The Phone Experience and Your New Patients
Updated: Aug 16, 2022
I just read about a new study sponsored by a tech company (Invoca.com*) that sought to understand the buying habits of consumers better.
It revealed that as inflation increases, the expectations of customers do as well.
It pointed out that inflation has consumers rethinking their more expensive purchases, including health care. However, almost two-thirds (63%) report that they’re still willing to pay more to get better customer service. (My italics.)
While consumer shopping is based on price, they’re also demanding better experiences. The survey found that more than three-quarters of respondents (76%) said they would stop doing business with a company after just one bad experience.
When respondents ranked the possible reasons why they would stop doing business with a company, a bad phone experience was second only to high prices. (My italics.)
Another interesting fact I noted was that most consumers ranked the phone as their preferred channel when they needed help regarding a purchase. They may go to your website, but the vital moment occurs on the phone. Not texting, emailing, or even visiting the office in person, but the phone call is the preferred method of contacting you.
And the preferred use of the phone in the 2022 survey was up 8% since 2021.
How your patients and potential patients are treated on the phone has an enormous impact on your weekly practice numbers. I would estimate that up to 20% of your volume could fluctuate based upon the great experience or poor experience someone has with your front desk.
The ebullient nature of the staff person you have plays a key role, but so is that staff member’s experience while working in your office. For example, I have seen visits go up when a new happy-to-be-hired front desk staff member takes over the front desk, only to see the numbers dip after they become discouraged a few months later.
The front desk is the most demanding role you have in your office. They need to always be “on,” eager, and interested in phone calls while at the same time checking people in, collecting money, and chatting with patients as they can.
I have spent occasions rehearsing with the front desk on answering the phone. It is simple, but done correctly, it is an art.
Even if your front desk team are pros, positively rehearse with them now and then – tell them even the experts practice daily!
Constant improvement is the road to excellence, and excellent service is needed in our post-Covid world.
And in the end, all this study points to is that common courtesy, genuine interest in and care for each other, being authentic, and kindness are more valuable than ever.
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