New Patient Appointment Requests Falling Through the Cracks?
MDA co-founder Jackie Cullen and podcast host Dr. Wes Blakeslee discuss what to do in the October edition of the AGD Podcast
Last month, My Dental Agency co-founder Jackie Cullen was interviewed by Dr. Wes Blakeslee, host of the AGD Podcast, who asked her about PatientCaptureNow and the importance of following up with new-patient inquiries, especially during this time when everyone is busier with new safety protocols and managing a dental practice during a pandemic. She provided some great insight about how to correctly and efficiently respond to online patient appointment requests, with or without the help of PatientCaptureNow. Listen now!
On the podcast, Dr. Blakeslee, admits that, like for so many practices, following up with new-patient inquiries is not always being made a priority with everything else that’s going on in the office and now that the dynamics have changed due to COVID-19. Staff is busier than ever, and new-patient outreach is suffering as a consequence. He asks Jackie about her thoughts on what a practice can and should be doing to boost new-patient outreach so that inquiries don’t keep falling through the cracks. Of course, Jackie highly recommends the PatientCaptureNow system, which really takes most of the burden off of the team by automating all the stages of follow-up. However, she also made some important suggestions for practices that prefer to handle follow-up on their own.
First and foremost, a practice must have a documented and traceable contact management system in place to increase the probability of actually making contact with a new-patient lead, and not just for one attempt, but several. Additionally, contact attempts need to be made as soon after receiving the inquiry as possible. Typically, when an inquiry comes in through a practice’s website, it will go unnoticed and unanswered until the end of the day or, in many cases, sadly, for multiple days. Understandably, the office staff has a lot on their plates, and responding to website inquiries isn’t necessarily high on the list of urgencies. However, as Jackie explains to Dr. Blakeslee, when someone takes the time to fill out an inquiry on your website, and they don’t receive a timely response, that potential patient is very probably going to take their business (and the revenue that comes with it) elsewhere, which basically means the practice is throwing money out the window. So, if a practice cares about growth and increasing revenue, then it really can’t afford to let new-patient outreach go by the wayside.
In the podcast, Jackie also stresses the importance of responding to patients through multiple channels, meaning text and email as well as making phone calls. Communications with the businesses we patronize, with our utility companies, and even with our healthcare providers are now frequently conducted online, via email and, increasingly, via text message. Why should our dentist be any different? Patients often don’t pick up the phone anymore because either they don’t recognize the incoming number or they just don’t have the time or the inclination to talk on the phone. Texting and emailing them, on top of leaving a voicemail message, will greatly increase the chances of getting an actual response and, therefore, scheduling an appointment.
Now, Jackie also understands that maintaining and tracking a new-patient outreach system is a lot of work and can really add to the responsibilities of the office team. That’s why she believes so strongly in the benefits of the PatientCaptureNow platform. Not only does it automatically respond to all new-patient inquiries coming through a practice’s website, it does so instantaneously and through multiple channels—with personalised messages. It even alerts the practice when the potential patient responds. It also prompts the office staff to call on patients who haven’t responded to any contact attempts, and not just the first day. PatientCaptureNow accurately tracks responses and continues to make contact over time, allowing the practice to easily understand what’s going on with any given inquiry at any time. Not only does this type of rapid and multi-channel response increase patient engagement by nearly 300%, it also gives the practice peace of mind that no one is being ignored, which, in turn, can only enhance the practice’s reputation within the market. If you listen to the podcast, you’ll hear that Dr. Blakeslee was absolutely convinced!
At the end of the day, Jackie and Dr. Blakeslee had a fun and informative conversation that will hopefully help dental practices better understand how they can improve new-patient outreach outcomes. And, as a thank you to AGD for inviting Jackie on the podcast, AGD members can try PatientCaptureNow free for an entire month if they go to https://www.patientcapturenow.com/agd-trial/.
We are so honored and grateful to have been invited to share our one-of-a-kind software solution on the AGD podcast series, and we hope everyone enjoys listening.