5 Tips to Increase Your Appointment Rates

You invest a lot of money in your clinical marketing to get your phone ringing. Are your front desk staff doing everything they can to get you the most appointments possible?

Use this helpful checklist to get more appointments and increase your marketing ROI:

1. Do your staff members answer the phone in 3 rings or less?

If yes, great! If no, there’s ample evidence to show you could be losing as many as 25% of callers who don’t want to be directed to voicemail. Ouch. A simple fix is to have a different staff member answer the phone than the staff member checking out patients. Keep these roles separate. Answering the phones and booking new appointments is too important to your practice to dilute with other roles. When the phones aren’t ringing, this staff member should be actively following up on your leads – calling people who didn’t book an appointment or even calling patients just to touch base and see how they’re doing (you’ll be amazed at how little touches to show patients that you really care will explode your referral rate).If you don’t have enough staff to have a different person answer the phones versus check patients in and out, they need to be especially nice to whomever is calling in. Instead of putting them on hold for 2 minutes, offer to call them straight back.

2. Do your staff use a proven script?

Many physicians I work with have told me that their staff have scripts and use them – but on mystery shopping their practice and booking an appointment – they’re shocked to learn what their staff are really saying on the other end. There’s a reason why the world’s top sales people all rely on scripts. They work. If your staff are not using a script you’re losing appointments. If you don’t have a script for your staff to use please call our office and we’ll be happy to send you one of our best converting office scripts.

3. Are your staff measured on their appointment conversion rates?

This is a big one. I’m sure you have wonderfully responsible staff who are very diligent about answering your calls, and calling people back. If you’re not so lucky, then the quickest way to fix this is to link their pay to the number of appointments booked. This is an easy metric to measure and can be kept visible by way of a simple whiteboard in the break room. Set weekly and monthly targets and you can either give staff a small bonus when they’re met or exceeded, or consider these metrics in their annual review.

4. Do you use a live answering service so people never get sent to voicemail?

As big companies try to cut costs and reduce the quality of service they offer their customers, your practice can really distinguish itself by providing a premium level of service, for example, ensuring

that customers always speak to a real person every time they call and are never put on hold or sent over to voice mail.

5. Do you track and measure all calls coming into the practice.

You might be surprised to see just how many hang-ups you’re receiving, or how many people are calling you after 6pm. This will give you valuable data about how to increase call conversion. If more people are calling after hours, send them to a live person to take their information and answer their questions. If you’re getting a lot of hang-ups, get your staff to call these people back (your phone company can provide you with these numbers) and say something like: “We saw that you called our practice and we’re really sorry we missed your call. Is there something we can help you with?” Very, very few medical practices bother do to this, yet it’s a big opportunity.

Small hinges open big doors. Getting your staff to improve their phone conversion rates is a big opportunity to increase the revenue of your practice and maximize your marketing ROI.