Appointment Reminders 101
You have practice management software that does a good job of organizing information about your patients. It might even have a tool that sends appointment reminders to patients, letting them know when an appointment is coming up. So you click a button to activate this tool, and you are all set, right?
You may believe you are doing the best you can to keep appointments top of mind and help patients get to your office when they need to be there. So why do patients keep missing appointments? And why is it such a process to get that appointment rescheduled? And worse, why do patients then fall dormant? It’s time to take a close look at your communications process to see how your practice can go beyond appointment reminders to make it easy for patients to keep appointments, reschedule missed appointments, and continue their relationship with your practice.
Basic appointment reminders fall short of good communication for several reasons—and far better solutions can amp up your communication with patients. Here are the reasons your appointment reminders fall short, as well as some solutions to take your communication to the next level:
Your texts aren’t getting through.
Some platforms are built to cross communicate on email and text—however, this can mean that your texts are blocked before they even make it to your patients’ phones. For ultimate deliverability, you need a system that is a total mobile-marketing platform, built for mobile from the ground up.
Your patients can’t easily reschedule.
If you send the basic reminder and patients find they are now unable to make the appointment, they may be able to cancel via text, but that is likely all. The process of rescheduling is now a burden to the patient that involves multiple steps—something like: Text X to cancel. Look up your office phone number or website (if they remember to even take this initiative). Navigate your website to figure out how to set up an appointment, or call and wait on hold, possibly listening to many number of options before they get through to someone. Line up their calendar with yours and reschedule. Doesn’t it make more sense to give them an easier route? They get a reminder, and, if they can’t make it, are given a chance to reschedule with a link right within that conversation? Zingit keeps the conversation going to give patients an easy path to reschedule.
Your patients can’t easily delay an appointment time.
With basic appointment reminders, a text is sent telling your patient an appointment is coming up. It might even ask them to reply with a “C” to confirm. But what about unexpected delays that hold people up? For example, a patient is on their way to a chiropractic appointment and is running late because of a meeting. A train causes an additional delay—at this point, they are going to be 20 minutes late. Your appointment reminder did its job, but it is now useless. But what if your software alerted your office staff that someone was running late and sent a text to see if they were on their way. The person responds that they are running late because of traffic. Your staff then checks the upcoming schedule and easily respond that the appointment can be pushed back 20 minutes, and the patient should be safe and take his or her time. Stress is removed from the experience and your practice knows when to expect them. It is a win-win, all because of 2-way communication.
Your communication isn’t 2-way.
Which reminds us of this important point—a basic appointment reminder is an impersonal, robotic way to communicate with your patients. It does not feel personal, and it doesn’t open up the opportunity for further response when necessary. It is talking at your patients, instead of talking with them. Far better is a two-way experience like Zingit provides, where your staff can easily go back and forth with patients having conversation, removing barriers and easing their path into your practice for their appointments.
Patients prefer texts.
If your usual process involves cancelling appointments without a simple appointment reschedule followup, your staff is likely spending a lot of time on the phone leaving voicemails. It is a growing trend that people don’t answer the phone from unfamiliar numbers. Patients let phone calls to reschedule go to voicemail, where it either dies or starts up a game of phone tag. This is a frustration for your patients, and a time-consuming process for your staff that would be better spent elsewhere. Two-way text is a far easier and more responsive way to get those appointments rescheduled.
You don’t have an easy way to track and reactivate dormant patients.
An automatic appointment reminder is one thing—an automatic followup when a patient has gone dormant for a period time is another. It’s important to tend to your existing patient base, as they know you and are familiar with the care they provide. If your patients have not rescheduled, make it easy for them to come back by continuing the conversation with them at just the right time. Learn more about reactivating patients.
It’s clear that an appointment reminder is not the same as good, two-way communication that satisfies your patients and keeps them coming back for more. Zingit can help you move beyond appointment reminders to personalized, solid communication.
Zingit is a robust tool that integrates seamlessly with your existing practice management software. It helps you to reach patients where they want to be reached and makes it easy for them to remember, reschedule, and reactivate if they ever should fall dormant. And this is just one feature of Zingit—it can also help you boost your online reputation, keep you top-of-mind for existing patients, and offer an overall amazing communication experience.
Are you interested in learning more about Zingit and getting dormant patients back into your practice? Set up a demo today!
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