As you consider your dental practice’s communication plan, there are a few things you should try to keep in mind: What are the goals of each kind of message you are sending? What takeaways do you want to make sure the patient absorbs? Have you considered the language and timing of each piece? Here are a few approaches for different kinds of messaging, that can help inform your patients and ultimately, improve your ability to provide them with great care.
Informational messages might come in the form of appointment reminders, changes within your practice, surveys or information they need to submit before their visit, or any other message whose primary purpose is to clearly provide information to your patients. This might require follow up actions on their part, but it doesn’t have to. Getting the patient and provider on “the same page,” is a great way to keep a respectful relationship and treat patients the way that they want to be treated.
Follow up messages might come via text message, email, or voicemail, and reconnects you with patients after their recent (or not so recent) visit. Recall prompts to encourage rebooking, status check-ins after procedures, or just your standard seasonal “hello!” from the practice, can keep relationships with your patients strong and make them feel sincerely cared for. Diversifying your message type, (perhaps by sending a reminder text instead of an email), might be the key to reaching your patients with the right message at the right time. Automating these follow-up messages can streamline this process for your practice, and helps ensure your patients continue to get the care they need for consistent dental health.
Another way that you can provide clear lines of communication, is through reassurance of your office as a resource to help even between appointments. Provide points of contact that patients can reach out to with simple questions, so your team can make a judgement about whether or not the patient should come in for a check-in. For more complicated procedures, sharing understandable pre and post appointment materials can empower patients to take a role in their own dental health- beyond just brushing and flossing. If they feel like they can continue the conversation, they’ll know they truly have a care team that’s on their side.
After appointments, touch base with patients to gather their feedback and see if there were any questions on their mind. Ask if they were satisfied with their care, and if there’s anything they would like to have done differently. Automatic review prompts via text message or email are a great way to get feedback quickly, and the Intiveo platform will automatically ask for additional reviews to share on top search sites (like Google and Facebook), when a patient has indicated that they were beyond satisfied with your practice. Not only does this help spread the word about your business, but it allows patients to consider their experience more deeply, and help you improve your care through their feedback.