5 Benefits of Focusing on Recall
Over the years, I’ve worked with many struggling practices and they all seem to have one thing in common: a non-existent recall system.
Dentists tend to ignore their recall system, then wonder why patient retention is down and why they can’t seem to meet daily production goals. When these dentists make this important system a priority, they soon see the many benefits that focusing on this system can bring to a practice – benefits that lead to a more robust bottom line.
Like it or not, ignoring your recall system will do nothing but hurt your practice and keep you from meeting your full potential. Here’s a look at what will happen when you finally start giving recall the attention it deserves:
1. You’ll boost patient retention numbers. After you hire a Patient Coordinator and empower that person to revamp the recall system, you’ll soon see your patient retention rate rise. It will finally start to hover between 85-95%, which is where you need to be if you want a healthy, profitable practice. And of course, if you have a larger patient base, your production numbers and your revenues will also begin to grow.
2. You’ll deal with fewer cancellations and no-shows. Broken appointments not only wreak havoc on your day, they also lead to thousands of dollars in lost revenue every year. You might not realize this, but cancellations and no-shows are a direct result of a broken recall system.
The problem is, many practices still rely on pre-appointing patients six months out. Why doesn’t that work? Patients have no idea what they’re doing on a Tuesday six months from now, so when you schedule this way, you’re just asking for them to forget about the appointment or cancel at the last minute.
Pre-appointing also makes it seem like your schedule is full and gives doctors an excuse to continue ignoring their recall system. The seemingly full schedule leaves little room for patients who actually want to go forward with treatment, and that’s a good way to send those patients to the practice down the street.
Now I realize most dentists have been pre-appointing patients for years and are hesitant to give it up all together. If that describes you, I suggest developing a hybrid system. Offer some patients the option to be contacted a few weeks before they’re due for an appointment – and I suggest you focus on patients who are known for cancelling at the last minute. This will not only reduce the number of broken appointments in your practice, it will also leave room on the schedule for recall patients who want to make an appointment.
3. You’ll get more referrals. When you reach out to patients on the recall list, it not only encourages them to schedule an appointment, it also shows them you care about their health. They begin to feel a connection to the practice and that makes them more likely to refer your practice to family and friends, further growing your patient base and your bottom line.
4. You’ll boost practice productivity. Investing in your recall system will help you turn once inactive patients into loyal patients who entrust you with their care. You’ll have the opportunity to recommend treatment to these patients, treatment that may have otherwise gone undiagnosed, and they’ll be much more likely to say yes to that treatment.
5. You’ll have happier team members. When the practice is in a slump, your team members feel it. Dealing with broken appointments and lackluster production numbers is frustrating and brings everyone down. Once you get more patients in the chair, team members will feel like they’re contributing to the practice more, making their jobs fulfilling.
Remember, it costs five times as much to get one new patient as it does to keep the ones you already have, which gives you another reason to start making your recall system a priority. Trust me, focusing on reenergizing recall will do wonders for your practice, ultimately growing your production numbers and your bottom line. I suggest you start by hiring a Patient Coordinator, educating your patients, and improving the recall reminders you send out.
Ready to revamp your recall but not sure how? No need to worry. That’s what I’m here for. Feel free to contact me and I’ll help you improve your recall system and get your practice on the road to true success and profitability.
For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side
Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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