Today we’re kicking off our series on making 2020 the most profitable year yet for your practice. With the New Year right around the corner, we’re also taking a look at this endeavor through the lens of finding more value and purpose in the work that you do for your practice.
The first strategy we’ll be focusing on – creating positive first impressions and improving patient relationships.
This phase in the lead-to-patient conversion process is crucial because it’s the first real “human” interaction a prospective patient has with your practice. You may have an extremely motivated and qualified lead, that your marketing has worked hard to deliver, only to lose them due to factors like:
- Being slow to respond or not returning their call
- Putting the prospective patient on hold
- Coming off rude or indifferent to the caller
- Not working to build rapport and empathy
- Failing to properly answer the caller’s questions
Everybody Wins When We Focus on Improving Relationships
Learning to represent your practice in a receptive and welcoming manner is what encourages patients to say YES to booking a consultation. Not doing so may lead to the potential patient hanging up and calling one of your competitors instead. Working to improve communications and create a favorable experience for your clients not only benefits your practice – it’s great for your health and happiness, too!
Keeping in line with our goal of making 2020 better for both the practice and your own well-being, focusing on improving personal interactions has the added benefit of increasing your happiness. Humans, by nature, have social brains and cognition. A sense of social connection is one of our fundamental human needs, and research has shown that feeling connected to others improves physical health and psychological well-being.
As you head into 2020 and begin thinking about goals you can set to help your practice thrive, look at tangible ways that you can create more positive interactions with both your patients and prospects. You may be surprised to find that both your conversion rates and your personal sense of well-being change for the better!
Below are some of the key areas we recommend you focus on improving in 2020.
Improve Response Times for Better Conversion Rates and Happier Patients
As we’ve mentioned before here on our blog, response times can play a huge role in customer satisfaction. This affects both new patient acquisition as well as patient retention. This one is pretty straightforward. Lead response time is the exact time it takes you to follow up with an individual who has contacted your practice. The longer you wait to call the lead back, the greater the chance that they have already reached out to another more responsive practice.
In today’s digital world, people are used to getting results instantaneously and will respond to answers that come quickly. Since people often fill out multiple lead forms, the first practice to make contact is in the best position to pitch successfully. Once a prospect has spoken to several practices, they often have the information they need and are less inclined to speak to anyone else.
You should be contacting leads in minutes (not hours), when they at their highest point of interest. A quick response not only helps your practice convert more leads into consults, it also gives leads a positive first impression. This initial impression is at the foundation of a long and mutually beneficial relationship between the patient and your practice.
MyMedLeads makes staying on top of response time easy. The moment a lead comes in, the system starts a virtual stopwatch, tracking how much time elapses before someone in your office contacts them. MyMedLeads can generate reports for average response time per rep, making it easy for you to track your progress over the coming year.
First Impressions Are Key to Patient Relationship Building
Making a positive first impression with a prospective patient is entirely within your control. It’s all about the mindset and intention you bring to the call. If you approach each “first contact” call you make with the objective of showing compassion and genuine interest in helping the other person, then you will again find that both your conversion rates and your own satisfaction will benefit.
Psychologists researching happiness have repeatedly found that practicing compassion makes us better, happier, and can lead to greater overall life satisfaction (source). In 2020, consider setting an intention to create more engaging and meaningful connections with your leads and patients.
The decision to seek an elective treatment, like cosmetic surgery, is incredibly personal and can come with a range of emotions. Calling a complete stranger to discuss these matters can, understandably, feel a bit intimidating. The process becomes much easier when the individual feels an empathetic “connection” with the first person they speak with at your practice.
Try to think of ways you can improve rapport with callers in 2020.
- Answer with your name and a friendly greeting
- Talk with a smile, the caller can hear your smile through the phone
- Wait for the person to finish speaking before speaking
- Ask questions, listen, and take a genuine interest in each caller’s unique situation
Above all, don’t treat the caller as just another number or potential source of revenue. While it is important to keep sales techniques in mind, as you do have the objective of getting the lead to book a consultation, you shouldn’t treat the conversation as a “sales” call. Rather, think more in the realm of customer service when speaking with a new potential patient.
This individual wants what your practice has to offer. They took the time to research you and reach out to your practice, which is a huge step. Now, the baton is being handed to you, and it’s your job to ensure all of their questions are answered pleasantly and professionally. Really listen to what they want and why they want it. The more information you learn from them, the more comfortable they will become with you. Plus, this information will come in handy if and when further follow-up calls and lead nurturing efforts are needed.
MyMedLeads can help you monitor and improve your call management skills with our call recording feature. The system can automatically record marketing related inbound and outbound calls for future reference or analysis. Listen to the recordings to assess your effectiveness and determine what’s working and what can be tweaked. Sure, you may cringe at some of the things you’ve said (we’re our own harshest critic after all), but consistent call review will inevitably help you identify the good stuff to use again. Soon, you will be converting more callers to consultations and feeling more confident than ever about your job performance!
Follow Up and Compassionately Assist Prospects
Following up on leads is crucial to boosting your lead-to-patient closing ratios. Research has shown that practices that follow up at least 3 times with leads have a 45% higher conversion rate than those who only call leads once.
However, the manner in which you follow up with leads matters. You do not want the prospective patient to feel like they’re being “hounded” for a sale. Rather, you should be reaching out to the prospect on a human level, letting them know that you’re here to help them with their problems or concerns. This is why it is important to listen carefully and take notes when the lead initially reaches out to your practice. Review these notes before making a follow up call so that you are prepared to discuss their specific needs with empathy and understanding.
When it comes to something like cosmetic surgery, there can often be a lot of emotion around the subject. The individual may already be feeling vulnerable about discussing a physical aspect they’re unhappy with. It is important to empathize with them while speaking to their needs, hopes, dreams and aspirations. Speak positively about the benefits of the procedure, your practice, and physician in a way they can relate to. Your follow up efforts should reenergize and stir the emotions that originally led them to reach out to you.
MyMedLeads helps you stay on top of follow-up by automatically generating follow-up lists which are added to your daily to-do list. Follow-up call reminders can be triggered based on a number of customizable factors, and reps can also set up their own reminders to call specific leads back.
Tomorrow, we’ll be taking a deeper dive into how you can use follow-up calls, lead nurturing emails, and SMS messages to strengthen your communications and build better relationships with current and prospective patients. Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for the next post in our series!