While prospective clients of ours most certainly do their due diligence to determine if MD Connect can meet their online marketing needs, not many realize that we are doing the same and evaluating them in return. With a majority of our business engagements, the client has a short-term ‘trial period’ in which to insure they are getting good return on investment (and if not, they can simply opt-out). Because of this (and the many short-term costs we incur), it does our business little good to engage a client we are only likely to retain for the short-term. Our goal (like most of our customers) is a long term relationship that is mutually beneficial. At the end of the day, it’s about determining if there is a good fit between MD Connect and client. It’s not common, but occasionally we tell prospective clients they may be better off elsewhere.
Here are some of the key reasons why your hospital or practice might not be our perfect client:
1) You don’t answer your phone – It is shocking to us the number of practices that still have calling patients shuttled to a voice mail or an extended interactive voice response (IVR) system (the ones that say ‘Press 1 for …’). Even if it’s ‘just during lunch’ this is no longer an acceptable solution. The data speaks for itself: 71% of calling patients that hit a voice mail do not leave a message, and 82% of the time those same patients do not bother to call back. They move on to a more responsive practice, and you’ve likely lost business.
2) You assume the patient doesn’t have a choice – Long gone are the days when every calling patient has the intention to make an appointment; a good portion have questions about your practice including wanting details about services, costs, insurance and financial issues, the physicians and more. Often unsaid is they want to understand what makes you different (and better) than other similar local practices they may be considering. It is surprising how few clients have truly thought through their positioning (those differentiating points that you will use to ‘sell’ your practice in the marketplace) and have implemented them into phone reception, marketing collateral and more.
3) You don’t understand it’s primarily your job to convert an interested patient (a lead) into an actual appointment – At our core, MD Connect is a lead generation company; we see it as our job to bring interested patients to the point of contacting you (via phone or e-mail). Although we provide some support and benchmarking on ‘phone conversion’, what happens from that point is largely in your control. Many clients have a lesser skilled (lesser paid) or even unfriendly employee manning the phones, not understanding that this role is a critical frontline sales position; a solid performer here can be the difference that generates multiple additional appointments (easily paying any salary difference). At a minimum, you should invest in good training and performance monitoring for your phone receptionist.
4) You want the sizzle, not the steak – Having the fanciest website or the slickest display ad is not always the most cost-efficient tactic to drive referrals. Clients often are seduced by the ‘eye candy’ many marketing firms can produce, without getting into a real discussion about what type of performance (e.g. referrals) the firm’s programs have driven. Many firms have excellent creative (‘right-brain’) capabilities, but often this same focus is what leaves them lacking in their analytical (‘left-brain’) capabilities. Branding and creative is a very different skill set than performance-based marketing and true ‘ambidextrous thinking’ is a rarity.
5) You want to focus on price, not profit – Let me get it out there; our prices are not necessarily the cheapest around (although they are generally very competitive). If you assume that all online marketing firms will have largely similar performance, and want to make your decision based on fees alone, then we suggest you look elsewhere. If you understand that picking the right online marketing firm can have as much as a 20-40% difference in performance (and that this difference largely outweighs any fee differential), then we might be the right fit for you.
Ultimately, our performance is measured on the impact our programs make to your business; which means new procedures generated. It doesn't matter how many visitors your website received, form fills, emails, phone calls, etc...if it doesn't have a direct impact on your revenue. In order for us to be successful, it requires a mutual focus on doing what's best for the business. And, in some cases, that includes passing on a prospective client.
 Based on survey data from 219 physician practices across US. Stempel DS 2009 US Vein Practice Marketing: A Profile of ACP Membership Practices’ Marketing Investment and Return during the Recession.