Fast and easy 24/7 appointing: The hottest trend in dentistry

Don't lose patients from your dental practice because you do not have 24/7 appointing. People are online at all hours making appointments. Gain new patients no matter what the hour with 24/7 appointing from 1-800-DENTIST.

Mar 10th, 2015
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Patient expectations about appointing have radically changed over the past five years. Thanks to innovative services such as Open Table, people expect to be able to go online and make reservations or schedule appointments whenever they want, even if it’s 2 a.m.

Just the other night I was on my veterinarian’s website and scheduled a checkup for my dog. It took less than a minute to book a time and day that worked for me. This is the new norm. People looking for services like car repair, hair salons, and even dentists want easy access to 24-hour scheduling. And, they want to do it online. Convenience and instant gratification are prized by today’s consumers. Unfortunately, the appointing protocols at most dental offices don’t reflect this.

Growing demand for after-hours appointing
The demand for online and after-hours appointing is the most important emerging trend in patient behavior today. This is a major problem for most dentists. Frankly, most practices are appointing patients like it’s still 2005, not 2015. They’re not able to accept or confirm appointments after hours, which is when more new patients are actively looking for a new dentist. No one covers the phones evenings and weekends. Practices that do have online appointment request forms on their websites typically can’t confirm those requests until the next day. The sad fact is that patients without a confirmed dental appointment keep looking until they get one. The dollar amount of potential production lost due to a practice’s inability to offer 24/7 appointing is staggering.

Introducing 24/7 appointing from 1-800-DENTIST
1-800-DENTIST recently introduced 24/7 appointing to help dentists meet the growing demand for after-hours appointing. Available at no additional cost to practices that participate in 1-800-DENTIST’s new patient leads program, the new 24/7 appointing tool is the next step in the evolution of patient scheduling. The reason it’s effective is because it allows 1-800-DENTIST to appoint patients in predetermined slots on our member dentists’ schedules, even when the office is closed. We can do it any time of day or night so members never miss leads that come in after regular business hours.

Here’s how 24/7 appointing works: A patient contacts 1-800-DENTIST and is matched by a referral specialist to a member’s practice. The patient is given an appointment based on schedule openings provided by the member dentist. 1-800-DENTIST presents the appointment to the member dentist for confirmation or rescheduling with the new patient. The patient gets an appointment and the practice gets a patient they otherwise would have missed. It’s important to stress that 1-800-DENTIST members always have the final say when it comes to determining appointment availability.

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A better way to appoint
24/7 appointing is having a major impact on practice productivity. The latest 1-800-DENTIST analysis found that when our referral specialists make the appointments, practices have a measurably higher show-up rate and a higher patient lead quality. It’s less work for the practice and instant gratification for the patient. We also found that the greater scheduling availability results in a better consumer experience.

1-800-DENTIST has a short video that details the factors leading to the dental industry’s shift to 24/7 appointing. Dental professionals can view the video at futuredontics.com/247Appointing. Practices interested in learning more about the new patient lead program and 24/7 appointing are encouraged to call 855-249-1494.

Fred Joyal is the founder of Futuredontics, the marketing solutions and parent company of 1-800-DENTIST. He is the author of the bestselling book “Everything is Marketing: The Ultimate Strategy for Dental Practice Growth,” and the host of a series of dental marketing webinars and online videos. Fred is a sought-after speaker and owner of the weekly blog, GoAskFred.com, which explores a variety of industry topics like how Yelp, online patient reviews, and mobile search affect practice growth.

Disclaimer: This article provides general marketing advice. Please consult your legal professional to ensure compliance with applicable laws in your jurisdiction.

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