Here, Jo Phillpot shares her top tips on how you can increase your chances of success and turn more enquiries into appointments…
Pick up the phone!
A potential new patient has visited your website and filled out a patient enquiry form online…now you have an opportunity to get them into the practice! Sharing the benefits of joining your practice to a patient is best done over the phone or face-to-face. So try to encourage the patient to give you a call or better yet, add a mandatory field for a telephone number on your patient enquiry forms so you can make the call yourself.
Your treatment coordinator (TCO) or front desk team are the best people to deal with new patient emails, so make sure that they are aware of their responsibilities and the processes they are to follow, for example:
- Don’t miss anything! Set a reminder to check the practice emails (including the junk folder!) every hour. If the enquiry includes their contact number then give the patient a call or if not, respond straight away asking for a phone number (mobile is best!) and a convenient time to call. Always put their needs first and work around what’s best for them.
- If you call and it goes to voicemail, leave a message. Also send an email to let them know that you’ve tried to call as you would love to chat about their options and answer any questions they may have.
- If you don’t hear back from the patient after two or three days then drop them one last email, and if you don’t receive a response after that then don’t take it any further. If you are continually emailing and calling a potential new patient you could be seen as a nuisance, or give off the wrong impression by looking too desperate.
We’ll be in touch soon!
Set up an auto-response email to acknowledge any enquiry you receive. This will leave the prospective patient feeling confident that they will hear back from you soon instead of wondering whether their enquiry had even hit your inbox.
Make your response friendly but informative, with a time frame of when they should hear from you. Don’t put the time frame too far in the future but don’t cut yourself fine as you want to be able to deliver on your promises – three working days is sufficient.
To make the most of your auto-response and keep them engaged for as long as possible, include links to your social media channels, your website and blog.
Find out more about your patients!
Why not add a section on your website contact form that asks your potential new patient to tick what their enquiry is about, e.g. teeth whitening, children’s dental check-ups, missing teeth, etc.
This will allow you to a) tailor your automatic responses to that patient, allowing you to send an information pack on that subject to their inbox and b) ensure you have all the details on that particular area to hand when you call the patient back so you are already one step ahead.
Refining your systems so you can find out as much as possible about a new patient before even picking up the phone will make you much slicker and will increase your chances of converting.
Give the patient a call to action…
To help convert your prospects into new patients, include a call to action on your auto-response email or as a pop up once they have submitted their online patient enquiry form. ‘Can we arrange a call? I would love to have a chat to discuss how we can help you’ or ‘Please call the practice so one of our helpful team members can book you a complimentary consultation’ will hopefully encourage them to pick up the phone.
The above actions can easily be put into place! By following these simple steps you can begin building relationships with potential new patients from the word go and convert each enquiry into a valuable new patient.