How to get patients to schedule their own appointments

April 19, 2019

Patient recall is a primary factor in your practice’s profitability and overall success, but getting patients to schedule and keep appointments is often easier said than done. Going to the dentist is unfortunately not the most desirable experience for most, but maintaining regular appointments is a big step in helping patients achieve a consistent level of quality oral health.

Here are some key points to consider in encouraging your patients to schedule their own appointments and then holding those appointments once they’re set to occur.

Schedule while patients are in-office

When patients come in for an appointment, you should try to book the next appointment with them before they leave. They’re more likely to book while in-office than when they leave and have the opportunity to either forget about it or simply ignore your calls.

If they do schedule while in-office, make sure they know they can always reschedule later if need be. This makes this step less final and can help put the patient more at ease. Be sure to follow up with them if they leave without booking, but don’t be pushy.

Provide an online scheduling option

Convenience is essential to patients and is one of the top reasons they’ll choose one dental practice over another. The dental office scheduling process should be as easy as possible for them. Providing patients with the power to schedule their own appointments online is a great way to deliver this simplicity.

Most people will avoid a phone call if they have the option. Not only does online self-scheduling provide this advantage, but it also eliminates time your team was previously spending on the phone trying to schedule appointments and frees up time for more important tasks.

Make sure your patients know why they’re coming in

Clearly explaining to your patients their treatment and the reasons they should come back is important. Patients coming back for a cleaning will obviously be more eager than those coming back for a more intensive procedure, but all should be clear about why they’re visiting your office.

Educating your patients on their reason for visiting improves:

  • Their trust in your practice
  • Their comfort with your practice and their treatment plan
  • Their likelihood of scheduling their own appointments before you even ask

The ultimate goal is to show your patients you care about them and their dental health. This helps inspire them to come back.

Send reminders

Dental appointments are often scheduled months in advance and can quickly get overshadowed by other scheduling priorities. Sending reminders leading up to the appointment (without being annoying) keeps the date top-of-mind to ensure it’s remembered.

A study has found that sending appointment reminders reduces no-shows by 23 percent.

Patient recall drives practice success

You need to retain your patients and keep them coming back in order to reach your practice goals. Getting patients to come back regularly builds strong relationships that can bloom into lifelong partnerships and quality dental health – while also positively impacting dental practice profitability and team morale.

Perfect your recall system with White & Associates

White & Associates specializes in working with dental practices to create the ideal dental recall system that will strengthen relationships with patients through communication, case acceptance, and more. Contact us today to start making the most of your practice.