DON’T LOSE THAT PATIENT! SUCCESS is in the follow-thru.

A first time patient may have been very impressed with the warmth and consideration shown by the Dentist and the dental team. The patient seemed eager to get started and the next appointment was made. A Treatment Plan was prepared, to be presented, or to begin. A week has passed and the patient has just called to cancel or, even worse…. does not show for the appointment. What went wrong?

In almost all cases, the disjunction was caused by a lack of continuous COMMUNICATION.


Here are few ideas to keep our patient engaged between visits by follow-thru. Please add your great ideas to the list. The objective is to build a lifelong relationship with our patient.

1. Send a New Patient Welcome Package after their first call to let them know how pleased you are that they chose you.
2. A friendly, engaging Confirmation Call– referring to the patient’s “clinical concerns“. Remember that this appointment is about THEM.
3. A visit-ending “debriefing”, recapping what was done today and the importance of the next visit. Stress the clinical concerns. Do this for closure at the end of every visit.
4. A follow-up letter or e-mail .telling them how you enjoyed meeting them and welcoming them into your family of patients.
5. Ask for permission to send them monthly e-newsletters with timely, interesting and fun-packed health-oriented information.

Does this seem like a waste of important administrative (front desk) time? Compare this investment to the loss of one hour in your schedule.

Make the right pitch and follow-thru. To a baseball pitcher, the trajectory of your arm, after the release of the ball, is a critical component to get the ball to a predictable location. You’re playing on a large field; DON’T LOSE THAT PATIENT! SUCCESS is in the follow-thru.


These are a few ideas for a start. What do YOU do, between visits, to maintain and grow that relationship, and make your patient eagerly look forward to that next appointment?

Do you want to read more about Schedule Productivity? : “How to fill a dental schedule hole caused by a last minute cancelation?”


  1. Calling a new patient 1 or 2 days after their consultation appointment to see if they have any questions. If they haven’t yet made an appointment to start treatment, what are their concerns?

  2. Effective patient communication is key to a successful practice! On a weekly basis, our office follows up any cancelled appointments patients with scheduling options, this has been successful and takes minimal time and effort.

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