Getting back in touch with patients

Many dental practices have patients that have not visited them for quite a while. These patients can stop visiting for multiple reasons, such as a missing an appointment which they don’t reschedule, or finding a new dentist.

Levin Group has recommended methods which can reactivate 85% of these inactive patients, which requires less effort than trying to attract new patients and leads to new cases and increased production.

Firstly, identify inactive patients using a software system or by performing a manual chart audit to create a report of patients who haven’t made an appointment with the dental practice in the past 18 months.

The next step is to get in contact with these patients; calling them on their mobile phones increases the chances of you reaching them, and so can motivate them to make an appointment. When getting in contact, focus your call on your concern for their oral health, referring to the appointment as periodontal maintenance and an oral cancer exam rather than a simple cleaning in order to encourage them to visit.

Once you have reached the lost patients, really try and encourage them to return. For example, giving patients an incentive to return, such as a free hygiene visit, can help convince inactive patients to come back to the practice. Although the cost of incentives is negligible, the potential reward of such a technique can be substantial.

If an inactive patient does not respond to the initial call, attempt to contact them using a 3-3-3 follow up method devised by the researchers: three phone calls once a week for three weeks, followed by three emails in three weeks, followed by three hard-copy letters. If this gets a response from inactive patients, track them separately to make sure they keep their appointments.

What is crucial throughout the process of coaxing back lost patients is the focus on them, and the reassurance that it is for their own good. Be persistent in efforts to reach them, but not too forceful; if they feel irritated, they’ll leave for good.

If you’ve lost touch with us or another dentist, don’t be afraid of picking up the phone again to book an appointment – our friendly team are waiting to schedule you in on 0121 354 1922, and our expert dentists will help you feel at ease even if the dentist isn’t your favourite place!