A high number of new patient inquiries (whether by phone, email or other sources) does not always translate to actual new patients in the schedule.
What causes this? And how do we correct it?
The most important thing you can do to close the gap is track your metrics. Provide your front office with a spreadsheet to track who called or emailed from what source, how many turned into actual patients, and what that translated into in terms of production dollars. This type of visibility on your marketing data will allow you to see whether transitioning new patient inquiries into actual new patients is an issue for your practice. You may be surprised!
Beyond that, be sure to respond to new patient inquiries right away. New patients who make inquiries should be scheduled within two hours of contacting the office, even if it’s after hours. Be sure phones are answered around the clock. Those in the Millennial generation typically do not leave a voicemail; if you haven’t answered, you have lost them. Consider assigning one person to answering inquiries even if they arrive after hours or on the weekend.
Monitor the front office to ensure that calls and emails are answered in the spirit of excellent customer service. Consider recording calls to use for training purposes; specific tracking numbers that record calls should be used on all marketing materials. Training from experts like the Scheduling Institute may be a good resource for improving phone skills. It’s not to say that your front office is doing it wrong. There are plenty of things that they are doing right. But to get an inquiry to convert to a paying patient, certain nuances and even a bit of magic are needed. These are teachable skills.
Finally, use a program like Demandforce, Lighthouse 360 or Solutionreach to initiate appointment reminders via phone call, email and text. The more ways you remind the patient, the more likely they are to make the appointment. Hold openings in the schedule so that new patients can be seen within 48 hours of contacting the practice.
Make the most of every new patient inquiry, and you’ll make sure every chair is filled every day!
Need help boosting new patient numbers? Contact us today.