The recent announcement that the price of postage stamps will rise by at least 25% next spring has caused further dismay to small businesses, including dental practices.
The price rise signals the biggest change to Britain’s postal service in more than 170 years, by abolishing existing price controls on all but second-class mail and reflects the increasing costs of facilitating a six-day a week nationwide operation.
The Royal Mail recorded a £120 million loss in its letters business last year and has reported a 25% decrease in volumes since 2006.
These statistics reflect spending on postal services which has fallen to an average of just 40p per week, as the use of email and text messaging has increased.
With this in mind, dental practices still relying on letters as their main method of recalling patients, may review their existing arrangements as both the cost and reliability of the postal service comes into question.
The increase in use of text messaging and email is proving highly effective for practices and Software of Excellence have evidence (via the THRIVE business programme) that these methods improve recall effectiveness and can easily return a success rate of more than 80% successful.
Greg Clay, sales and marketing director at Software of Excellence sympathises with the plight of practices:
He said: ‘We have seen a steady flow of practices embracing text and email messaging as an alternative method of communication, as the costs and reliability are so much more effective and we expect this to turn into a flood when this increase in charges is confirmed.
‘Text messaging is the most effective recall method, it more readily elicits an immediate response from patients and its delivery can be tracked to ensure efficient use of resources.
‘Using our THRIVE programme we have evidence that proves recall effectiveness of more than 80% is achievable using these methods. We believe this is the future for recalls in UK dental practices and the Royal Mail’s price increases are making the case for text and email all the more compelling.’
Ofcom will discuss the planned reforms with stakeholders including businesses and the public during November and December before a final decision is made in the New Year.
To find out more about EXACT’s email and text messaging services, contact Software of Excellence on 0800 328 6227 or visit www.soeidental.com.