Do all patients that contact your office schedule an appointment? Of course not… But have you ever wondered how many patients in a month call and do not schedule an appointment? Do you know why that happens? What can you do to minimize that?
If each patient that you treat is worth for example US $2,000 a visit, a case, a month or a life-time, that phone call just cost you at least that much in lost opportunity. In reality it costs you much more than that, mainly if you depend solely on a word-of-mouth referral system. So what can you do about it? I’m an action-oriented guy so I will give you some action points that hopefully you can implement right away:
1) Don’t panic! Actually, never panic. That was one of the first things I learned during my surgical training. And this is no life-and-death situation (although it is quite important)
2) Measure. Start keeping track of the phone calls coming in so you have a way of measuring results. You can start by simply telling your receptionist to keep track of it or you can go as far as having the calls recorded (which you should eventually do).
3) Train Your Staff. Train your staff on how to properly handle communication. Your front desk people are the Public Relations agents for your practice and as such they need to master interpersonal skills.
4) Build a Team. You may spend thousands of dollars in advertising and marketing but if your team is not aware of your marketing efforts or is not properly trained to help you implement your marketing strategy effectively and enthusiasticaly, you are simply throwing money away.
5) Get Ready. You may want to get more patients, but are you ready to accommodate an influx of people into your practice? Do you have a system to collect prospect information when they call or come in? A lot of times patients decide to go elsewhere simply because they don’t want to be seen in 2 or 3 weeks. Remember that a patient usually waits a good amount of time to call, but when that happens, s/he wants to be seen the next day.
Although there is much more to discuss, this is a good start. Don’t let the simplicity of these steps fool you. Remember that success is the sum of small steps, taken day in and day out. Take a little time to implement these simple steps and you can start seeing results immediately!
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