Almost every American has a cell phone, and texting is an excellent way to connect with these individuals (Pew Research Center, 2021). Dental offices can use text messages for an array of tasks, like sending appointment reminders or responding to questions. In a time when patients look for modern, simple tools from their providers, this convenient communication method allows people to interact with their dentists when it works for them. Let’s explore some of the ways you can use dental text messaging and how doing so can help your practice.
How Does Dental Office Text Messaging Work?
Dental office texting typically happens with the help of a provider platform. From here, you can set up automated texts, respond to messages, and implement other features. Received texts can be customized with the patient’s name, appointment information, unique links, and other details. If you have two-way messaging, patients can respond to your team by simply replying to the text. They don’t need to log into an app or get to a computer to communicate with your practice.
While dental office text messaging is convenient for the customer, the benefits extend to the practice. For example, payment reminders are helpful for patients, and more on-time payments also allow the office staff to spend less time chasing them down. Dentist text messages complement many practice management tasks, like making appointments, contacting patients, and collecting forms.
With dental texting services, you can:
- Send appointment reminders.
- Send payment reminders.
- Accept payments over text.
- Send patients forms to fill out digitally before their appointments.
- Communicate with patients.
- Collect reviews and feedback.
- Alert patients to appointment openings.
However you use it, texting for dental offices can improve many of the everyday tasks you use to keep your practice moving.
8 Ways Dental Text Messages Can Help Your Practice
Below are a few examples of how a dental texting system can benefit your office.
1. More on-time payments
Life gets busy, but automated payment reminders can help patients avoid late fees and improve cash flow for the practice. In our joint study with PYMNTS.com, over half of the patients said they were very or extremely interested in email or text notifications about their payments (2021). This sought-after feature provides reminders through a highly visible channel for more on-time payments.
2. Improved appointment scheduling and attendance
No-shows create significant costs for dental offices, and many of them stem from simple problems like forgetfulness or miscommunications. For example, a patient might write down the wrong day or go to the wrong location, resulting in a rescheduled appointment and more time required until they can receive care. Dental text reminders allow the practice to share times, dates, and relevant details like the office location and phone number.
Dentist appointment text messages can help your practice reduce no-shows. Studies have even shown that automatic reminder systems can help improve a clinic’s ability to treat more patients (Boone et al., 2022). You can also use them to fill openings and make the most of every slot in your schedule.
3. Convenient form collection
Filling out paper forms requires patients to spend more time in the office and creates cumbersome management processes for office staff. They often end up manually entering the data into an electronic system, anyway. Digital forms allow patients to enter their information at their leisure and minimize time spent in the waiting room. Almost three in five patients said this feature would encourage them to switch providers.
Although digitally filling out a form usually occurs through a separate platform, text messages are the ideal channel for sending them to patients. A convenient link can take them straight to the form for simple appointment prep.
4. More payment flexibility
Another way to help patients pay balances on time and make the experience more enjoyable is to offer more options. Text-to-Pay is an incredibly convenient feature that provides a link to online payments directly through texts. Patients can initiate their payments right from the text, minimizing friction and improving the likelihood that they’ll make their payments.
5. Comfortable communication with patients
For many patients, getting in touch with their dentist requires a phone call to the office, perhaps leaving a message, sending an email, or logging into a patient portal. A dentist texting system allows patients to contact the office with a simple text. They might ask if the office is closed for the holiday or how long they need to wait before eating after getting their teeth cleaned. These simple questions are perfect for texting platforms.
You can also use your text system to send out announcements, like notifications for office closures, adjustments to operating hours, or holiday-themed messaging. However you use it, text messaging for dentists is fast and straightforward and can help build trust between patients and providers.
6. Increased feedback responses
Modern dental practices depend on good reviews. Besides, feedback helps you learn where you can improve. Texting platforms for dentists can help facilitate reviews and feedback. Making these processes as simple as possible is key to improving participation, and texts allow you to send direct links right to your patients’ inboxes.
For example, if you want to improve your rating on Google, you might send your patients a message shortly after their appointment with a link to leave a review. It serves as both a reminder and a frictionless path to providing feedback.
7. Better patient engagement
Build stronger bonds with your patients through engaging, regular messages. Many of the above ideas can keep your practice in mind, but you can also keep patients engaged with texts like:
- Cleaning reminders
- Oral hygiene tips
- Happy birthday messages
Personal touches are a great way to connect with patients and boost engagement.
8. More free time for office staff
With all of the automated or self-service features we’ve mentioned — like Text-to-Pay, digital forms, and appointment scheduling — your office staff can enjoy more time to focus on other tasks. Digital resources offer excellent tools for minimizing demands on your team, which can eliminate long games of phone tag, manual scheduling, and other time-consuming tasks. Instead, office staff get to focus on setting important goals and offering a stellar experience for patients.
Let’s Talk About Dental Texting Platforms
To make the most of a dental texting service, Rectangle Health offers all the leading features. Easily engage with patients through an intuitive platform that connects with your electronic health record (EHR) for easy integration. You can personalize your messages, offer payment and form links, and send bulk texts to reach your goals.
Our Practice Management Bridge® builds off of texting with an array of other tools for running your dental office, like payment processing, patient financing, scheduling tools, and more. The entire platform is backed by compliant security standards and our experienced customer support team.
- Pew Research Center. (2021, April 7). Mobile fact sheet. Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech. https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/fact-sheet/mobile/
- PYMNTS.com. (2021, January 27). The Healthcare Payment Experience Report – January 2021. Pymnts.com. https://www.pymnts.com/study/healthcare-payment-experience-rectangle-health-digital-medical/