Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2015 01 Dental Confirmation Call 1

Tuesday Tip with Pride Institute: Rethinking the confirmation call

Jan. 20, 2015
Does your dental office appear desperate when placing appointment reminder calls? It might be time to give those calls a new focus and make them calls to gather information from patients, therefore streamlining the appointments.  

Confirmation versus courtesy calls
Most dental practices make confirmation calls (or send email or text messages) one or two days before patients’ scheduled visits to remind them about their appointment. These calls sometimes have an air of desperation because often patients express surprise about their upcoming appointment and reschedule or cancel entirely. As if that isn’t bad enough, patients are now so dependent on these calls that they blame the office if tey miss an appointment because they didn’t receive the expected call.

Inadvertently through these calls, dental practices have trained patients not to take responsibility for their own appointments. I’m not suggesting that the office stop making these calls. I’m suggesting that you change the reason for the call and change the verbiage you use during these calls.

Courtesy calls for patients scheduled in hygiene Courtesy calls for hygiene appointments can help visits run smoothly because the purpose of the calls is to gather information from patients regarding any health or medication changes. Here’s how it should go. “Hello Ms Jones. This is Lisa from Dr. Pride’s office. We’re looking forward to seeing you for your hygiene appointment with Holly on Tuesday at 11:30. So that Holly and Dr. Pride can be prepared for your visit, could you give us a call back if there’s anything you want Holly or the doctor to know about your health before you come in. We’d especially like to know if there has been any change in your health history, or if you’ve been experiencing any pain or tenderness. Also please let us know if there have been any changes in medication, either prescribed or over the counter. Otherwise we’ll see you in our office on Tuesday at 11:30.”

Courtesy calls for patients scheduled with the dentist
“Hello Mr. Ruiz. This is Lisa from Dr. Pride’s office. We’re looking forward to seeing you on Wednesday at 8:30. If you have any questions about this appointment, please give us a call. Otherwise we look forward to seeing you on Wednesday."

Notice that in both examples the front desk employee does not use the words “confirm” or “remind.” The philosophy is that the appointment was confirmed when it was made and now the office is calling simply to check in and see if there have been any changes in health, or if the patient has any questions about the procedure. This verbiage can take a bit longer to say, but it might lead to a world of difference in patient perceptions. Take the time to rethink your “confirmation” calls today!

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