If you run any business, especially a dental or discretionary healthcare practice, here's some staggering statistics you should know about:
- The average conversion rates of new patient phone calls in the US and Canada are only 34%.
- The percentage of calls that go unanswered in a dental office is between 40-50%.Out of those missed calls, 80% will choose not to leave a voicemail.
- If they do leave a voicemail, you have approximately 5 minutes to return the call before the patient moves on and calls another office.
- Mondays and Fridays have with the highest number of new patient callers.
- 11:00 am - 2:00 pm are the busiest call times for new patient callers.
This information comes from a company who has recorded and analyzed calls for hundreds of dental practices in the US and Canada over the last several years. As we looked at their data to help us improve our SuperStar Telephone Training program... we were stunned.
If you assume the average dental patient represents about $1200-$1500 in revenue to a practice in the first year alone, then do the math. It's a lot of missed opportunities, for the practice and for the patients.
So how do you fix it? Try these tips to improve your conversion and patient service perception:
- Ongoing training: Make your training a regular commitment. It's not a one-and-done kind of process. Pre-schedule time to give and support telephone training in your practice.
- Easy to learn: Make your process easy to understand and to implement. Don't give your people 20 steps to a great new patient phone call. We've simplified our process down to 4 easy steps so it's easy to teach and remember.
- Tools: Give them the tools to guide them. Make a call intake sheet that mirrors your training process so your team is always guided to be their very best. (If you'd like a free copy of ours, just send an email to info@LionSpeak.net and ask for the complimentary VIP Intake Form... it's completely customizable!)
- Know Your Numbers: Monitor your incoming calls and conversions to appointments. You should be converting between 50-90% of all calls coming into the practice (depending on how patients find you). Set specific and reasonable goals for improvement with your team.
- Test for training: Consider a call monitoring and/or mystery shopper service to help analyze when you're missing calls, how calls are handled, and where you have training gaps and opportunities for growth.
- Expand your telephone hours: Consider companies who offer well-trained, live administrators to answer your calls during peak times when your practice is closed or unable to answer calls. (We can recommend some, if you need a referral.)
New patient callers are the lifeblood of your business. You've invested a lot of time and money to get them to call you whether that's through a well-designed website or social media presence, direct external marketing, or through amazing patient service that has gained you a strong reputation and a high number of direct referrals. What a shame to waste these precious opportunities to help the very people you've spent a lifetime learning to help! Don't take it for granted that because you handed a telephone to someone, they know what to do with it. Get them the training and support they need. They and your patients will thank you for it.
This blog post is by Katherine Eitel Belt, founder of LionSpeak. If your team would like specialized telephone and communication training, please visit her website at www.lionspeak.net.