If you’ve ever tried recalling your patients to remind them about an upcoming appointment or to schedule their next visit, you likely know that recalling patients is a lot easier said than done. We know finding the time to recall patients can be hard when your administrative staff are already overtaxed with regular day-to-day operations. This is truer than ever in our post-COVID era where surfaces must be regularly and thoroughly sanitized for the sake of your patients. In this blog post, we provide 5 useful patient recall scripts that will make recalling patients straightforward and simple. Although working from a script can be less personal, it can be an efficient way to get the job done. As with any interaction, keeping a pleasant and non-judgmental tone of voice is key to successfully recalling and retaining your patients.
Underlined sections are variable words.
Script for Scheduling Patient’s Next Appointment
This basic script is for scheduling a patient’s appointment and should ideally be done no more than a week* after their initial appointment. Note that this is different from the script for calling a patient if their next appointment/checkup is due soon. When asking for a day and time that works best for them, first suggest if they would prefer the same day and time they had before. This might be the time that’s most convenient for them. If not, they’ll also be able to correct you!
“Good morning, Arthur! I’m calling from Dr. Simon’s office and would like to schedule your next dental appointment for a day and time that works best for you. Would you prefer Tuesday at 2pm again?”
“Great! We’ve scheduled you for Tuesday, September 12, at 2pm and will have this time reserved for you. We’ll confirm this appointment with you three days prior to the appointment date. “
The Hesitating Patient
If the patient seems hesitant or unsure when they’re next available, explain the benefits of scheduling them in advance in a way that does not pressure them. Let them know what kind of flexibility you can offer and what your clinic’s cancellation policy is.
“We know it can be difficult to arrange things in advance when you don’t know what your schedule is going to look like. Unfortunately, our hygiene schedule fills up quickly and we may have trouble finding an appointment that works for you later on. However, we can also schedule you for an appointment now so that you will be reserved in the system. If you need to change it closer to the appointment date, you can just give us a call two days in advance! Does that sound like something that would work for you?”
“Great! We’ve scheduled you for Tuesday, September 12, at 2pm! Would you like us to give you a follow up call one week in advance to confirm your appointment?”
“Perfect! We’ve made a record on your file to give you a call in advance to confirm the appointment. Do you have any questions? We’ll be in touch then. Have a great day!”
Script for Confirming Patient Appointments
This script can be used when calling to reconfirm an appointment that a patient may have been unsure about.
“Good evening, Hiro. This is Octavia calling from Nagakura Dental. I’m calling in advance to confirm the dental appointment we had reserved for you on Tuesday, September 12, at 2pm. Can I confirm this appointment?”
“Great! Would you like another reminder call before your appointment? Sounds good. We look forward to seeing you soon!”
If you are unable to reach the patient at the time, what you may say in the voice message you leave could depend on your clinic’s policies or your previous conversation with the patient. For example, if you had last spoken to the patient and told them they should call if they need to cancel. In another example, a clinic might have a strict verbal confirmation only policy wherein a patient is required to call and confirm with a staff member that they will be showing up to their appointment. If you are unsure, it may be a good idea to consult the manager or business owner.
“Hello, this is Octavia from Nagakura Dental calling for Hiro. I’m calling in advance to confirm the dental appointment we had reserved for you on Tuesday, September 12, at 2pm. If you could please contact our office at 403-123-4567 to confirm your appointment, that would be great! We look forward to hearing from you. Have a great day!”
Script for Releasing Patient Appointments
Sometimes in situations such as in the above examples, patients will not respond to confirmations. In these cases, sometimes you have no choice but to open their appointment slot to other patients. If you are able to reach the patient during this call, try to confirm the appointment; if not, ask if they would like to reschedule to a time that is more convenient for them.
“Good morning, Ranjit. This is Colin calling from Baron Dental Centre. I had left a message for you to confirm your upcoming dental appointment on Tuesday, December 9, at 11am but unfortunately did not hear back. Are you able to confirm the appointment now? If not, we will need to release the appointment slot to our other patients, but we can reschedule you for a time that might be more convenient for you.”
“I can do that! What day or time works best for you? Would Friday, December 12, at 3pm work for you?”
“Excellent. We have you confirmed for Friday, December 12, at 3pm for your dental checkup. We look forward to seeing you then! Have a great day!”
When leaving a voice message, it is a good idea to set expectations for when they need to get in touch in order to keep their appointment. Even if you don’t hear from them, you don’t have to consider the bridge burnt. You can move on to the section after this to remind them of upcoming checkups or appointments.
“Hi, Ranjit. This is Colin calling from Baron Dental Centre. I had left a message for you last week to confirm your upcoming dental appointment on Tuesday, December 9, at 11am but unfortunately did not hear back. If you would like to keep this appointment, please give us a call by Monday, December 1 to confirm the date and time; if not, we will need to release the appointment slot to our patients, but we are happy to reschedule the appointment for you! Please give us a call at 403-123-4567. We look forward to hearing from you. Thanks!”
Script for Patients Due for Checkups or Appointments
This script is for when you need to reach out to a patient to remind them that they are almost due for their regular yearly checkup or hygiene appointments. Typically, the patient will not likely have heard from you in the past several months so it’s important to give them the full context for who you are, where you’re calling from, and why.
“Hello, Miranda. This is Julio calling from Dali Family Dental. Our records indicate that you are due for your next dental examination soon and if it’s convenient for you, we can schedule you for an appointment right now so that you’re reserved in our system! Would you like to do that?”
“Great! Is there a date or time that works best for you? If you’d like the earliest possible appointment, we have a spot open on Monday, August 15, at 9am. Would this appointment time work for you?”
“Okay, great! We have your appointment booked for Wednesday, August 18, at 2pm. Would you like a reminder call before your appointment? We can do that for sure! We look forward to seeing you at your appointment.”
A Voicemail Response
In the event that you get the patient’s voicemail, you can use the following script.
“Hello, Miranda. This is Julio calling from Dali Family Dental. Our records indicate that you are due for your next dental examination soon and we’d like to schedule an appointment at a time that is most convenient for you. As Dr. Malik’s schedule fills up very quickly, I’d like to try to schedule an appointment that’s convenient for you as soon as possible so we can reserve your slot before the schedule fills up any further. If you’d like to schedule an appointment, please call our office at 403-123-4567. Thanks. Have a great day!”
Script for Patient Reminders
While some clinics may opt for sending out email or text reminders, other clinics might not have the technology to do this. Use this script for when you’re sending out reminder calls to patients for their upcoming appointments. As a patient may not have heard from you in a while, remember to state where you’re calling from and the appointment type. If there are any preparations they need to take care of before their appointment (taking medication, fasting etc.), remind them of those too. A similar script can be used for voicemail as well.
“Hi, Fatima. This is Alexandra from Figaro Dental. I’m calling to remind you of your hygiene appointment on Friday, January 28, at 1pm. This appointment requires fasting, so please make sure not to eat or drink anything at least 3 hours before the appointment. If you have any questions, please feel free to let me know or give us a call at 403-123-4567! We look forward to seeing you soon. Have a great day!”
At U R DUE, we believe recalling patients is an art form and we take pride in making sure that we take the time to personally get to know each patient and connect with them. Research shows that customer service is of the utmost importance, even in (or maybe especially in) vital areas like the healthcare sector. Making sure that your practice is maximizing its bookings is key to creating a successful business. We want to help you do that. Let us help your practice reach its full potential. Contact us today and ask us how we can help!