Hitting the phones (and answering calls) the right way is a cornerstone of any client-orientated business. This includes medical practices. Bringing in new clients and keeping the current ones happy is as important in medicine as it is in any other business, but the question remains, how can we optimize the way we and our staff handle phone calls properly and bring in more business?
Let us break it down for you and give you 3 simple ways you can help to move the conversion needle with phone calls.
When you are making sales calls, following up with clients, or even answering the phones, your patient or prospect should be leaving the call with more than they started with. Whether they are specifically requesting information or you are calling them with the goal of scheduling an appointment, you need to make sure your reason for calling is not simply to make a sale.
Start off with something helpful, it could be something as simple as wishing them a happy birthday. Give them a reason that you are calling. Something that they will find value in. When talking about medical practices, an easy way to provide value to new prospects would be to notify them of some events in the area that could promote a healthy lifestyle in relation to issues they are having. This is something great to do on the phone as well as by email. Sometimes content like this is better delivered to people on your email list.
If we are talking about current patients, it is even easier to come up with ideas. A followup call that goes over their past visit and provides high-level bullet points from the doctor on the specific case will help them better understand the outcome of their visit and, most of the time, schedule another visit if needed right then and there.
There is a delicate balance between providing value to people on the phone and just plain annoying them. It is a skill that is easy to learn and difficult to master. Practice makes perfect, but keeping these important things in mind will help get you there faster.
Start the call of the right way
Rather than just getting into the nitty-gritty details of the phone call and why you are calling, remember to remain conversational in nature. You wouldn’t start of a phone call with a friend you haven’t seen in a while with your “purpose” for the call, right? A friendly intro always helps get the call off on a positive note.
Studies have shown that leading off with a positive comment or even just a simple good weather forecast can increase conversions and make the phone call more enjoyable for everyone involved.
In general, try not to be in a big rush to get off the phone. Take your time and enjoy yourself a little bit. Talk to clients and prospects like you would your friends and family. It will make them happier to be having the call with you, especially if the reason for your call is not a fun one. In our field, it rarely is.
Simplify appointment options
This one is an easy one to implement into pretty much any current strategy for handling phone calls.
Rather than leading off with something like “when would you like to come in?” give them a few options. A better way to handle this would be to say something like “we have _____ and _____ available for the date of _____. Which works best for you?” Giving people just a few simple options rather than asking an open-ended question will keep them more focused and allow you to optimize your schedule the way you want to – filling in time slots more tactfully to spend your time wisely and give more complicated cases more attention if needed.
Answering the phones and making outbound calls properly will help you to fill up your schedule and optimize it better to benefit your patients. When your staff has good phone skills, you will notice retention rates rising as well as spikes in new patient acquisition.
If you (or your staff) need help with this, get in touch with us. We are happy to help out when and where we can. A quick consultation with us could help to identify issues and put a plan in action to correct them.
What do you have to lose?