How To Keep Your Hygiene Patients Coming Back
How To Keep Your Hygiene Patients Coming Back
Hi guys, and welcome to another episode of the Delivering WOW Dental Podcast. I actually wanted to come and talk to you guys about hygiene reappointment rate. So that is the number of patients, or the percentage of patients, that have a next appointment scheduled for dental hygiene. Now, what's been really interesting is I am going through Q3 planning with our inner circle, and we've got a few new people that have just joined our inner circle, and a few of them are really rocking their hygiene reappointment percentage, and we had a few that are not quite there yet. And what's really interesting that I tell people is that there's always going to be something that you're focusing on. You might be focusing on learning how to do a new service, so you're taking CEs, right? You might be focusing on creating a process for how you answer the phones, right? So there's things that you're going to be focusing on, and because you're focusing on that, you're not even thinking about other things. But, however, once you have processes in place, or you have a coach or your mentor, or you have tools, such as scorecards, to be able to look at things consistently, that's when change can really happen, right? And so I wanted to talk to you guys about a simple and easy process to be able to have consistency with your hygiene reappointment rate. Now, why do we want to do that? The reason why is that we have patients who are coming in. Our role is to keep them healthy, and if patients are slipping through the cracks, meaning life happens, time passes, and before you know it, a year passes, they are no longer in the healthy zone for many of them, right? Years pass, and again, bacteria's continuing to grow and grow, and they're missing lots of places, right? So we start looking at how can we help our patients to be more consistent. How can we create processes that patients do not have their healthcare slip through the cracks? And it is really looking at how do we have processes in our practice that can help hold our patients accountable. And so I just wanted to share a process with you that has allowed me and my practice, as well as the practices that we work with Delivering WOW to be able to consistently have at least a 97%, 98% hygiene reappointment rate. Now, why do I say not 100? Because there are going to be patients who quite simply cannot have a pre-booked appointment. A few examples in my particular practice is we have some people who live all over the world, so they may live in England, they may live in Canada, they may live in parts of the Caribbean, they may live in different places. And so they may not be able to set their next appointment, because it's only when they come in and they travel on specific holidays where they have their dental work done. We also have students who are in university, and so we're not 100% sure when they will be back in town. Same thing, we have students who are in boarding school, and so those students will typically come home for Christmas, and they'll come in the summer, and we'll see them during those specific times. But outside of that, I really want to make sure that all of our patients have a next appointment on the schedule, and so what we have done is we created a process, and how it works is when Mr. Joe comes in, we say, "Hey, Mr. Joe, I'm going to go ahead and make your next appointment for six months, and if it does not work for you at the time, then we can always change it. But we found that a lot of times, life happens, and what happens is that in the past, before we were pre-making appointments or pre-booking appointments, a lot of times patients just, life happened and things slipped through the cracks. And we want to make sure that we keep you on track, because as you know, when you're cleaning your teeth at home, you're not able to get everything. You're doing your best, but when you come in, we have mirrors and we have lights, and so we want to make sure that we keep you healthy and keep you consistent." Now, there are going to be patients, of course, that say, "Well, I don't know where I'm going to be in six months," and so this is a process that will allow them to feel comfortable still making the appointment. So what we do, or what we have done, is inside of our practice management software, there's always a color where you can have a customized, for example, you will have an area that says left message, and it will be a customized color. Maybe it's going to be purple. You have one that says confirmed. You have all of these different colors that can be there to code your appointment. So what we did was we actually created a new code, and it was called pre-booked. So we have Dentrix. We went in and we created an additional one called pre-booked, and we actually chose the color red. And so what we do is when we make the appointment, we will always want to make the appointment if possible the same day that the patient is in, and around the same time. And if we're always doing that, then that appointment time and day will pretty much always be available, right? So we'll go ahead and put that in, make sure that works for the patients. We will go ahead and choose the pre-booked color, and then what we do is fast forward six months every month, sorry, every Monday. What we do is every single Monday we look at, the front desk looks at, the next week's schedule, and anyone who has a red as a color code, we know that they were pre-booked six months ago. And so the front desk calls them, says, "Hey Mr. Joe, just reminding you that we had scheduled an appointment for you. It's going to be next week, Tuesday, at 2:00PM. Confirming that that time works for you. We look forward to seeing you then." And they'll say, "Yes, sounds great. I'll see you then." And we'll go ahead and get them confirmed. And if they say, "Oh no, I'm traveling," we say, "Not a problem. We can go ahead and move that appointment for you," and we go ahead and say, "When are you coming back from your travels?" And they'll say, "Well, I'll be back on a specific date," and we'll say, "You know what? Let's wait about a week, because I'm sure you'll be busy when you get back, and if you'd like we can schedule it the following week, if that works for you. We can do either morning or afternoon. Which would you prefer?" And so the goal here is to never let the patient actually come off the schedule. If they cannot make it, you find another time, because what you want to make sure, and this is the verbiage, is that you don't have their healthcare slip through the cracks, right? And what we have found is that when patients say they will call back, life happens, and before you know it, they're three months, four months, sometimes a year, even, past due. And you can tell the patients that, because that's the truth, right? And it makes sense, and they're like, "You know what? You're right. Let me go ahead and make that appointment." And so that is the process. Now, there are going to be some patients that you're not going to get on the phone right away, so you do have an opportunity to make a few attempts. Also, as you know, there are automated processes, so we have that in place, as well. That can send an email reminder or a text reminder to the patient, and so we have that process in place, as well. But it's really nice to be able to have that phone call, because that's when patients will say, "Oh no, I'm traveling," because sometimes what happens, I know I've had this happen, as well, I'll have an appointment and I mean to call, I mean to call, but I get busy and then I'm like, "Oh no." Like it's the day before or two days before. And so if somebody called me a week ahead, and I knew that I was traveling, then I could just move the appointment, and you would have less opportunities there, in terms of the practice, to have people who are no-showing or are breaking appointments. And it's also an opportunity, as well, to be able to look at unscheduled treatment that they have not actually completed within the six months' time, and you can go ahead and get that scheduled while they're already there. Again, "Mr. Joe, you're coming in for your cleaning. We noticed that you still have two fillings that have not been done in the last six months. We'd like to get that scheduled for you while you're coming that same visit, if that works for you, so that you don't have to miss more work. We can just get it all done while you're here, and you'll be done with all of those fillings." So that's kind of the verbiage, and again, that allows you to be able to increase the production on the doctor's side, while you are also, of course, keeping your hygiene schedule consistently booked and filled. And you know, it's really interesting, a lot of times we focus on marketing, and you'll have 10 patients a month that you're getting from marketing, or 20, or 30, or 90, or whatever the number is, and a lot of times, practices are not actually checking what's happening in the back door, and you have patients that are falling through the cracks and just as you're getting 20 patients a month, you have 20 that are becoming inactive every month or have not come in for the last 18 months. And so this is a really great process that's going to allow you to be able to keep your patients healthy, keep them on track, have a really great process for communicating with your patients, making sure that you are not having patients slip through the cracks, as well as allow you to be able to do more restorative work and get that unscheduled treatment rescheduled. So I hope that helps for you, and I really love being able to share all of these amazing tips and strategies with all of you. You are my people, and I love our Delivering WOW Podcast listeners, and our Delivering WOW community. Now, if you haven't had a chance, please make sure you're joining us inside of our Facebook group, which is deliveringwowhangout.com. And if you haven't had a chance already to sign up for our next marketing and practice growth challenge, you can do that by going to deliveringwowchallenge.com. All right, guys, that is it for today. Take care and keep Delivering WOW.