Dealing with new patient enquiries
If a prospective patient makes contact with your practice it is vital that you do your utmost to make a positive first impression. Not only that but your systems and processes need to ensure an effective follow-through to hopefully convert them to patients rather than lose them along the way.
Enquiries through your website
- Check that your website has clear ‘call to actions’ – for example, the phone number is nice and visible as is your email address. Ideally, you should have an easy to complete enquiry form.
- Set an auto-response to any enquiry forms that are completed to let patients know you’ve received their enquiry – this is the perfect opportunity to provide them with some more useful information such as the benefits of joining the dental plan!
- Chances are you are not the only dental practice that they’ve contacted so make sure that you follow up any enquiries via telephone within 2 working days.
- Check that the tone of the email is friendly and informative and not too ‘sales-focused’.
- Clearly provide the patient with instructions as to what will happen next; for example, you will call them in two days time or send them out a welcome pack.
- Email is great but the personal interaction that a phone call provides enables rapport to be built.
- Use call prompt sheets to ensure a clear process is followed and consistency is maintained.
- Recording phone calls can be an excellent training tool and provide insight in to what is done well and any areas for improvement.
- Do your front desk people have the necessary skills? Are they ‘people’ people – positive, friendly, welcoming?
- Again, use prompt sheets to ensure a clear process is followed for each patient scenario and consistency is maintained.
Most of our interaction these days is via digital mediums so do make sure that your website and other marketing communications are professional, engaging and portray your practice in the best way possible.
There is still merit in having printed marketing literature as patients like to have something tangible to take home with them. Patients are unable to judge you on the quality of your dentistry; instead they will make judgements based on the way that they are treated and their impression of you. The practice decor, the website, the reception team and the welcome pack that you provide them with all help the prospective patient decide whether you are the practice for them.
Make sure that every touch point that a prospective patient has with the practice is a positive one. And, regardless of how they make contact with you, always provide the patient with clear instructions as what will happen next.
For further help and advice please do not hesitate to contact me. Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01463 223399.