4 Recall E-Mail Messages Proven to Work

By Keshav Bhat, MS, OD

Jan. 26, 2022

Every New Year’s Eve, millions of people around the globe celebrate with the hope that next year will be better than the last.

Many of our patients probably set health goals for the New Year, such as working out more and eating right. That is why the first couple months of the year is a peak time to send them a recall reminder that addresses their ocular health. By February, many may have already failed to follow through on healthy new habits like working out, but scheduling an eye exam is comparatively easy to get done.

So, if you haven’t done so already, now is the time to give your patients an extra push. Seeing well is critical to everyday function, and your patients are already thinking about how to improve themselves this year. Why not start with their eyes and vision?

With the average income per patient visit (as a conservative estimate) around $300, and comprehensive exams as the biggest revenue generator for most practice, adding just two more patients per day can increase monthly gross to $12,000, and lead to an average net of $3,600 each month.

E-mail, Mail & Text Patients It’s Time to Come In
Motivate them at just the right time by sending an e-mail or postcard sometime between early January and mid-February. If your practice uses text message marketing, sending recall alerts that way can also be highly, if not even more, effective.

The message should let them know that their benefits have reset. We recommend sending a postcard or text to those who don’t have an e-mail on file [this is something your front desk staff has to work hard on] and send an e-mail to everyone else. Most people prefer to respond to an e-mail to request an appointment, preferably with a link to the contact form or appointment scheduler. They are able to take action immediately instead of having to call at a later time after receiving a postcard.

This reminder will effectively target:
1. Patients overdue for an exam – consider sending to patients you have not seen in over 18 months.

2. Patients contemplating a treatment or procedure such as iLux/Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and so on. Perhaps they were waiting for their benefits to renew or maybe they just got busy toward the end of the year.

3. Patients who waited too long to schedule and were unable to make an appointment and get on your schedule in December.

4. New patients. The beginning of the year is a great time to acquire new patients because many people are motivated to check things off their to-do lists. Finding a new eyecare provider after a long hiatus might be on their to-do list.

Consider Implementing A Recall Project
To take your recall efforts a step further, it’s a good idea to conduct an office-wide effort at the start of every year. Its purpose is to bring back overdue patients who have “fallen through the cracks.” Send a postcard to all patients who have not visited your office for at least 15-18 months, dating back 3-5 years.

Write “Return Service Requested” on the front of the card. This step is important because if the card is returned, you will know their address has changed. Your team can update their information and send out another card. There is sometimes a small fee for this service, but it is cost-effective and worthwhile.

New Year’s Resolutions E-mail Templates
The beginning of the year presents less urgency than your “end of the year” insurance reminder, but still works to bring patients to your office. Vary your medium to keep it interesting. You can send an e-mail, postcard and text-message reminder. If you send out an e-mail to your patients in January, you can follow-up with a postcard a few weeks later. In our office we use Weave to implement e-mail and text communications strategies.

If your practice is too busy in January, wait until the beginning of February or March to send this reminder. You can even turn the message into a “spring cleaning” reminder.

We’ve created four sample e-mail templates for you to send to your patients. Feel free to use them as is or to make adjustments.

Sample E-Mail 1
Subject: A New Year Means New Benefits
Dear [patient name],

Happy New Year! We want to remind you that almost all insurance companies renew your vision benefits at the start of each year.

You can take advantage of these benefits for yourself and your family to see well in [Insert year]. If your eyewear needs updating, now is the time to make an appointment!

Kick-start your health goals for the year and make an appointment today. Your eye health can reveal a lot about your overall health. Remember, if you don’t use your insurance benefits, you lose them. Your eyecare insurance plan works best for you when you put it to work on a regular basis.

Please call our office at [number] or reply to this e-mail to schedule an appointment, or if you have any questions about your benefits. We hope to see you soon!

Your eyecare team at [practice name]
P.S. If you have friends or family who you feel would benefit from our excellence in service, please send them our way. We’ll take good care of them!

Sample E-Mail 2
Subject: Smile into the New Year
Dear [patient name],

The start of the year is always buzzing with promises to make positive and healthy changes. Now is the best time to make those resolutions come true!

Please call us now to schedule an appointment for an eye exam and brighten up your eyewear. This is the best time to get in before the lazy days of summer begin.

Call us at [phone number] or contact [e-mail] to schedule.

We are looking forward to seeing you soon!
Your eyecare team at [practice name]

Sample E-Mail 3
Subject: Insurance Benefits in the New Year
Dear [patient name],

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions at the start of each year?

Whether or not visiting our office is on your resolutions list, maintaining your eye health is just as important as your overall health.

Start the year off right by scheduling an appointment today! Almost all insurance companies renew eyecare benefits at the start of each year.

It’s important to see us on a regular basis. And we love seeing you!

Call us at [phone number] or contact [e-mail] to schedule.
We are looking forward to your call!
Your eyecare team at [practice name]

In the era of dry eye management, IPL treatments, aesthetic eyecare, and other advanced medical eyecare treatments, many of your patients may benefit from specific services in your office. If your electronic health record allows for you to identify patients who are good candidates for specific services, the following template may help.

Sample E-Mail 4 (patients with incomplete treatment)
Subject: We miss seeing you in the office! Complete your treatment using your renewed eyecare benefits

Dear [patient name],
Happy [insert year]! The New Year brings with it positive energy, a fresh start and renewed resolutions.
Make an appointment today to complete your outstanding eyecare treatment we recommended.

We would love to schedule a convenient appointment time for you. Please give us a call today at [office number] or respond to this e-mail. We hope to see you soon!

Your eyecare team at [practice name]

I hope these strategies help in boosting recalls and adding new patients to your practice. Have a fantastic 2022!

Keshav Bhat, MS, OD, is the owner of Union Family Eye Associates in Charlotte, N.C. To contact him:


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