Patient Response Time Matters

How long does it take your practice to respond? Anything but immediate responses loses patients!

Patient Response Time: Time is the Enemy

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. 

Why Do Potential Patients Need Immediate Response Times?

Here are four reasons why prospective patients NEED a rapid response from your practice.

  • Every passing second decreases the likelihood of booking

    Online inquiries/leads have a very short life span. From the second these messages are sent, the likelihood of patient conversion decreases as time goes by.

    Why? For one, medical aesthetics are a luxury, not a necessity, for most people.  While potential patients may be reaching out in a moment of interest, it doesn't take long for them to look elsewhere or lose interest in treatment entirely if not immediately responded to with an encouraging response. 

    On the other hand, research shows that the likelihood of booking goes up exponentially the sooner they’re responded to. For example, according to this Harvard Business Review, online leads that are responded to within the first hour are SEVEN times more likely to have a productive conversation than those that waited for even one hour longer. From there, they become SIXTY times more likely to be productive than companies that waited over 24 hours to respond. (These numbers are mind-boggling when the statistics show that 23% of companies never respond to online leads, and for those that do the average response time is 42 hours!). 

    The fact is: The faster you respond to an inquiry, the more likely you are to book an appointment and begin building a patient relationship. Response time matters!

  • Patients EXPECT a quick response- they don’t want to be left in the dark!

    Don't leave your future patients wondering what’s going on. 

    We’ve all had the experience of showing up to a business to an empty front desk. As the seconds and minutes tick by, you wonder if this company is legitimate if their reception area is managed so poorly, and you constantly consider leaving. Even if you stick around until someone shows up, the customer experience is so poor that you would be hard-pressed to come back to this business again.

    Don’t put your potential patients through this virtually! If they come to you online, they expect you to be there–with a welcoming and grateful response that they have come to you. 

    Cut out any mental strain for your prospects by being available to those showing interest in your practice and providing them with the next steps.

  • Patients feel VALUED and VALIDATED that they came to the right place

    In addition to cutting out confusion on your patients' end, an immediate response goes far in communicating that each potential patient is valuable to your practice. 

    Just as you would warmly welcome a walk-in to your practice, you need to demonstrate to your virtual visitors that you are thrilled to see them there and available to help meet their needs. Whether it's information, comparisons, or help with booking, the customer experience while receiving this help goes far into building trust with your practice. 

    Don’t forget that many new patients are hesitant or self-conscious when they first reach out and decide to learn more or ask a question. A timely response validates their decision to inquire and that they are in good hands. 

    If prospective patients feels valued from their first interactions with your practice, they will feel validated that they came to the right place and are more likely to investigate further.

  • Patients Need Guidance in Order to Book 

    Most newcomers to your practice need help with the booking process.

    While an experienced BOTOX patient, might be able to just call the practice immediately and book with a receptionist, many are far from that comfort level and are looking to first educate themselves and determine their goals.

    Most potential patients need guidance on navigating through their options and getting to the booking stage. While beginning research can be done through reading the content on your platforms, ultimately a conversation with your practice needs to happen. Train your reception desk on answering patient phone calls and prioritize responding to your online channels.

    The moment that a prospect makes this decision to reach out signalizes new levels of intent. Don’t let them fall through the cracks! Be there to guide them to book the treatments that best meet their needs.
How to Decrease Response Time and Increase Patient Conversion!

Now that you know the importance of quick responses, let’s go over some ways to decrease or eliminate your response times.

1. Automate Immediate Responses

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. 

2. Provide Immediate Booking Options

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.

3. Focus on the Most Promising Inquiries

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. 

Build Your Patient Base Through Quick Response Times

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. 

Aesthetic Experience Matters

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