Do you know how successful your recalls are?

shutterstock_275907260Rob, the marketing lead from Dentally, discusses how recalls affect dental practices using the Dentally Insight Engine and shows how you can use data to drive successful recalls.

Sixty per cent of recalls are booked within the first 30 days, what happened to the rest?

Recalls are essential to dental practices for maintaining excellent oral health for their patients, in addition to providing predictable and sustainable revenue. The problem is most practices aren’t aware of how successful their recalls are or how to improve them.

Smart analytics that empower practices to increase their revenue and provide better care to patients are vital. With that in mind let’s look at a collection recall metrics, which will serve as a basis for improving your practice.

Average days taken to book an appointment following first recall

In an ideal world all patients would book as soon as they receive their recall reminder, unfortunately this isn’t the case. A good target is to have patients book appointments within 30 days. To start let’s look at the average days taken to book a recall following the first reminder.

Untitled-1For the average practice, you can see that most booked appointments occur within the first 50 days, however a significant portion makes up a long tail extending into 200 days. This is extremely powerful to know because practices want to collapse this distribution as much as possible into the first 30 days, increasing the predictability of revenue.

You can see from the graph that after seven days since the first recall, the rate of bookings really drops off. Consider timing a secondary recall one week after the first one to jog the memory of your patients and increase the 30-day recall rate.

Recall conversion rate

The recall conversion rate represents the percentage of recalls sent that resulted in a booking as a total of all recalls sent. Simply put, a higher conversion rate means more revenue.

The typical recall conversion rate for a practice is around 70%

Another way of looking at this KPI is that 30% of recalls did not result in a booking, this is likely a symptom of perhaps bad timing or there is no clear next action for patient in the recall message.

The 30-day recall rate

The 30-day recall rate is defined as the number of patients that book appointments within 30 days of receiving their first recall. The rate is reported as a percentage of all first recalls sent.

The average 30-day recall rate of a practice is approximately 60%

If practices can increase their 30-day recall rate from 60% to even just 65% this represents an extremely tangible target for practices to increase their revenue.

So what happened to those other 40%? Well 10% resulted in bookings that usually take place after 30 days of the first recall and as mentioned before 30% typically do not result in bookings.

How might a practice increase its 30-day recall rate? It’s all in the method

There are three primary ways to issue recalls:

  1. Email
  2. SMS
  3. Letter/snail mail.

It is difficult to know which method to choose, email is the cheapest so it is tempting for a lot of practices, however is it the best?

Untitled-2It turns out that for the average practice, email is the worst performer for 30-day recall rates. SMS recalls are nearly twice as likely to get a patient to book an appointment within 30 days than an email. This is all tied to the immediacy of an SMS and the increasing prevalence of mobile engagement.

SMS drives the most appointments within 30 days of receiving the recall followed by letters and finally email lagging far behind. The relative cost of SMS and letters makes it a no brainer for practices to use SMS recalls.

If you are sending your recalls via email, by switching to SMS you can essentially double your 30-day recall rate.

This is amazing for practices to know. With Dentally you can get these KPIs and track them over time so you can really feel the pulse of how you are improving your practice.


On average 60% of recalls result in bookings within 30 days of the first recall, 10% result in bookings after 30 days and 30% of recalls result in no bookings.

Of course this is on average and every practice is different. Optimising recall conversion rates is an extremely efficient way of increasing your practice revenue. Work out your current KPIs, and try changing how you issue recalls, firstly by using SMS more, then work on refining the scheduling of your recalls.

If you need help getting a handle of these KPIs you should take a look at Dentally.

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