Reminders: We all need them. We all provide them. We all rely on them. No one is perfect and no one is going to be able to remember every appointment, meeting, or event, important or not. This is why we have reminder systems, such as alarm clocks, Google calendar, paper calendars, post-it notes, and an alert system for our phones, just to name a few. In the story to follow, it is important to understand that even though the names and places are fictitious, this is based on true events.
Sara’s first Dental experience started off just right, and even though she was nervous and anxious, she also held high hopes for this new Dental Practice. She did her research beforehand, making sure that she could trust this team with her oral health as her oral health was very important to her. She found it amazing that she could fill out all her medical forms online, and she thoroughly enjoyed the Dentist’s blog with powerful advice about flossing.
Sara’s next visit went even better. The atmosphere was light and friendly, the Dental Receptionist and Office Manager were sincere and willing to answer all her questions, and the wait to see her Dentist wasn’t long at all. Her nerves returned, though, because all the way there she kept worrying that the Dental Assistant and the Dentist wouldn’t understand her sensitive gag reflex issue. A handful of years ago, she saw another dentist and when she told him about her issue, he blew it off. This bad decision then resulted in an experience with a metal piece of the dental dam placed way too far back in her mouth, causing her to gag continuously until the Dental Assistant finally had to reach in and take the metal piece out. She doesn’t like to think about it, and she has never been back there since.
But when she launched into her explanation about her gag reflex issue, the Dentist and Dental Assistant were kind, and they insisted that it was a common problem they saw every day. Sara’s anxiety melted away and the entire appointment went smoothly.
Afterward, she was still sitting in the chair when she saw the assistant print something onto a small card. “What’s that for?” She asked curiously, leaning up from the chair to take a peek. The assistant smiled and handed the card out to her.
“This is our appointment card for you to keep so you don’t forget about your next appointment.”
Sara took the card from the Dental Assistant and nodded. “Oh . . . thanks. I’ll um . . . I’ll put it . . .” She dug her wallet out of her back pocket and stuffed the card in behind her debit card. She didn’t tell the assistant, but her memory was awful. Even her mother said she had the memory of a goldfish. But that’s what the card was for, right? She looked at the card and hoped to burn the appointment date into her memory: October 21st.
When she came home, she decided to clean out her wallet. So many cards in there, including an appointment card to get her hair cut at the stylist down the street (oops! Missed it by a week); a stamp card from the burger place nearest her (has only one stamp because she kept forgetting it was there); and another stamp card for a cafe she rarely visited (again, only one stamp). But this card was more important because this was her oral health.
Three days later, she lost the appointment card. It was inevitable given where she put it. She thought she lost it when she pulled her debit card out to pay for something, taking the appointment card with it. More than likely, it fell to the ground and she forgot about it. And yet, she still remembered the date of her appointment: October 21st. She went on about her life, appointment card lost and probably bouncing along a tired street downtown somewhere.
October 21st arrived, and Sara woke up that morning with a smile on her face. Guess what! She remembered her appointment! All because her oral health was so important to her!
This story sounded like it could have had a happy ever after ending, right? Unfortunately and disappointingly, no. Because even though Sara remembered her appointment, the Dentist did not. He didn’t email or call her and Sara immediately felt unimportant. It was a terrible feeling and, since she was looking for a dentist who might actually take care to prevent her from slipping through the cracks, she went searching for a new one.
Can you blame her?
This story is only one of many about patients who have been forgotten by their Dentists. Why? The simple answer is that they do not have a decent reminder system in place. Appointment cards are handy, but they should not be your only reminder. The truth is that if they are not plastic and currently containing a form of currency, they will end up getting lost well before the appointment date. If you want to give your prospective patients a happy ever after ending, be proactive with your practice by implementing a reminder system that will get the job done properly and keep track of all your patients.
It just so happens, we have an excellent automated reminder system that can do it all! Not only can you keep track of your patients with appointments, but you can also make sure that your recalls don’t slip through the cracks, either. MaxiReminder has the ability to send recalls and reminders via email and text (yes text, too! We’re that advanced!)