Most clinic owners think the only way to get new patients is by spending more money on marketing. But that's just not true. After either advising or owning hundreds of clinics, I discovered that most clinic owners don't have a marketing problem.
They have this problem…
In fact, it’s the chokehold in every clinic owner’s business that causes them to struggle to get patients and many to go out of business. The good news is, it’s quite easy to fix.
In today’s blog post I'm going to show you how you can get 10 new patients within 30 days... without spending a dime more on marketingI've been mentoring Roger, who has run a multi-million dollar clinic for years now, and thought his marketing wasn't working. He called me in to help him get more patients and increase his profit.
So I sat down with him and his leadership team, who described what was happening, how they're marketing isn't working, and so on.
I knew right away it wasn't a marketing problem.
So - I told them right off, "You don't have a marketing problem.”
Roger said, “what?” with a confused look on his face…
“Here's what is really going on” I said. “I was sitting in your reception area listening to the way your front desk handles phone calls. You were getting a lot of calls but not all of them booked appointments. And before I came today, I called numerous times, only to be put on hold or sent straight to voicemail. If I was a new patient (who had found you on Google), I would have just called your competitor instead and never called you again.
You have a “patient experience” operations and training problem.
Roger had a shocked look on his face. He had no idea this was a problem..
Then I went on to say, “your staff is making the one BIG mistake that most clinics make. When a patient calls and ends the call saying they will call you back, your staff just says ‘okay’ and hang up. In this situation, most of the time the caller is just comparing you with your competitors and you’ve now lost that patient. When this happens, you need to find out why they really want to "call you later" so you can help them and show that your clinic is the best decision for their problem. If not, you'll lose that patient for good to your competitors.”
You see, most clinics do not have a marketing problem. The real problem is that your front desk hasn’t been trained on optimizing the patient’s experience over the phone - how to connect, to show value to the caller and book more appointments over the phone.
Have you ever called a business and no one picked up?
They weren’t very friendly? Spoke too fast? Didn’t ask your name? Didn’t ask what happened? Couldn’t describe the service? Couldn’t justify the price? Put you on hold?
In the past, new patient just called to book an appointment. Nowadays with the fierce competition, they have so many options. They can shop around by checking out your Google reviews and by calling your competitors. That's why it is more important than ever to train your staff how to book more patients over the phone right when they call. When you do this, you'll have a huge edge over your competition. You'll get a better ROI on your marketing and get more patients.
The other problem Roger had was his phone answer rates.
Whenever I start working with a client, my first step is to use a custom-built software program I developed that randomly calls the client’s clinic over the course of a month. That gives us real data to determine what their answer rate really is.
When I did this with Roger’s clinic, he learned the clinic was only answering 70% of calls, even though he had 3 front desk people working at one time.
This was a problem he had no idea was happening.
In my experience, this is actually average. I own a call metrics and training company called CallHero that helps clinic owners get real-time patient experience phone metrics. We tested thousands of clinics and discovered that most ordinary clinics answer 70% of their phone calls. Smart clinics answer 95%.
The sad part is most clinic owners have no idea what their answer rate is and just assume their clinic staff always answers the phones.
Now let’s put this into perspective. If Roger's clinic gets 1,000 phone calls per month, he is missing 300 calls PER MONTH!
How many of Roger's missed calls were new patients?
Or even worse, how many of those were existing patients who left without an appointment, called back and nobody answered. (BTW this is how self discharges happen: they call back, nobody answers, life gets busy, they forget, and self discharge)
What is one phone call from a new patient worth to you?
Is it $500? $1000? Whatever it is, that’s what each of these calls you’re not answering is worth.
That means 10 new patients calling per month (that’s 2-3 per week), could bring in $5000 - $10,000 in additional revenue – per month.
New patients and the several thousand dollars they each represent are already coming to you on the phone. They’re calling you every day. They call you because they found you online, were recommended by a referral source, have pain, discomfort, aches, and other problems that you have the ability and the desire to make better. That’s why you got into this business.
It all begins with your call funnel...
The call funnel simply describes the journey from a new caller through to a booked new patient in your schedule
Let's say 1,000 patients called you in a single month, and you only answered the phone 70% of the time (answer rate). That means you missed 300 calls that month.
More importantly, about 10% of those calls were new patient opportunities. This means that 30 new patients called and no one picked up AND only 70 potential new patients actually spoke to one of your front desks.
Now, if your front desk is only booking 60% of them (booking rate), that's only 42 out of 70 potential new patients that booked. What happened to the other 28?
For the 28 new patients who didn't book at your clinic, you are basically telling them “We can’t help you now. Go try out the clinic down the street.”
Moreover, if each new patient is $500 in revenue then that's $14,000 (or 28 x $500) that was 'left on the table'.
Your front desk is the engine of the clinic and the phone is your lifeline.
With your call funnel, you know exactly where the problem is. You can then have your front desk trained to improve the patient experience over the phones and evaluate outcomes (answer rates & booking rates).
Here are 5 things you should do right away
1) Set daily goals for your front desk so they have targets (ie 95% answer rate and 85% booking rate). If they hit their target, send them a FUN bonus (ie spa or pedicure)
2) Ask them to call back those callers who didn't leave you a voicemail or hung up. When each new patient is worth $500, call them back.
3) Have them call back callers who didn't book with you the first time. They may not have booked anything at another clinic yet or don’t want a repeat of their poor initial experience at another clinic.
4) Listen to callers who didn't book with you so you can train your team with scripts
5) Develop phone scripts to handle caller comments, such as:
"I'll call you back"
"How much does it cost"
"That's more than I'd like to pay"
"Is this covered by insurance?"
When you know exactly how to measure staff performance and patient experience over the phones…you can skyrocket the number of bookings you get and boost your revenue. I've seen many clients double the number of bookings they get over the phone from the same number of calls.
Watch this 44-second video below on how Jamie boosted his booking rate by 35% and got a $15,000/month lift by just doing this…
Get Your Answer Rate Tested and See Where You Rank Compared to Other Clinics
The only way to know how well your clinic staff is performing is to get your answer rate tested for FREE!
CallGrader’s automated system randomly calls your clinic over the 3-4 week testing period and finds out how many calls you are missing. With nothing technical to set up, the decision to test your phones with CallGrader couldn’t be any easier.
By getting your answer rate tested, you’ll know with certainty whether you need to train your front line staff to provide a better patient experience over the phone. Plus, you will know whether you have a marketing problem or a phone problem.
Best of all you can share the results with your team at your next staff meeting.
Jason B from Ontario was shocked when he found out his clinic staff were only answering the phone 74% of the time. He made some changes after the CallGrader test, and now his clinic is answering the phone 95% of the time. Watch Jason’s Story, then Test Your Clinic’s Phones with CallGrader
After you take the test you'll also see where you rank among the 1000's of clinics we tested.
If you're clinic is not answering the phones or putting too many people on hold, you're j losing new patients to your competitors and wasting your marketing money.
What are you waiting for? Get your Answer Rate tested for FREE. Our automated system randomly calls your clinic over the 3-4 week testing period and finds out how many calls you are missing. You will know with 100% certainty how your clinic is doing answering the phones.
You have nothing to lose but only new patients to gain.