When it comes to communicating with your patients, two-way texting might be one of the greatest tools you have. Email is, of course, an important element to any strong marketing plan and an updated appointment book. But two-way texting has become a secret weapon in the fight for a balanced, accurate schedule.
We explained why in more detail in another recent post: Let’s Chat: How Two-Way Texts Improve Patient Turnout + A How-To
It would be a good idea to read that one first and then come back to this post. But this is the gist:
Texts can often be much more effective than email and they are less “invasive” than a phone call.
Trust us, many of your patients would rather receive a text they can reply “yes” or “no” to than a phone call from your office. (And that also saves your team time!)
But even once you have read everything about two-way texts and come to your own conclusion about their benefits, you might be thinking, “So, do I just send appointment confirmation requests?”
Well, you definitely do that! But there are tons of other great ways to utilize this tool, and that’s what we’re covering today.
Here’s what your dental practice should be sending via two-way texting:
Appointment Reminders and Confirmation Requests
We’re starting off with the one we already touched on. The beauty of two-way texting for reminders and confirmations is how seamless it is for your patient.
Although some people find it hard to believe, not everybody checks their email regularly. It is still a high-performing avenue of marketing and communication, but when it comes to something as time-sensitive as appointment info, two-way texting outperforms it. Almost everyone checks text message notifications at least hourly.
On top of that, replying “yes” or “no” to a text message takes almost no effort. By comparison, you would likely need to click a link to a form if you wanted to confirm an appointment via email. That’s still pretty easy, we know, but in our fast-paced world, the simplest option is always best.
One study by AJMC found that sending reminders both three days and one day before an appointment was more impactful than choosing just one of those, so keep that in mind!
We recommend sending a reminder three days in advance and those actual “yes” or “no” confirmation texts the afternoon before, because it gives the patient one final reminder to reschedule if something unexpected has popped up at the last minute.
Promotions and Specials
Another great way to utilize texting is to advertise promotions and specials. Remind patients that you offer a dental membership plan or wish them a happy holiday with a 10% discount on restorative treatments as a gift.
Anytime you have a discount or new offering on the table, make sure it gets blasted out to your text message list.
One note on this content type: If you feel that the appeal of the promotion is unclear without a certain amount of explanation, start with a blog post (more on the beauty of a blog, here)! That way, you can incorporate a larger volume of information than a text message can accommodate.
Once your blog post is live, you could do something like the following.
Let’s say you want to send a two-way text advertising your dental membership plans, but you also know that a lot of your patients need to learn about what the plan even is. Deploy a two-way text that says something like this:
“Hey there, [patient name]! Did you know that dental membership plans can save you an average of [dollar amount] per year in cleanings when compared to your insurance premium? Yes, really! If you want to learn more, visit our blog post on the topic: [put blog post link here]”
We already mentioned the concept of sending a nice message wishing them a happy holiday, but that was in the context of a seasonal discount. We want to emphasize here that sending celebratory text messages is a great idea even if you don’t include any discount, promotion, or dental info.
A big part of client recall in any industry is the relationship you are building. The subhead on a Dentistry IQ article says it best: “creating good patient relationships positively affects a dentist’s bottom line and helps maintain the strong bottom line.” That article is full of other insights on how great patient connection could lead to a $74,000 gain—it’s an interesting read!
And one of the ways you can build and maintain those connections is through the celebratory occasions most, if not all, of us embrace and enjoy.
We aren’t only talking about the big holidays of November through January. We’re also referring to everything from seasonal well wishes to birthday messages. Here are some of our favorite ideas for quick, fun text messages that remind your patient how much they love you and your team:
- Happy Summer Vacation! Remember, free time is dentist time! ;)
- The team at [Practice Name] hopes your kiddos have an awesome time getting back to school!
- Spooky scary … cavities! We hope you don’t have any, but we’d love to see you soon if you do. Happy October!
- Happy Halloween! Remember, candy coma for one night only!!
- Happy Birthday, [Patient Name]! Your teeth might be one year older, but we think they’re looking great!
And really, those are just a few ideas. There are so many small holidays and occasions you can celebrate with a quick, easy-to-produce little text. Low effort, but tons of impact—win win!
After all of the marketing and appointment booking and dentistry work is done, there are still collections to worry about. And depending on how you look at it, this is the most important step of all! You’re passionate about dentistry, but you won’t be able to keep devoting yourself to it if you aren’t getting paid.
Enter, once again, two-way texting.
In many cases, an unpaid balance is due to simple forgetfulness. Sure, there are patients who can’t or don’t want to pay you. But most of them just forgot about that bill they got in the mail. It’s now stuffed under a pile of papers in the junk corner of the kitchen or at a recycling plant.
But if you text them a reminder, you put it right back onto their mental to-do list! Include the number they can call or link they can use to pay, and you might find yourself getting those full payments minutes after you deploy the text messages.
Better yet, purchase a program like PaymentVision’s Pay by Text! Using this high-tech solution, you can actually receive payments via text. There are other companies that have similar services, but PaymentVision does offer demos!
Online Review Requests
We recently posted a blog outlining how online reviews can turbocharge your practice’s growth. You can learn more by reading it, but the summary is that this is a method of advertising that you shouldn’t ignore. New and returning patients alike want to be reassured by seeing what people like them thought of your practice. And bad reviews need to be answered!
One of our key pieces of advice in that blog post is to do just that—combat negative reviews—by encouraging your happy patients to leave positive ones. Do you see where we’re going with this? …
Send two-way text messages after every appointment that direct patients to the review platform of your choice! It makes it simple and straightforward. They don’t have to remember where to leave a review. They don’t even have to remember to figure that out. They just have to click the button that pops up right on their phone.
Two-way texting is a beautiful tool for dentists, because it enables close and immediate connections with your patients. It makes every action you need them to take easier and less stressful. It’s intuitive and quick. What more do our 21st-century minds crave?
To recap, make the most of your practice’s two-way texting platform, by using it for:
- Appointment Reminders and Confirmation Requests
- Promotions and Specials
- Occasion-Related Notes
- Balance Notices
- Online Review Requests
If you’ve got more questions or are thinking about how you might go about creating a dental membership plan worthy of text-blasting, we would love to chat with you at firstname.lastname@example.org!