No-shows are the biggest revenue killer (and one of the most aggravating aspects of practice management). Practices can lose thousands of dollars every month simply because people didn't show up. Needless to say, preventing no-shows is a big deal. But what is the best way to do so? What do experts have to say about it? You've come to the right place. Let's check out what researchers say about no-shows.
Research Says . . .
Texting is Incredibly Popular
According to the Pew Research Center, texting is the most widely-used and most frequently-used app on a smartphone, with 97 percent of Americans texting at least once a day. The majority of your patients are relying on this form of communication regularly, so a reminder sent by text stands a greater chance of being received and read.
Your patients will open a text message 98 percent of the time, but most likely will open an email only 20 percent of the time according to Mobile Marketing Watch. While email is a great method for delivering longer messages, like newsletters or informational articles, a text message is the perfect method for sending a quick appointment reminder. The efficiency of text messages is also evident in how quickly they are read. Of all text messages sent, 90 percent of them are read in under three minutes. When patients receive the message, they can keep it close at hand or enter it into their personal calendar to ensure they don’t become a no-show.
Who Uses Text?
People who send more than 50 text messages a day are considered heavy users. Of these, 55 percent said they would prefer to receive a text message over receiving a phone call. It may seem ridiculous to those who are not heavy text users, but this is a growing trend. Cell phone users ages 18 - 24 send an average of 67 text messages a day, while those in the 25 - 34 age range send approximately 35 texts a day. These figures represent your future - the patients you will have for the remainder of your practice. If you want them to be loyal and to show up to appointments consistently, then text messaging is your best option for sending appointment reminders.
In a Harris Poll of cellphone users, 32 percent said they want to be able to schedule or change an appointment via text messaging. This not only is more convenient for your patients, but it decreases the chances that they will no-show for an appointment and gives you more time to fill that vacancy.
What Does It Mean?
Texting is the future, and the future is now. Being able to communicate with your patients via text messaging is a more efficient and effective method. It saves time (you no longer need manual phone calls to remind patients and having to leave voice messages they may or may not get). It’s cost-effective (an automated service can work for you so your staff can focus on important duties in your office). It’s efficient (patients are more likely to read a text than they are to check voicemail or open email). And above all, it’s a convenience your patients want. Not only are patients more likely to keep their appointments, but you’ll build loyalty among your them as well.
For more information on reducing no-shows in your practice, read our free guide.
Oldie but goodie! This post was originally published in Nov 2016 and updated in Mar 2018 as part of an on-going series highlighting popular past posts.