Maxine Fennell

Importance of patient tracking and prompt follow up

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Tracking your patients and prompt follow up for a successful practice Providing effective follow-up to patients requires consistency and sensitivity.  It’s hard to gauge how...

Tracking your patients and prompt follow up for a successful practice

Providing effective follow-up to patients requires consistency and sensitivity. 

It’s hard to gauge how often to follow up with patients if you do not know what additional contacts they may be receiving from other coordinator staff. To maintain your balance between the twin dangers of over-contact and neglect, document all follow-up contacts in a patient’s file.

We know that you don’t want to seem pushy, so it can be difficult to develop a successful follow-up plan.

Before your patient leaves on the day of their diagnosis, make sure that they are aware that you’ll be contacting them regarding their treatment. Make sure the call happens no longer than a week from the day of their first appointment.

If you’re not willing to move through the sales funnel with a prospect, they may never reach the end. Lead generation is a process of nurturing that takes time and energy from both the prospect and the business.

Here are a few ways you can effectively follow up with your dental leads to get more conversions.

Invest in Autoresponders

If someone wants more information about your practice or the treatments you offer, make sure you respond immediately. Consider using an autoresponder to get in touch with a lead as soon as they express an interest in your business. That way, if it’s outside of working hours or if you’ve left for the weekend, you’re still acknowledging that you’ve received their message.

Use a Personalised Approach

If you’ve chosen to automate your emails, you shouldn’t lose your sense of humanity. Leads want to feel like they’re valued – not like they’re another name on a list. Make sure you use first name fields and messaging that is specific to the action they are taking. You shouldn’t be advertising your cosmetic treatments to someone who is simply asking about a free consultation. If you’re getting in touch with your leads, you’ll want to have a clear reason why. As an example: “Hello, I see that you’re interested in learning more about our dental veneers, are there any questions I can answer for you?”

Know When the Time is Right

Not all of your leads will be ready to make a buying decision when you reach out to them, and that’s okay. Perhaps you just caught them a bad time either personally or financially. You should have a system in place to follow-up with these leads without being too aggressive. Similarly, you shouldn’t be marketing to dental patients who have just gone through a costly procedure. Give them some space and consider sending a thank you note with more information on more services you provide. The key is to strike a balance – be considerate of their time and needs but don’t let leave your sight.

Let the Database Do the Work

One of the biggest reasons dental practices don’t follow up with their leads is because of limited bandwidth. It’s hard to keep track of everyone who may be interested in your business and take exceptional care of your current patients at the same time. That way, whenever you get off a phone call or schedule a consultation with someone, you can refer back to these “touch points”. Sending marketing materials to someone who has already booked an appointment can come across as unprofessional.

Learn to Let Go

Sometimes a bad lead can do more harm than good for your practice. If you’re dealing with someone who is overly aggressive or disinterested in your treatments you offer, it’s best to walk away. Marketing to the wrong person multiple times can lead to unwanted consequences, like negative feedback (commonly public) and a damaged business reputation.  Not to mention, it’s unwise to invest your time and resources into someone who is clearly a “dead end.”

Tracking where new patients are coming from

How you can track this

Regardless of whether or not you do marketing, you need to track where all of your new patients are coming from. This is easy, but if your staff are uncomfortable doing this, include it on a new patient questionnaire or on your medical history form that all new patients fill out or as a part of your new patient hygiene note. If this is not something that you are currently tracking, you should find a way to automate it. This almost guarantees that you will collect this data.

What should you do with this information?

At the end of every month, you should compile this information in a patient tracker spreadsheet. If most of your patients are coming from referrals, expand your referral base and start asking for referrals.
Another benefit of knowing who your new patients are and where they are coming from is knowing where to target! Most dentists hate to spend more money marketing, but it is even more frustrating when the money that you’re spending isn’t bringing in any new patients.

Tracking new patient recall appointments and treatment scheduled

While it is very important to increase your new patient numbers, it is more important to keep the ones you are already getting!

How you can track this

At the end of the month, have your front office reception compile this information for the new patients you saw.

What you should know

The best way to retain a patient is to get them scheduled while they are in your practice. The longer that it takes for them to schedule a next appointment, the less likely are to come back.