Canada Post will soon render the recall postcard too expensive and ineffective. It's time to find an alternative.

Recall Appointment Postcard

Recall postcards have been a great way to contact patients for decades. They are simple, customizable, informative, and until the recent years, the most cost effective way to remind patients to schedule an appointment.

The cards for many patients were expected on a bi-yearly or yearly basis. My own dentist would send a card with a witty dental joke which I had always enjoyed.

While the postcards have been sufficient for years, Canada Post (CP) is working on making them a thing of the past. As of January 2014, Canada Post charges you $0.65 for a single stamp. By the end of March you'll be paying $0.85. That is considering you are buying in bulk. For those people buying single stamps, they'll pay a whopping $1.

The increase is the result of Canada Post's attempt to resolve their quickly rising debt problem. It has been estimated that CP will be losing $1-billion every year by 2020.While CP is implementing many cost cutting processes, it may be fighting a losing battle. We realize the increasing debt is caused by multiple factors. The first being rising costs. The second being a decrease in demand for letter services. We can only assume that the cost of sending postcards will continually increase, while their effectiveness will decrease.

Our neighbours to the south of us, U.S. Postal Service, is in the same boat. By the year 2017, they will have an estimated debt of $45-billion. Similar to Canada Post, increasing costs and lower demand plague the UPS.

The question for us is, are the recall postcards still the most effective way to contact your patients? If you answer yes, then for how long?

Postcards are time consuming, cumbersome and expensive to send. If you haven't already taken a look at alternatives I recommend looking into an automated email reminder service.

You can send an email for a fraction of the cost of a postcard. Not to mention that you can fill it will all of the necessary information which your patient will need to schedule their appointment.

An added bonus of email is the ability to automate the whole process. This will give your staff the time to do other important revenue generating tasks.

We all know that not every patient will schedule their recall appointment with just one postcard. With the decreased costs and automation, you will be able to send multiple reminder emails to your patients. In the end, you'll schedule more recalls with lower costs and less effort.

If you haven't done so already, collect your patient's email addresses!

Canada Post may be increasing their fees while decreasing services, but you now have alternatives. The trend of Canada Post is toward a very limited letter service. It's anyone's guess when we'll be back to using the Pony Express.