There are so many new channels and tools utilized for business development nowadays that often times we overlook areas that previously had a dramatic impact on our medical business. Having a social presence is extremely valuable for medical professionals and having an automated scheduling solution on your website can easily lead to more appointments. But these both pale in comparison to the impact on your practice when having the right persons, with the right attitude, managing your front desk and answering incoming patient inquiries over the phone.
When MD Connect partnered with the ACP (American College of Phlebology), we wanted to gain more insight in to how physicians were spending their marketing budget. We were able to answer those questions in our Physician Marketing Audit, but we also uncovered another key component to a medical practice's success; the ability to have the proper phone coverage. Some of the results of the study as it relates to phone coverage include:
- 23% of responding practices do not use a full-time receptionist
- 92% of practices only have coverage during business hours
- 26% of practices have gaps in their coverage during business hours
- 71% of patients hang up when getting an answering machine
- 82% of patients never call back when getting an answering machine
Even when the phone is answered by a staff member, not all staff are sufficiently effective at guiding the caller into an appointment. Staff members need to be able to:
- Answer patient inquiries accurately
- Build a rapport with the caller
- Avoid providing medical advice over the phone
- Schedule an appointment
All the referrals in the world will mean little if your phone coverage is unable to effectively convert new inquiries into appointments.