It’s no secret that retaining an existing patient is less expensive than finding new ones. Only a few dentists actively focus on implementing effective strategies to reactivate patients they haven’t seen in a while or to win back lost patients. We are here to help you perfect it!
You should never see a lost patient as a burden, but, rather, an opportunity to improve your practice to gain them back. In this situation, you have the advantage. Former patients have already experienced your services, so marketing to them is a bit simpler. An added bonus, you already have their details. In addition to gaining back patients you’ve lost, patient reactivation campaigns are also a great way to check up on patients that haven’t been to your dental practice in a while and might need your services. Remember, losing a patient and reactivating a patient are two different things. We are going to review both scenarios in this task.
How To Reactivate A Patient
When reactivating a patient, there are two ways to go about it. Below we will provide you with email templates and a call script you can use. Reactivation should happen every 3 or 6 months. This makes sure you do not irritate your patients, but still make sure they don’t forget about you. The best approach here is to remind them why it’s so important to visit the dentist regularly and what could happen if they don’t.
Template 1 – Silly/Funny Email
Dear <Patient Name>,
The <practice name> team was just wondering how your teeth are doing? We haven’t seen them in a while and it just doesn’t feel the same around here anymore. We all know that long-distance relationships are the worst and that’s why we want you to pop in as soon as possible. It’s been 6 months! We want to pamper your teeth and give them the royal service they deserve. Taking care of your teeth is super important and you should never wait until it’s too late!
Be sure to book an appointment via this link (add a link here to the website page) and we’ll be reunited in no time!
Template 2 – Serious Email
Dear <Patient Name>,
We hope you are doing well!
Our calendar shows that we haven’t seen you in 6 months. We would just like to remind you how important it is to visit the dentist at least once a year to make sure you keep your oral health where it should be. Remember, a general cleaning is much cheaper than needing actual work done, so that’s why we are reaching out to make sure you don’t wait until it’s too late.
If you would like to book an appointment we would love to see you. Just click this link (add a link to the website page) and your teeth will be thanking you in no time!
These are just examples of the direction you can go and also the type of tone you can use. Depending on your brand, you can go with a happy/silly email or something a little more serious. The important thing to remember is that you want to stand out and not just use a generic email that they will move to spam shortly after opening it. Make an impression!
Good day <Patient Name>
How are you doing today?
This is <Name> from <Practice Name>. We’ve noticed that you have not been for a check-up in over <number> months. We just wanted to give you a call and check-in to make sure that both you and your teeth are still healthy and whether you would like to schedule your next appointment?
If they answer they are fine and don’t want to schedule an appointment: If it has been more than 8 months, ask if they will still be using your dental practice in the future or if they have found a new dentist. If they have not found a new dentist and just not interested to make an appointment now, continue with the next line. If they do have a new dentist, enquire why they decided to not come back to your practice. Always remember that it is critical to know the “why” of your patients’ inactivity to devise the “how” of your reactivation strategy.
I know that you most likely get calls all the time from people trying to sell you on a product or remind you of some service, but it’s important to know that this is not me trying to sell you something. This is about your oral health which can have a major effect on your well-being. We always do our best to nudge our patients towards having regular check ups as it prevents serious dental problems in the long term. I’d love it if we could get that appointment in our schedule now.
If the patient says they are not sure of their availability and don’t want to schedule, the comeback is: “No worry—let’s go ahead and get your appointment scheduled anyway. We will still send you a notification by email or text before just to be sure that appointment still works for you.” Use this wording instead of saying “We can make the appointment and you can always cancel it if you are no longer available.” The latter creates the idea that canceling the appointment is not a big deal and the patient could be more likely to do so. If they need to cancel or move the appointment they will, it’s not up to you to remind them they can.
Thank you for your time! We are excited to see you.
Have a great day!
Why We Lose Dental Patients And What To Do About It
- A competitor promising better prices. Often patients move to a different dental practice simply because they can no longer afford your services. Now, we don’t expect you to lower your price for every patient who says you’re too expensive, but if you can work out a cost structure that means the difference between keeping or losing a patient, you should try. The idea here is to make the patient feel special. E.g., “You know, we don’t usually do this, but we really want to keep you as a patient, and if that means giving you a 10% discount then I’d be happy to.” There should be a negotiation process to make sure both sides are happy. You are more likely to regain a patient if you show them you are trying to meet their needs.
- Your practice failed to deliver what the patient had expected. If this happens, it means that expectations did not meet reality. The best way to solve this is by asking the patient what their experience was and how your office fell short. The best strategy is open communication and making sure the patient feels they were heard. It is then up to you to figure out how you can convince them that next time will be different. You could offer them a free cleaning to give the experience another go. The most important thing is to make yourself appealing enough to give you a second chance.
- Your staff did not treat them in a friendly manner. This is probably one of the easiest problems to fix. If somebody has a bad experience because one of your staff members did not treat them properly, the best thing to do is swallow your pride as a team, apologize, and ask the patient what you can do to regain their trust. Remember, you exist as a dental practice to serve the patient and keep them happy. Without the patient, you are nothing and it is therefore important to always treat every patient as if they are your only one.
And that’s it! In the next task, we are going to show you how to create your first Google Ad! This is going to be a big step forward in your marketing efforts and we hope you are as excited as we are.