Ordering pizza. Finding a business’ hours. Buying concert tickets. This is a very short list of activities that, not too long ago, were performed over the phone. While the option still exists, these and many other tasks have shifted largely to being done online – and this can be explained by a few factors. First of all is convenience: it’s much easier to complete a task autonomously without depending on the input and receptivity of another party. Additionally, some people – especially millennials – don’t really like talking on the phone.
There are so many businesses helping increase sales and engagement by offering online access to services, and dental practices are no different. By offering booking and scheduling services online, practices can open themselves up to a wealth of bookings, both from existing patients who will appreciate the convenience and new patients who perhaps had reservations about calling. Additionally, some prospective patients may simply not have time during the day. They may be hard at work during your hours of operation and unable to place a call to schedule an appointment. Appointment booking service, Zocdoc asserts that 45% of their bookings occur after the business day has ended. What’s more, according to a study performed by global management consultants Accenture, “by the end of 2019, 66 percent of US health systems will offer digital self-scheduling and 64 percent of patients will book appointments using digital tools. Nearly 38 percent of appointments will be self-scheduled— that’s almost 986 million appointments —creating $3.2 billion in value.” That’s a lot of appointments – and a lot of value!
What’s more, shifting to online booking and scheduling can help free up time for your staff, both in performing their normally scheduled duties and assisting patients who need help right then and there. Time spent playing phone tag with patients, leaving and listening to voicemails, making confirmation and follow-up calls and manually inputting data can add up more quickly than you might think.
There are a number of companies that can help your practice implement online booking and scheduling with relatively little work on your part. These companies include the aforementioned Zocdoc, Demandforce, LocalMed and Solutionreach. These companies will walk you through how to set up and implement their scheduling systems, which can be as simple as providing a link on your website or social media pages.
Keep this in mind as you continue to perfect your website and marketing strategy, and stay tuned to our blog for more industry tips and insights.