7 Steps to a Successful Patient Reactivation Program

October 12, 2017 Rieva Lesonsky

Does your dental practice have too many empty slots in the schedule? Perhaps it's time to implement a patient reactivation program. Over time, patients may leave your practice without you realizing it. Replacing those patients with new ones is time-consuming and costly. It's much more efficient, not to mention better for your practice’s reputation, to reach out to keep existing patients coming back.

Here are seven steps to a successful reactivation program:

  1. Identify patients who have not been seen in more than six months. Start by reaching out to those you saw most recently; those patients are often the easiest to get back into your office. Lighthouse 360 saves you time by automatically identifying dormant patients in your system, and sending them recall emails and letters.
  2. Personalize your communications. Emails and letters should come from the patient's dentist and be personalized to the patient's individual situation. For example, if someone has missed a hygiene appointment, remind him or her of the importance of preventive dental care to avoid bigger problems down the road.
  3. Call them. If you don't hear back from dormant patients after contacting them via email and letter, reach out with a personal phone call. Again, express why you hope will come back to your practice and why it's so important for them to maintain regular dental care.
  4. Learn from your mistakes. When communicating with dormant patients, try to find out the reason they haven't visited your practice in a while. Sometimes it's due to personal issues, but often it's a result of problems with your scheduling, outreach and customer service. For example, is your scheduling disorganized, with your staff often asking patients to reschedule appointments at the last minute? Perhaps you and your hygienists aren't adequately explaining the importance of preventive dental care and follow-up treatments. Or maybe your patients feel that treatment is too expensive and aren't aware of financing options or payment plans that you offer.
  5. Send reminders. When patients do respond to your recall emails and letters, and your front desk staff makes an appointment, Lighthouse 360 lets you set up appointment reminders automatically so they don't miss it. You can also turn on reminder messaging for patients who are returning for recommended treatment plans.
  6. Treat them right. When dormant patients to return to your office, make sure their experience surpasses expectations. Your goal is to remind them what they're missing by not keeping a regular schedule of dental care.
  7. Devote time each day to patient reactivation. When you use Lighthouse 360, it doesn't take long at all. Set goals for your front office staff, such as contacting X number of dormant patients and scheduling X number of appointments with recalled patients each day. Lighthouse 360 even creates a front desk task list your staff can refer to every morning so they always know what's expected from them.

Review the results of your patient reactivation program on a regular basis. If you do it right, a reactivation program can help your practice turn dormant patients into regular patients.


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