Globally businesses are facing immense competition and dental clinics are no different. Acquiring new patients is a challenge and therefore dental clinics are spending billions of dollars every year on marketing campaigns. Every lead generated through the marketing campaign is a cost to the clinic and every increase in the conversion percentage adds to the revenue of the clinic but at the same time, lost enquiries is nothing but the squandering of precious resources. A dental clinic usually is able to convert 25% of the leads it generates through a marketing campaign. A 25% conversion rate might look good but at the same time it also means that 75% of the leads (or potential customers) didn’t opt for the services of the clinic and have found merits with the competition. Resources invested to generate these 75% leads go unproductive.
Inquiry to Conversion Ratio affects business directly
If a dental clinic gets two hundred new enquiries every month, it is able to convert only 50 enquiries into confirmed cases. a new dental patient could mean a substantial revenue, which means the clinic has lost potentially a good amount of business opportunity too at the same time. If this loss of revenue is extrapolated to the lifetime revenue from these patients, the number can be humongous. If the dental clinic is able to increase its conversion ratio to 35%, an additional revenue of $ 18,000 can be generated.
A few intelligent clinics have higher Inquiry to Conversion Ratio
Among all dental clinics, a few clinics have the ability to get higher inquiry to conversion ratio. Their owners are not only good dental specialists but they also have a better business acumen as well. With their astute business sense, they are able to derive efficiencies in each and every function of the business including the rate of enquiry conversions. The setup of all dental clinics is almost the same but it’s the approach which makes the difference. A few points which can act like a catalyst in the enquiry conversion of a dental clinic can be-
An Efficient front desk-
Dental receptionist is a critical job as it not only takes phone calls but also does the second most important job of onboarding new customers (first one obviously being the treatment given by the doctor to the ailing patient). Efficiency of the front desk plays an important role in having a higher inquiry to conversion ratio. A few qualities of the desk which helps the dental clinic in achieving higher conversion are-
Good first impression, a first impression is the lasting impression. Unlike other businesses, a potential customer (patient) of a dental clinic usually contacts the business when he is suffering and is possibly not able to perform his daily tasks properly due to his dental pain. A polite but professional voice of the front desk executive who is ready to understand his problem and offers to help him with the solution creates an instant bond with the patient which makes him finalize the appointment without any delay.
Dental business is a specialized business and a patient expects the person on call to be well versed with the dental treatment and its nuances. Efficient business owners ensure that the entire staff of their clinic, especially the front desk executives, should be trained by the specialists so that they can understand the patient’s query and respond in a professional manner. Staff of these dental clinics, who are not regular front desk receptionists but take calls occasionally are also equally equipped to manage the desk as effectively as any other regular front desk executive so that no customer gets any room to think about any other dental clinic.
Phone calls are still the most common medium to connect to a dental clinic. Smart business owners ensure that their employees have adequate telephone skills and etiquettes so that the caller gets a pleasant experience while interacting with the clinic. Emails are an integral part of modern-day communication and business focussed clinics ensure that the emails are checked regularly, patient’s enquiries are responded without any delay. Designated person does the follow up on email enquiries as well so that no enquiry gets lost due to no or delayed response.
Dental clinics who understand the importance of behavioural aspects ensure to hire an experienced and competent front door receptionist who displays positive attitude, emotional maturity, multitasking abilities and empathetic behaviour. Such receptionists are keen and active listeners which comforts the patient and helps in creating an instant bond with the person and also with the clinic. Such patient enquiries not only get converted but the patient remains with the clinic for long and thus continues to give repeat business and healthy referrals. Objections and irrational behaviour of a few patients does not bother receptionists as their primary objective is not to lose a single patient.
An average dental clinic does not get bothered by a few missed calls but the business owners with sharp business sense understands that the menace of missed calls can impact the long-term objectives of the clinic. They understand that the first-time callers will not have any loyalty with the clinic and a lack of response would make them scout for another dental clinic. The experience of the business owner tells him that a missed call not only will affect the revenue but can also dent the reputation of the clinic. Patients who do not get a response to their calls or emails can spread negative publicity about the processes and capabilities of the clinic. Clinic not only misses on the business from these customers but also loses on referrals which are an important source of new patient acquisition.
Intelligent business owners understand that a patient usually calls a dental clinic under distress and seeks prompt response, any call getting diverted to voicemail or even put on hold for long might put off the patient and therefore the processes are set so that the calls on hold should be a rare phenomenon and even if it is required then the hold time has to be minimal.
Since every patient is different therefore the clinic owner with a business mind would ensure that the receptionist does not blindly follow the pre-written script but is able to adapt to the situation and gives a reply apt to the patient’s situation. The purpose of the activity is to make the patient comfortable and also to create a sense of urgency to get the treatment from this dental clinic
A Good Dental Clinic does not Compromise on Systems
Telephone infrastructure and IT systems are the life lines of a dental clinic. Since most of the patients use telephones to contact a dental clinic, a great dental clinic ensures to have adequate lines, good telephone systems, voice mail along with adequate recording call facilities. Regular monitoring and audit of telephone lines and systems is done to check faults or a dead phone line. A soothing but engaging message for call hold is chosen so that the customer does not get lost during the hold time.
IT systems are critical for any business and so are they for dental clinics as well. Good dental clinics ensure maximum possible automation of their systems. Computer system should be user friendly for employees, the receptionist is able to do the data entry during the time of call itself and can also retrieve the date during a live call. Clinics seek customized reports of the business including the report of enquiry conversion. Such reports help the clinic to review the performance and take corrective steps where ever required. Software is also used to track the efficiency of marketing campaigns.
Dental clinics who look for higher conversions do not ignore the new media vehicles which a prospective patient can use to contact the clinic. IT systems are equipped so that the customer can use any media vehicle of his choice to reach out to the clinic.
In this era of technology, internet-based marketing is the need of the hour. Prospective patients are targeted through every possible channel i.e. websites, blogs and social media channels.
Awareness about Revenue
Clinics who strive for success ensure that the employees are aware about the short term and the long-term revenue targets of the clinic. Every employee is accountable as per his job profile. Staff handling the enquiries and onboarding have the targets of conversions and onboarding.
There is no clinic who can afford to ignore the importance of marketing campaigns but smarter clinics review their marketing efforts and try to find the best campaign in terms of return on investment so that subsequent campaigns are planned accordingly to achieve maximum output from media campaigns. Every new patient is requested to help with the type of lead which brought him to the clinic. Focussed campaigns ensure higher leads and better conversion.
Targeted marketing campaigns have clarity of message and they sound relevant to the audience. The value proposition looks appealing to the potential customers which motivates them to enquire about the services offered by the dental clinic.
Outsourcing to Phone Answering Services
Dentists with a decent outlook towards business understand that though they might be offering the best medical services, specialization is required in every function of the business and the front desk is no exception. It is often recommended to outsource the activity to professional answering services as these agencies deliver with efficiency which is truly difficult for a normal in-house employee. Not only are these answering services professionally trained, but they also ensure to cover missed lunch hours, and long after office hours. Even weekends and national holidays are well attended to. A few of these services go beyond simple answering services and take ownership of calls and promote business conversion. They offer impressive facilities for monitoring calls, and can extend an insight about call sources and marketing performance.
As a smart dental clinic owner you must know that there is a cut throat competition in the dental clinic market and therefore apart from innovations, you have to do regular things differently which can take you ahead from the competition in terms of better conversion to inquiry ratio. A good conversion ratio helps the clinic to generate higher revenue and become a sustainable business model.