Satisfaction and patient experience are the lifeblood of your practice, and they determine revenue growth. It is important that your team understands just how fundamental they are in the process of acquiring new business and building long-term relationships with your current patients.
However, it is also important to maintain a steady stream of potential patients booking with your practice. Are your staff keeping your appointment schedule filled with qualified buyers? Do they know what a qualified buyer looks like? Do you continue to go through the motions, only to get the exact same results each month: a 20% to 30% conversion rate?
Successful practices don’t leave their revenue to chance. The ideal approach to driving consult conversion, patient retention, and referrals all starts with practice data, an invaluable tool in helping you build a strong client base and a foundation for future business. Take a strategic look at your existing numbers and make sure you know the following:
- Number of consults scheduled
- Number of no shows/cancellations
- Number of patients that arrived at consult
- Same-day conversion rate
- Mature conversion rate
Use this data to determine your current proficiency and conversion rates, and to identify different opportunities that you have for improvement. Every practice has numerous opportunities to grow given their current activity level.
Share the data with your staff so that they can learn how to align with the practice goals. Team members who understand the importance of bolstering revenue, conversion and customer satisfaction, all have a history of success. Provide ongoing coaching and support so that both the practice and the patient wins.
It's show time
Begin each consultation day with a “Touch Base/Rally Meeting.” This will give your staff an opportunity to provide an overview of each patient, including who they are, the reason for their visit, the timeframe for their treatment, obstacles to conversion and their likelihood to schedule.
Every staff member has a valuable role in the consultation process.
Ensure that your staff understands the importance of that initial phone call with a prospective patient, as this is where the consultation truly begins! Experienced staff members should be able to effectively pre-qualify patients and differentiate between “buyers” and “shoppers.” They should also be aware of their same-day and mature conversion rates.
It is important that the reception staff always be warm and inviting as they greet all potential and established clients. The reception staff assists the team in gathering paperwork, entering data into the software systems, and managing patient wait times, as it is important that neither the team nor the patients are left waiting.
Coordinators/consultants are tasked with familiarizing themselves with the patient and their story. They are prepared to greet the clients, create a bond and utilize tools such as before-and-after photos, ratings and reviews. As for the providers, they are actively engaged with every consult, providing personalized solutions for each patient and making themselves available to answer any and all questions.
Regarding reviews, do you have any staff members who are also patients at your practice? If so, they should be proactively sharing their results and their experience with all prospective patients. Data from Vizium360 shows that scheduling rates are 12% higher when a patient can speak with a previous patient. You can’t ignore those numbers!
Maximizing your tools
Patient-education technology plays an important role in the consultation process. All patients greatly benefit from watching a short video about their procedure of interest, especially if it is tailored to the practice.
Review ways that you can incorporate technology, such as TouchMD, that will allow you to personalize the patient experience by electronically annotating on photos and diagrams that the patient can refer to after their visit. It is important to provide the patient with ample before-and-after photography, so they can visualize the results they are hoping to achieve.
The best way to implement photography is to have your staff select images that align with the patient and their goals. Ensure that your team can share the story of that patient in their photos, which makes the experience and value that the practice offers seem more obtainable.
If applicable, sizing is another powerful closing tool, especially when combined with before-and-after photos. Be sure to email these to the patient as a reminder of the possibilities. Not only will the patient enjoy viewing them, but they are certain to share them with their friends, as well.
It costs how much?
Great results often come at a cost, and your staff should be prepared to discuss various options with the patients.
Train staff members to be confident during the fee-quote process and ensure that they routinely incorporate finance options. The coordinator should address patient priorities when presenting the fees, including appropriate quotes that align with the patient’s aesthetic goals and refrain from providing a one-size-fits-all recommendation.
Provide the patient with a Transformation Plan that identifies the patient goals, their procedure and the estimated time frame.
Be prepared to overcome objections, as these are buying signals! The patient needs to be reassured of their investment and feel as though your practice is the best choice for their procedure.
What happens next
Not every patient will schedule a treatment during the initial consultation. This is entirely normal, as it can take about seven to ten points of contact before the average consumer makes their decision.
Your practice’s mature conversion rate is determined by the timeliness of follow-through, in addition to the enthusiasm of your staff and their genuine approach to caring for patients. It is up to them to set the expectation that a follow-up will occur, to ensure the patient’s needs are being met.
Agree on a date within five to seven days when you will touch base, and make sure that your staff are following through on their commitments to contact patients on time. Combine phone calls and targeted emails as part of your plan.
By having a well-defined sales strategy and on-going management of patient data, your 2019 goals can be met and exceeded.
Remember to focus on every step of the patient experience and ensure that your staff, process and tools are all aligned with your practice goals. Celebrate the improvements along the way and continue to use your data to identify opportunities for growth.
About the Author
Ms. Linden is the executive VP of training and implementation at Crystal Clear Digital Marketing (Orlando, Fla.), a leading firm that provides world-class software, marketing and consulting solutions for the modern medical / aesthetic practice.