute cancellations. Any dentist who works hard to make sure they’re at the appointment on time knows how annoying last-minute cancellations can be. By texting patients in real-time, dentists can reduce these cancellations. That means you’re free to focus on the appointment itself while the platform does much of the work.
But this doesn’t answer all of the questions. Proper: dentists should care about reducing their no-show rate and learning how to text patients to improve their practice. But what else can a dentist do with this kind of platform?
What are Marketing Ways a Dentist Can Take Advantage of Texting?
We’ve talked about avoiding last-minute cancellations and no-shows. But a dentist can also use a text messaging list to handle marketing in new and exciting ways. Consider:
• Upsells and cross-sells. By maintaining continuous communication with patients, you can make general upsell and cross-selling offers that help people even more than they realized they could be helped. For example, what if you used a follow-up text to automatically “sell” a tooth whitening service in addition to a regular cleaning? You could potentially bring in much more business without constantly having to poke and prod at patients; the SMS software you use can do it for you.
• Building better patient relationships. SMS is two-way, after all. Two-way texting with a dental office is something that builds loyalty to your patients. They’ll feel like they’re texting an old friend rather than a place of business. This is a great way to ingratiate yourself with new patients. It’s also a way to build loyalty with existing patients who might not have realized you could do this before.
• Generating more positive reviews. Let’s say you’re not the only dentist in town. Another dentist also offers outstanding care. You both get good, positive reviews online. However, the other dentist doesn’t provide texting with patients. This one little extra “touch” can put you over the top, generating more positive reviews online from your patients.
• Asking quick questions for feedback. Marketing isn’t much without feedback. Sometimes, you can use text messages to gather feedback and testimonials that will help you better understand how you can improve your dental practice. This might not seem like an advantage now, but it will help you discover the best ways to make minor improvements that will ultimately take your dental practice to the next level.
Once you understand the potential marketing benefits, you’ll see how initiating a texting program like this can lead to better patient retention. The result is a more stable dental practice—often with more predictable hours.
Can You Text Your Dentist?
It depends on the dentist! If your dentist has a great SMS marketing program in place, chances are you can text them to your heart’s content. But if a dentist has outdated practices for reminding patients about their upcoming appointments, there’s a chance you might not be able to text with them. At least not on a professional level.
Using a professional texting service helps eliminate the slow red tape between a dental practice and its patients. Rather than making yourself harder to reach, an SMS texting program with a dentist and their dental practice patients can make it easier to run the practice, all while feeling more personal for the patient. The result? A better-reviewed practice, fewer no-shows, and fewer missed appointments.