When it comes to patients beginning their journey with you online, customer service is key. This is why it’s important to reinforce your brand’s values and voice across your entire team, starting with your front desk staff. From the initial inquiry all the way to consultation and beyond, how the practice handles each and every patient interaction can determine the fate of the relationship.
To put it simply: The better the interaction, the more likely the patient is to convert. But what makes a great customer service experience in elective healthcare?
In our latest blog post, CEO Ryan Miller shares his top tips and best strategies for improving patient conversions from those initial leads.
Hi again, I’m Ryan Miller, CEO with Etna Interactive, and we’re back today for a different kind of video recording. We’re going to talk a little bit about how to improve both your conversion levels and the quality of the leads that you receive online. Now, my intention with this particular video is that you’d watch it once, that you’d share it with your staff to precipitate conversations and discussion, and that you come back to it every time you add a new member to your front office team so they can share your values and the approach that you want for your practice and how you handle your online inquiries.
Let’s face it, we have conversations about customer service. We think about our own experiences. We’ve all had these kinds of moments.
The hard sell.
Where you get chased out of a store because you were hoping to kind of quietly browse around, learn a little bit, look around, and that aggressive salesperson just ran you out of the environment…
The empty aisle.
…or the exact opposite. For me, usually this is the moment that I have at Home Depot where I’m trying to find a specific thing and I can’t seem to find anyone to help me and answer my very specific and unique question.
And, of course — the dreaded phone jails that we all get into. Usually for me, this is calling my cable company or my credit card company, or I’m asked to enter the same data over and over again as if they never knew me.
So, these kinds of experiences, we think about them and they’re horrible. They’re waste our time, they poison our relationship or our respect with a brand, and yet we do all of these same things when we provide electronic customer service:
- We get an email from somebody, we don’t respect the content and we aggressively try to sell them a procedure.
- We fail to answer in a timely basis.
- We take someone who already has a relationship with the practice and we don’t acknowledge that history of that relationship in a context-sensitive email reply.
Ultimately, what we want to talk about today is before you respond, taking time as a business to respect the context of that inquiry. Because every single inquiry that we receive, they give us at least two discreet dimensions of context:
- Communication or treatment history with that patient.
- The way that the form was chosen and transmitted to the office.
So let’s break those two things down:
- Have they been seen in the office before?
- What was the time and substance of their last communication?
- Take extra precaution to protect patient privacy.
- Where did the inquiry originate and what was the nature of that form?
- Did they indicate a concern or procedure interest?
- What was the content or question of their message?
- What can we tell about their intent? Awareness, interest desire or action?
All of that can be understood when we look at the nature of the form and the message content. Now, that can all transpire in a matter of minutes because we know if we look at the data, it tells us that the optimal response time when we’re looking at digital inquiries is under five minutes and the longer we wait, the less likely that we’ll ever see that person in our practice. Yet, given our own experience with customer service and the expectations that we all know that we bring into our our interactions with businesses. I still get clinics all the time that ask this question, “Well, can I just use an autoresponder?”
Clearly, the answer is no. When we think about context-sensitive replies, the action plan for handling all of our emails going forward needs to be this:
- Prioritize your replies based on the message’s context (and consultation requests should come first).
- Check your practice management and CRM software for treatment and conversation history.
- Consider the context of the inquiry.
- Craft and appropriate reply, and using a template can save time.
Now we get asked all the time, “Can I use templates?” The answer is “absolutely”, but you want to take the time to customize those templates so the patient recognizes that your message is a unique and personal response to them and to their inquiry. In addition, the promise of this particular video recording is that it’s not just about improving context and conversion, but also quality. When you follow up your inquiries on a monthly or quarterly basis by actually auditing performance, checking which of those inquiries has turned into patients, that’s going to allow you and your marketing partner to better target your marketing to those people who are primed to become patients.
If you want to learn more, there’s a couple different things you can do. Obviously, you can subscribe to our newsletter, but it just so happens that we already have a series of recordings that go into greater detail about how you can use email effectively in marketing and communications in your practice. And of course, as always, I welcome you to contact me directly by email. Thanks for staying tuned today.