While the popularity of online scheduling is rising among dental patients, front desk calls are still highly popular when it comes to booking appointments. The difference between a patient choosing your practice over a competitor comes down to your Front Desk staff “closing the sale” with helpful, accurate information.
Here’s where call tracking and recording can help your practice. By tracking, recording and listening to your calls with your staff each month, you unlock valuable insight into what your patients are looking for in a practice and how you can best communicate with them.
Patient Research and Dental Practices
70% of a patient’s decision is made before contacting your office since the Internet makes information about your practice available to patients on-demand. By the time a patient calls your office, they’ve already researched your:
- Directories, like Healthgrades and the Better Business Bureau
- Social media pages
- Insurance providers
- Current patients, like their family and friends
In theory, with a solid Front Desk staff, efficient call tracking system and proper call training, a phone call from a prospective patient should equal a new patient appointment.
Why Are My Patient Calls Unproductive?
Unfortunately, this ease of conversion is not a reality for so many practices. Between inconsistent information, confusing phone trees or your desk not being adequately staffed during peak call hours, missing out on prospective patients is far too common among dentists.
Why Am I Losing Prospective Patients?
Say you received 25 new patient calls throughout the past month and you scheduled 10 new patient appointments. While you may assume losing out on the other 15 calls has to do with the type of patients that choose your practice–and you could be correct–call tracking and listening shows you other issues leading to call abandonment.
Call abandonment simply means the patient hung up before your staff could get to them and convert them. Losing out on a phone call can have a detrimental impact on your bottom line, depending on how much the prospective patient would ultimately spend on your services.
Common Reasons for Call Abandonment:
- You don’t have an answering system in place
- Your answering machine message is too long
- Your phone tree is too long or confusing
- Your answering system is on during workday hours
- Your office is closed during the weekday workday
Common Reasons for Loss of Prospective Patients:
- No answer during closed hours
- Your phone system has too many hoops to jump through
- Your office doesn’t take the patient’s insurance
- Patients aren’t given a clear answer about new appointment fees when they ask
- Your website doesn’t have a website chat section for patients to get questions answered at any time of day
What Does Call Tracking Teach Me?
Tracking where patients find you across the Internet gives you a clear picture of both the kind of patient you’re attracting to your practice and if you’re efficiently spending your marketing dollars.
Call Tracking and Your Marketing Spend
Consider this: Can you and your staff pinpoint how many calls you receive as a result of your social media? How about your Google Business Profile, your dental practice website or your monthly patient newsletter?
Using call tracking helps you accurately see your return on investment for these marketing strategies and reallocate funds towards what is working and away from what isn’t.
Call Tracking and Staff Training
Maybe you have a fantastic and sales-minded front desk staff who is great on the phone, which makes your missed opportunities even more frustrating. It might not even be a personnel issue you’re facing, but logistics. Do you have staff available to answer the phones during peak call times? Do you even know your peak call times?
Call tracking helps you see when you are missing your calls due to breaks, office hours or understaffing issues, which can also negatively impact your phone conversion rate. By tangibly seeing this data and how it impacts your bottom line, you can readjust your staffing and coverage needs around peak days and times for new patient calls.
The Benefits of Call Recording
Every state has a “consent” law when it comes to recording telephone conversations. The Federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) allows you to record patient telephone calls and in-person conversations as long as you have the consent of at least one or both parties.
At Whiteboard Marketing, we always recommend two-party consent.
What Can My Recorded Calls Tell Me?
Call recording helps you analyze the needs of callers and the performance of front desk staff. Hearing the conversations your team has with new and returning patients helps you determine:
- If you have the correct information on your website
- If you have the correct on-hold message
- If you are attracting the right traffic
- Which of your marketing campaigns are bringing new patients through the door
- How your staff handles calls
Implementing an entirely new system for call tracking and recording may sound overwhelming, but the call tracking cycle itself is quite straightforward and simple to follow.
Find Success by Following the Call Tracking Cycle:
- Patient calls your office
- Call is tracked with a special number
- Call is recorded
- Call recording is listened to by your team
- Team is trained with call insights
- Marketing strategy is modified accordingly
How Do I Implement the Call Tracking Cycle?
Start making your phone work for you by implementing dynamic call tracking at your office and utilizing it in your training and marketing. Here’s how.
Invest in a Call Recording System
Get your practice set up with a system that tracks, records and analyzes your calls. At Whiteboard Marketing, we use CallRail for our clients.
Add a Call Tracking Number to Your Website, Social Media and Google Business Profile
Call tracking numbers are unique numbers created for different marketing campaigns that connect with your main office line.
Assign Call Tracking Numbers to Marketing Campaigns
Each special call tracking number you create helps you follow where your calls are coming from across the digital marketing ecosystem and see where your practice gets the most attention online.
Communicate With Your Team
Like any marketing strategy, you need buy-in from your team to make it work. Let your team know about the new measures you’re implementing to track, record and listen to calls, and communicate with them about what your expectations are for talking with patients.
Listen to Your Calls
Set up recurring monthly trainings and meetings to discuss what is working and what isn’t in your current over-the-phone communications.
Use Information from Calls to Train Staff and Modify Marketing
Assess how your staff handles each call and determine what needs to be said next time. If you hear repeated questions about hours, directions or insurance plans you accept, you can add this information to your website or on-hold message.
Need Help Implementing Dynamic Call Tracking and Recording?
At Whiteboard Marketing, call tracking, recording and listening is a fundamental component of our Dental Search Optimization (SEO) service. Our expert team listens to hundreds of calls each month and builds strategic digital marketing solutions for each client’s specific needs. Contact email@example.com to get started.
Written by Anna L. Davies, Digital Marketing Specialist at Whiteboard Marketing, with assistance from Jana Leu, SEO Manager.