Capturing New Patients – Part 2

Last month in Part 1 of our Capturing New Patients series we talked about the challenges of following up with new patient leads when you and your team are busy juggling the day to day activities of your practice. Even though you may have a great system in place to capture new patient leads, oftentimes they are not responded to in a timely manner or in some cases, not at all. You can read Part 1 here and learn about some ways you can diagnose your lead follow up issues.

We’ve seen most practices struggle with what can be considered the “sales” side of their practice. This month, we are going to take a deeper dive and look at immediate benefits of following up with patients soon after they’ve submitted an appointment request online.

Typically, most practice team members don’t have experience on how to handle new patient lead requests which is why it’s important to provide them with tools and training on this process. Like any business, your practice depends on new patients to grow and responding to leads is one of the steps in making this happen. The reality is, when someone has filled out a lead form online for a specific treatment or general cleaning and exam, they are most likely filling out forms at other practices too because they have a need for the service. When they fill out the request, they naturally expect a response and a timely one at that. The response time to these leads has to be fast. If they fill it out Tuesday afternoon, and your practice doesn’t respond until Thursday and only sends one email or makes one phone call attempt, chances are slim that you will reach them.

People are extremely busy and want immediate gratification which requires persistence on the part of your practice. It may seem like a Catch-22, but not only do they expect a quick response, it requires multiple touch points to actually get a hold of them. We’ve found that when a practice manually follows up with these form leads, meaning picking up a phone and calling or sending out an email themselves, they see about a 14% response rate, or the percentage of time they actually connect with a new patient. The gap here is that 30-50% of new patients end up going to the practice that responds first. What’s more, following up with a website form lead within 5 minutes makes you 9x more likely to engage with them. You can see why it’s not only critical to follow up with these leads quickly but do so in a way where you actually connect with them. Over a two to three week period and between five to eight touches, it’s recommended to use a combination of texting, calling and emails to connect with the new patient lead. We know what you’re thinking; isn’t that too much? Take the perspective that they filled out the lead form and now the ball is in your court to connect with them.

Given the time, effort and technology it takes to follow up with your new patients leads, it’s no wonder it gets pushed to the back burner. Like most practices, your team probably doesn’t have the bandwidth to carry out this activity when, frankly, it isn’t in their wheelhouse to do so. For these reasons, we have created a system for our clients that allows them to easily connect with form leads immediately, consistently and effectively. Instead of putting more on your team members plate, this system automates the new patient lead follow up process so you know it’s getting done and your team can focus on the patients coming through your door.

Next month, we will talk more about this new system and how it has changed the game for our clients.