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How to Reactivate Lapsed Patients Over the Phone

Some dentists choose to reactivate patients using a series of emails, direct mail, sales letters, coupons and various other types of “influencers.”

 

Other dentists prefer the more personal route, which is a good old-fashioned telephone call (most likely made by someone from their team) directly to the patient.

 

But sometimes, when we actually place that call, it’s hard to know what to say.

 

For those of you who prefer to have a team member call a lapsed patient: Here’s a tool that you can hand out to your team in order to provide some guidance.

 

In any case, we hope this helps you and your team members reactivate your lapsed patients, and boost production for your practice month after month.

 

WHEN YOU GET A PATIENT ON THE PHONE:

 

The following can be used as a standard message.

 

However, if you have a good relationship with the patient, it really helps to bring some personal information into the call. For example, ask about their spouse or children, their health, that vacation they told you about, etc. This makes them feel close to you again, which ultimately re-ignites their loyalty.

 

Hi {Patient Name}, this is {Caller’s name} at { dental practice’s name}. I was thinking about you the other day, and I realized that it’s been awhile since we’ve seen you! So I checked your records, and it’s been {number} months.

 

I’m not sure why we failed to schedule your next visit when you were here last – we can probably just chalk it up to some kind of miscommunication.

 

Either way, it’s been ages since your last cleaning/check up, so it’s important to get you set up with an appointment! Perhaps sometime over the next few weeks would work? Do you have a day or time preference? We have {list some days and times} available if that lines up with your schedule.

 

If the patient is receptive, you can finish by repeating the appointment day, and time:

 

Perfect! So we’ll be expecting you on the {day/month} at {time}. Looking forward to seeing you again!

 

If the patient you’ve contacted isn’t receptive, or seems hesitant about setting up a concrete time/date for an appointment, follow with this instead:

 

I’m sensing a little hesitation. But you can totally let me know if I can help with you with any concerns you may have – even if we’re losing you as a patient! That way, we can update our records. If we’ve lost you, we’ll miss you – but I promise we won’t take it personally.

 

You can prompt the lapsed patient with questions like:

 

- Have you moved?

 

- Have you changed your insurance plan, and we’re not on the list of providers?

 

- Lots of people are having trouble affording dental visits these days. If that’s the case, we’re happy to help you with that if you’re open to talking about it.

 

- Are you using a different dentist now? You can tell me, I won’t cry, I promise!

 

If they answer with something that you’re able to help them with – like cost – then by all means, help them out, and book them in! However, if you’ve lost that patient “for good,” then simply say:

 

I’m sorry we won’t be seeing you again… we’re going to miss you! We’ve enjoyed you so much as a patient. If anything changes, and there’s a chance we may see you again, PLEASE don’t hesitate to call! Best wishes, and take care {patient name}.

 

WHEN YOU GET AN ANSWERING MACHINE:

 

First Message:

 

Hi {Patient Name}, this is {Caller’s name} at {Practice’s name}. I was thinking about you the other day, and I realized that it’s been awhile since we’ve seen you! So I checked your records, and it’s been {number} months.

 

I’m not sure why we failed to schedule your next visit when you were here last – probably just some kind of miscommunication.

 

Either way, it’s been ages since your last cleaning/check up, so it’s important to get you set up with an appointment! Can you call me back at xxx-xxx-xxxx? That’s xxx-xxx-xxxx. You can reach me {days and times}. If these times aren’t convenient for you, please leave a message for me with the best time to call you back, and I’ll reach you then. Thanks! Looking forward to hearing from you!

 

Second Message If You Don't Hear Back:

 

Hi {Patient Name}, this is {Caller’s name} at {your dental practice’s name}. I called a few days ago and left a message about how it’s been over {number} of months since your last cleaning / checkup. I’m just being persistent because it’s important for your oral health to get you set up with an appointment.

 

Since I didn’t hear back from you, I just want to make sure that everything’s okay. If you want to discuss any issues or obstacles that are getting in the way of your regular visits, I’m really happy to talk to you about them. I’ll do my best to help! Call me {days and times} at xxx-xxx-xxxx. Even if you’ve moved, or you’re trying a new dentist, we’d really appreciate hearing from you so that we can update our records and stop bugging you! Again, my number is xxx-xxx-xxxx. Really looking forward to hearing from you! Talk soon, {patient name}.

 

Note: If applicable, it’s really beneficial to provide your lapsed patients with an email address as well. If it’s bad news for you (for example, of they’ve found a new dentist) they’re more likely to use an email to notify you of that.

 

Either way, you win – because it’s best to keep your records as up-to-date as possible. You want to move lapsed patients into the “active” file, find out the reasons for why they lapsed, discover why they left your practice – and ultimately, save time and money for your dental practice.

 

 

 

 

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