How long does it take your practice to respond? Anything but immediate responses loses patients!
Your practice pours money and focus into its marketing to gather new patients…and yet, too often would-be patient inquiries (leads) sit for hours and even days before being responded to.
Does it really matter? Is there much difference if an inquiry is answered in one minute, five minutes, an hour, or even a couple of days? The answer is a resounding YES!
Once-eager prospective patients cool by the minute as they wait for a response from your practice. Whether it's responding to an email, chat-box, phone call, form from your website, etc. the faster you respond to potential patient-driven interest, the more likely you are to convert inquiries into new patients.
Here are four reasons why prospective patients NEED a rapid response from your practice.
Now that you know the importance of quick responses, let’s go over some ways to decrease or eliminate your response times.
While the gold standard used to be a five-minute response time, that won’t cut it anymore with people’s ever-shifting attention. Even five minutes loses too many patients!
Wherever possible, automate your responses to cut the response time to zero.
Even just an automatic response text or email thanking them for their interest and letting them know they will be contacted shortly goes a long way. Remove any question about whether the inquiry has been received and set up expectations for what the patient can expect in the immediate future.
An automatic response immediately sends the message that their interest in you is valuable, even if you can't get to them immediately.
Even better than letting potential patients know you will get back to them, give them immediate options to book appointments!
Provide clear booking paths on your website. A pop-up calendar or form can meet the needs of those truly interested. Design your website to give patients as much access to booking with your practice as possible.
You may feel that an open booking system may lead to increased no-shows… Even so, it's worth having some unattended online consults when you look at those appointments that DO go through and lead to new patients.
Cut out entirely the problem of response time by allowing the patient to automatically book a consult.
Prioritize what “leads” are the most generative to become new patients.
While every inquiry into your practice should lead to some kind of automatic response and Call to Action (CTA), learn how to narrow down and focus on your most promising inquiries.
You can direct what options your potential patients will be given based on their interest level. If a website visitor is willing to fill out a form detailing their treatment interest, contact information, etc. chances are good that they would be interested in a virtual consult. So instead of manually sorting through forms and calling to book, automatically give this demographic the chance to book! This group would also be worth following up with if they choose not to book themselves.
On the other hand, for those who are looking for information on pricing, promotions, etc, the option to opt-in to promotional texts or emails might be the best CTA to present to them.
Be intentional with the CTA’s you present to your online visitors. Focus most of your energy on those who show the most promise to commit to a booking, and provide appropriate paths to all other visitors.
Time is the number one enemy to providing ideal customer service. Improve your patient’s experience and keep them in your door by cutting down on your response time!
While it can be difficult to stay on top of incoming interest across all your channels, prioritizing these leads is worth the effort. Prompt response time can become a key differentiator in setting your practice apart from the competition and optimizing new patient bookings.