Reap These Benefits When You Focus On Recall

By Sally McKenzie, CEO Printer Friendly Version

If your practice is struggling, it might be time to take a look at your recall system. Many dentists who are hurting financially have broken, even non-existent, recall systems. These dentists just don’t understand the many benefits focusing on recall can provide, so they ignore this money-generating system and then wonder why they’re struggling with lackluster patient retention numbers and low productivity.

Revamping your recall system will get your struggling practice back on track. When you put a Patient Coordinator in charge of reaching out to and scheduling a certain number of patients every day, you’ll notice a lot of positive changes that will help your practice thrive, so you can finally start meeting your full potential and growing your bottom line.

Not convinced it’s time to make recall a priority? Let me change your mind:

Production numbers and practice revenues will go up. Once you start focusing on recall, inactive patients who did nothing to help move your practice forward before will now be coming in for regular appointments and entrusting you with their dental care. While they’re visiting for routine checkups, you’ll have the chance to diagnose any problems they have and present them with treatment plans to address those problems. Because you provided them with education they needed to see the value in dental care, they’ll be much more likely to accept the treatment you recommend—and that will boost your production numbers and, ultimately, your bottom line.

Patient retention rates will rise. When your properly trained Patient Coordinator takes the time to reach out to patients and educate them about the importance of maintaining their oral health, you’ll find more patients will start coming back to your practice for care. Your patient retention rates will finally reach the 85 to 95 percent benchmark, giving you a solid base of patients.

More patients will refer your practice. If you focus on educating past due patients, not only will they be more likely to schedule an appointment, they’ll also be more likely to refer your office to family and friends. They’ll feel more connected to your practice, and will know you really care about helping them reach optimal health. If you provide them with an exceptional experience during their visits, they’ll want to sing your praises—which of course boosts new patient numbers, practice productivity and practice revenues.

Team morale will improve. When a practice is struggling, it can bring team members down. Things like last minute cancellations and no-shows, which are a tell-tale sign of a broken recall system, add extra stress to their day, which can make it difficult for them to focus on providing patients with top notch service and exceptional care. Once more patients are coming in and accepting treatment, team members are happier to come to work each day. They feel like they’re doing more to help move the practice forward, which gives them greater job satisfaction. This also helps keep team members loyal to your practice, reducing turnover.

You’ll see a significant reduction in broken appointments. When you fix your recall system, you’ll have fewer broken appointments—reducing the stress they bring and the money they cost you.

Many practices rely on pre-appointing patients six months out, but this just isn’t an effective way of scheduling anymore. Patients often forget they scheduled the appointment or something else comes up, resulting in them not making it in after all. You’re left scrambling to find a replacement, and missing that day’s production goals if you don’t. That’s why I suggest developing a hybrid system.

Now I’m not telling you to get rid of pre-appointing altogether. Go ahead and schedule patients who have a history of showing up to their appointments, or who at least call you in plenty of time to let you know when they can’t. But flag those patients who are known for flaking and tell them you’ll reach out to them a few months or even a few weeks before they’re due to get them on the schedule. You’ll find these patients actually start showing up for their appointments, reducing stress levels in your office and the chaos broken appointments cause.

It costs five times as much to get one new patient in the chair as it does to keep the ones you already have. That alone should give you enough motivation to make recall a priority in your practice. Need more? When you make a commitment to revamping your recall system, you’ll grow production numbers, increase your referrals and boost team morale. Broken appointments will no longer regularly week havoc on your day, and your practice will really start to thrive.

The best way to make all this happen is to hire a Patient Coordinator and then give her the training and tools she needs to succeed. You’ll reap the many benefits a robust recall system can provide and finally meet your full potential.

Ready to get started? Feel free to reach out. I’m happy to help you revamp your recall system and grow your bottom line.

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Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com
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