Text Messaging For Dentists
Learn how to increase your appointment show rate and keep patients informed with texting.
The top challenges facing dental practices—patient accumulation and attrition—aren’t going away anytime soon.
There’s been a 22% increase in the number of dentists since 2011, while the United States’ population growth rate is in a decades-long decline.
That’s why more than 25% of practices think competition will hurt their businesses.
We know what you’re thinking. You clicked into this article expecting to read a comprehensive guide to text messaging for dentists.
The point we’re making is that in today’s modern dental era, you need to differentiate yourself from your competition. Nothing makes you stand out more than good—no, actually, knock-your-socks-off—customer service.
Text messaging can improve your customer experience and engage patients. Here’s how to get started.
- Why Text Messaging Engages Patients
- How Dental Offices Use Text Messaging
- Text Messaging For Dentists Is Affordable and Easy to Implement
- How to Start Sending Dental Text Messages
Why Text Messaging Engages Patients
You’re skeptical when a company with texting in its name tells you that their product will solve all your problems. We get it.
But there are a ton of independent studies that show how highly customers rate the ability to text with businesses.
- In one survey, 47% of people stated they would react negatively if a company did not offer SMS as a communications channel
- 9 out of 10 consumers rate receiving text messages from businesses as important
Let’s face it: patients don’t refer your practice to their friends because your teeth cleanings are so wonderfully thorough.
That’s why communicating with your patients the way they want to be communicated with is crucial.
How Dental Offices Use Text Messaging
There are a ton of different ways that dental practices use SMS. Here are four of the most popular use cases.
Sending Appointment Reminders
On average, about 10% of dental appointments are no-shows. Smart dental practices send appointment confirmation texts and text message appointment reminders to reduce no-shows. You can even schedule recurring campaigns to deliver automated reminders on a monthly, weekly, or yearly basis!
55% of patients prefer text messages to remind them of an appointment versus email, which was chosen by only 35%. Phone calls are even lower.
Sending Special Offers and Deals
Well-planned and well-timed special and promotional offers can work wonders for increasing your dental practice’s patient base. For example, for a back-to-school campaign, you could offer a special on braces.
Online reviews for dentists have become word of mouth in the twenty-first century. Research suggests that 80% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and that positive reviews make more than 70% of consumers trust a local business more.
Make It Easy to Ask Quick Questions
A lot of dentists use texting as a way to respond to an emergency or a postoperative complication. Outside of business hours, you can keep an eye on incoming texts using the SimpleTexting mobile app. It’s a great way to foster trust and build lasting relationships.
One of the best examples of this tip came to us from Lighthouse Dental, a practice that encourages patients to text in questions and concerns.
Create a Contactless Check-In Experience
As a result of COVID-19, the last thing you want is a group of customers waiting in a room. Texting can help you maintain social distancing with an easy-to-manage waitlist.
Text Messaging For Dentists Is Affordable and Easy to Implement
There’s a misconception that it’s difficult to set up a text messaging service.
If you read through our 192 reviews on G2 Crowd, you’ll notice a trend. Many reviews from dentists like this one call out how easy it is to set up and use.
When it comes to the cost, you only pay for the texts you send, and our plans start as low as $29.
How to Start Sending Dental Text Messages
Firstly, we encourage you to do your research before deciding on a platform.
You’ll want to read reviews on third-party sites and double-check that they offer all the features you need, have a responsive support team, and an extensive library of resources.
After you make your choice, you’ll need to follow a few steps to get started. Each platform works a little differently, but here’s how SimpleTexting works.
1. Choose a Phone Number and Add Team Members
After upgrading your SimpleTexting account to a paid plan, the first step is to decide what number you want to use. You can choose to register a new text-enabled local number, verify a toll-free number, or provision a dedicated short code.
You can also choose to text-enable an existing toll-free or local number. You still receive calls as you usually would, and texts are routed to the SimpleTexting platform.
One of the benefits of this option is that your customers are likely already familiar with this number. You can read up on number types here.
The next step is to invite your team to the SimpleTexting platform so that you can share the workload.
2. Promote Your New Number
If you want existing or potential patients to text you, you’ll need to promote your phone number and let them know you can receive texts. Here are some of the ways we see dental practices promote their text-enabled number.
- You could add text messaging to your Google Business Listing
- Other practices add a click-to-text button to their website
- You can update your existing contact form or section to include the option to schedule an appointment via text message.
3. Set Up SMS Reminders (Optional)
This step is optional. Only follow it if you want to send SMS reminders.
Firstly, it’s worth checking if your practice management software integrates with Zapier. If it does, chances are you can automate the process by connecting it with SimpleTexting.
If you’re not familiar with Zapier and how it works, then check out this article.
Otherwise, you can create an easily editable template within SimpleTexting and then set aside twenty minutes to schedule reminders for the coming day. (We recommend sending them about 24 hours before the appointment.)
You can learn how easy it is to create a template here.
4. Make the Most of Our Powerful SMS Inbox
Our powerful SMS chat inbox allows you to assign conversations to colleagues, keep your inbox organized, and ensure nothing falls through the cracks.
You can also create an away message that sends 24/7 or just outside of your clinic’s hours. Use it to let patients know when they can expect to hear back from you, or give them another means to get in touch with you. Learn more about setting up an away message here.
Are You Ready to Get Started?
If you’re ready to give text marketing a try, we encourage you to sign up for a free 14-day trial account. You can send your first messages, import contacts, and explore the platform before upgrading. And yes, it’s free. No credit card, no contract, just free.
When you’re ready to upgrade to a paid account, just change your billing plan from the dashboard. Simple!