The three primary goals of any successful medical practice are maintaining a high appointment conversion rate, growing your new patient base, and retaining existing patients. If you're marketing your practice, every time that phone rings, you have paid for that ring to occur. However, once that phone rings, and you ask a patient to hold, do you return to the line to find that they're no longer there? This is an area many practices struggle with or for that matter most businesses do.
On-Hold marketing is critical for every medical professional for attracting, converting, engaging and retaining both new prospective patients and existing ones. AT&T reports that the average business receives over 100 calls per day, and that 70 percent of callers are placed on hold. An even more staggering statistic is that more than 35 percent of callers who wait in silence or canned music hang-up in less than 45 seconds. Lost calls mean lost appointments, lost opportunity and ultimately lost revenues.
When that phone rings are you doing everything possible to accomplish the 3 main goals? Once your staff has placed a caller on hold, what are they going to hear? Some practices play music or radio, giving you no control over the content. Do you really want to broadcast a competitor's ad to your patient on hold? Many medical offices don't take consideration into caller on hold time at all, and simply leave callers waiting in "dead-air limbo." Patients would rather have a root canal, than wait in eternal silence. But, with custom branded On-Hold messaging, callers will wait up to four or more minutes, giving you the chance to serve them.
It's been estimated that the average medical practice receives over 250 calls a month just from new prospective patients alone, (this doesn't include the number of existing patient calls per month), and let's say that new prospective patients represent approximately $500 each in revenue. As noted above, industry benchmarks indicate 175 of those callers will end up on hold, and that 62 of those callers will hang-up before giving you the chance to serve them. When you do the math; 62 lost callers per month, times 12 months, equals 745 lost callers per year. And, if the average new patient represents $500 in revenue, then you're losing a potential $372,500 per year in new patient revenue due to lost calls and appointments.
You have two highly targeted audiences in which you can present your marketing message, thus On-Hold messaging is the most effective and efficient tool for your practice to enhance patient communication, increase revenues, strengthen patient loyalty and improve in office efficiency as well as the customer experience.
Listed below are just a few of the many topics you can include in your music on hold recording.
- Qualifications of the doctors and staff
- Provide health tips
- Introduce new patient specials
- Promote add-on services/treatments
- Hours and Location
- Insurances and Financing Options
- Ask for valuable referrals (or any referral programs)
- Website and Social Media Channels
- Convenient on-line appointment scheduling
- Encourage requests for online reviews
On-Hold marketing is truly a unique, highly targeted and invaluable in-bound marketing opportunity for your practice, one that should not be over-looked. A survey conducted by Call Center Technologies showed that callers who are exposed to messages on hold, results in a 25 percent increase in offerings mentioned while on hold. This can mean some real added profit centers for your practice.
Additionally, when you implement custom On-Hold strategy at your practice, you can improve efficiency of your office staff by helping to answer frequently asked questions such as hours and location which cause increased hold times. By answering these common questions, you help to reduce hold time, freeing up staff to handle other tasks.
Maxi-Marketing reports that 88 percent of callers prefer On-Hold messages to the alternatives (dead-air, radio or canned music). So, the bottom line is, "what callers hear while on hold" with your practice can be the difference between a great patient experience, or like having a root canal being performed on the phone while waiting for your staff to return to the line.
Are you using message On-Hold marketing at your practice? Why not?
Alan Rock is owner of HoldMasters, established in 1987, serving clients across the United States and Great Britain. They offer service in any language. He can be reached at email@example.com.