What happens when your carefully crafted healthcare marketing plan causes your phone to ring? Prospective patients are calling your office. I can hear the phone ringing now.
Well all-right! Good job! Whoot. Fist pump!
But wait. There’s a big problem. People are calling, but nobody is answering the phone. Oops. The designated “care coordinator” is busy, in a long conversation with the first person to call.
Call tracking data would later reveal that, in the meantime, calls from several other people were routed to a voice mail system. Oops, again. Callers—prospective patients—did not leave a message or call back number.
This soap-opera should be titled: “Murder After the First Ring,” or “The Really Nice People Who Answer Your Phone are Secretly Killing Your Business.” Sadly, it’s not a fantasy. It happens frequently. Just recently, we uncovered this real-world problem in the course of staff training work with a client.
We were able to track inbound calls to this women’s health specialty practice from an ongoing Internet advertising campaign. Many inquiries. But we discovered that, in the course of about a week, 75 phone calls had been shuttled to a voice mail system.
Of these, only one caller to left a message. And 74 were “hang-up/disconnect.”
Maybe a few will call back later…maybe not. There’s a strong suspicion that, with no “real person” to answer their immediate interest, their next call would be to a competitive medical practice. In the worst case, let’s say 70 prospective new patients who went elsewhere. Promotional costs have been squandered, and opportunity for new business is lost in a few days.
This illustrates the importance of answering inbound calls immediately. This is especially important for calls that are inspired by an active marketing campaign, and callers have a strong desire for more information and a willingness to set an appointment.
Your office phone might be the weakest link in your physician marketing effort. Consider these useful tips and techniques:
Proper phone skills are a crucial link in business development. Are you losing opportunity when the phone rings? Staff training helps assure that the phone isn’t the weakest link in your physician marketing program.
For more on this topic, you’ll find additional reading here: Inbound Phone Calls: Why You Are Losing New Business and How to Convert Internet and Advertising Generated Inquiries Into Patients.
Jamie Roney, Account Supervisor