The first contact that new patients make with your clinic is crucial to the start of their journey with you; providing your practice with great new revenue opportunities. We have developed a list of the top ten risks presented by poor new enquiry call handling and how to successfully avoid these pitfalls.
1. An engaged tone, no-one answering, leave a voicemail all run the risk of your new callers going elsewhere. To you it is a missed call, to new patients it could look like you are closed for business! Aim to answer calls within three rings.
2. Our experience shows that on average 10% of new enquiries call out of hours between 5pm and 8pm and on Saturdays. If no-one is ready and available to look after these calls, you run the risk of patients going elsewhere. Ensure maximum availability to answer calls through extended hours.
3. Distractions and rushed conversation often put off new patients, encouraging them to think you don’t have time for them. They need unlimited time and undivided attention from your practice to on-board with your practice. A new patient call takes as long as it takes, there shouldn’t be a sense of inconvenience or distractions to interrupt new patient conversations.
4. By not promoting USPs, accreditations or clinical experience to patients could undermine your credentials in the industry and ultimately could turn them away, if your practice fails to build their confidence on first contact. If anyone other than yourself is handling new patients’ enquiries, ensure they know how you want them to promote your practice USPs. Use of strong USPs such as clinical experience, awards, accreditations very quickly build trust.
5. Treating callers like identical customers does not build relationships and doesn’t allow new enquirers to feel valued by the clinic when they enquire, often encouraging them to seek value elsewhere. Build relationships quickly and softly, embracing new enquirers by using techniques such as repeating their name and being interested in them as an individual.
6. If you don’t address callers’ natural objection barriers and try to overcome them together, they will likely deter from a willingness to consult. Ensure your team have the techniques to reassure new patients they can overcome potential new patient concerns, and that they have the confidence to book consultation.
7. If you provide callers with costs when they ask at the start of the call, they may be uninterested to continue with the conversation as they may see money as the deciding factor in choosing a clinic. Always steer the caller away from the subject of price as they need to be informed as to why they should choose your clinic. There is much more opportunity in finding out what else is important to the caller and promoting the clinic accordingly.
8. Failure to follow up with new enquirers who do not book the first time they call can mean a lost patient. Always take their name and contact details. Calling them back to offer further support and encouragement could be all it takes for them to feel valued and confident about booking there and then.
9. If the person answering your enquiry calls isn’t completely clear on your availability and your flexibility for consultation and treatments, then opportunities will be missed as callers want someone who is informed and can book the right appointments for them. Ensure your diary availability is well planned in advance.
10. All the above recommendations are not standalone. Failure to combine these enquiry handling recommendations could see your new patient consultation booking rate reduce by HALF!
AR Patient Advisors look after new patient enquiry calls on behalf of aesthetic and cosmetic practices everyday. They know just what it takes to book a new consultation appointment. They use their skills and experience to do this very successfully everyday.
By Aesthetic Response
To find out more about AR’s specialist call handling services, do give us a call on 0191 495 8400, or get in touch.