According to recent industry data, 6 billion SMS texts are sent each day in the United States. Many of those are between businesses and the people they serve, including medical practices. Is your dental practice using text messages to connect with patients yet? Here's why you should be.
What is Text Messaging for Dentists?
Text messaging for dentists is simply using a software program to automatically send texts to patients to confirm appointments, notify them of specials, send helpful tips, and more.
Why Consider Texting Your Patients
Dental technology continues to grow exponentially every year, and patients are looking for a more forward-thinking experience when they visit the dentist. Text messaging can help enhance the approach of your practice and streamline internal processes.
Today's society is moving primarily toward text-based communications. Phone calls are often screened or even completely ignored if the telephone number isn't recognized. Sending a text is a non-threatening way to connect with your patients, allowing them to communicate with your office quickly and easily. In this way, texts are another way you can show your patients that you care about their comfort and convenience.
Benefits of Text Messaging for Your Dental Practice
There are many benefits of using automated text messaging software. Your office can:
Book (and Keep) More Appointments
If patients aren't experiencing dental issues, they may let months or even years lapse before they book their next appointment simply because they've forgotten. Text messaging can allow your office to automatically remind patients when it's time to book their annual exam or six-month cleaning (without using valuable administrative staff).
Text messages can also be sent to remind patients of their appointment a day or two before, which helps to reduce your no-show rate. You can book and keep more appointments without devoting additional time and effort on phone-based confirmations.
Educate and Engage with Your Patients
It's important to keep your patients engaged with your office in between appointments. This helps patients to learn how to incorporate healthy oral care habits into their daily lives while allowing you to have an ongoing conversation with them about the importance of good dental health.
Use text messages to send your patients quick tips and interesting information about topics that are important to them. For example, you could send a text saying "Did you know? Using floss sticks can spread bacteria from one area of the mouth to another, causing infection. Here's a video on how to use traditional floss quickly and easily."
Make It Easier for Patients to Reach Out to You
Text messages make it easier than ever for patients to reach out to your practice. Patients can reply to your confirmation of their upcoming dental appointment by simply texting back a Y or an N, and the software will add the N responses to a call list where your staff will later call them to reschedule.
Patients can also send quick questions to staff about appointments or request a call from hygienists or associates regarding more in-depth matters like asking about ongoing dental pain, tooth sensitivity after a procedure, signs of infection, and other significant dental issues.
Combining Text Messaging with Other Ads
Combining text messaging with other ads can be a particularly effective form of advertising for your dental practice. For example, perhaps your office launches a commercial advertising a discount on teeth whitening services during prom and wedding season. Existing patients could receive a follow-up text reminding them about the deal, increasing their engagement with your practice. Get creative with how you combine texts with your current marketing campaigns to help maximize your reach.
Ready to Text? Here's How to Get Started
If you're ready to take the next step and start communicating with your patients via text, here are a few tips:
- Scope out your competition. What kind of text automation software do your local competitors use? What kind of messages do they send and how often? How do patients respond to those messages?
- Consult your team. How does your team feel about texting patients? Do they have any concerns? What ideas do they have for texts that will engage patients the most?
- Consult with your dental IT provider. Talk with your provider about your interest in automated text software. Ask questions about how it works, how much it costs, and how easy it is to use. Ask for recommendations on which program might suit your dental practice's specific needs.
- Review with legal counsel to ensure that any texting program you put into place complies with relevant laws.
While the process of implementing new text messaging software can seem like a hassle, once it's set up, the time and money you'll save may be worth the initial investment of effort.
About Treloar & Heisel
Treloar & Heisel is a premier financial services provider to dental and medical professionals across the country. We assist thousands of clients from residency to practice and through retirement with a comprehensive suite of financial services, custom-tailored advice, and a strong national network focused on delivering the highest level of service.
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