One of the most frustrating scenarios for a marketer is seeing new sales enquiries either being ignored or not followed through properly. And you would be amazed at how often it happens.
How do you know what’s truly going on at your reception desk? It is difficult, as you’re in surgery all day generating the revenue which will keep the practice profitable. However it’s something either you or your practice manager needs to keep on top of. The most central part of your brand is your reception team. I often get an arched eyebrow when I say this, with the assumption that logos, colour schemes, brochures, website etc. are the key brand elements. They are only a small piece of the puzzle. Your brand is each and every transaction carried out within your practice and which the patient walks away remembering.
When talking about the negative impact which can be achieved I always use my personal example of the €13,400 Wi-Fi voucher. A few years ago I was waiting at a hotel in the centre of Dublin. I arrived early for a meeting and thought I’d catch up on some work so tried to log onto their Wi-Fi. It’s a hotel, which can remain nameless, that I have stayed at quite a few times and held numerous meetings in. I needed a log-in and when I asked the receptionist was told I had to either be a guest or pay €10 for a 24 hour log-in. I explained that I wasn’t staying that night but was a regular guest and had even arranged small conferences there. Surely they could issue me a complimentary one hour pass? The curt reply was no!
Since that afternoon I have estimated what I could have spent there in the next five years, as you should always assess the potential revenue of a customer (patient) over a five year period, and this is a very conservative estimate. Each year let’s assume I stayed there one night a month at €100, a €40 bill for coffees/ lunch at meetings each time and hosting one workshop per annum there at €1,000. Over a five year period that’s a total of €13,400. And that’s not even accounting for the evenings I would have gone there socially. Was that really worth a one hour Wi-Fi pass? All the marketing that hotel has done over the last few years was wasted in my case because of one receptionist. There were many other hotels out there willing to offer me exceptional service in the economic climate which existed at the time, where the customer was king. Suffice to say I never returned.
So how does that equate to your practice?
Well I barely feel the need to tell you that every call should be answered, yet in the hundreds of mystery shopper calls I have carried out this isn’t always the case. Bin the answering machine, less than 20% of people left messages in a practice analysis I carried out some time ago. Use a company which will answer your calls with your practice name, you can have the calls automatically routed there during lunch or instead of the patient getting an engaged tone.
I mentioned mystery shopper calls above, when did you last do them? If never, then you have no idea how warm a welcome people are being extended. Also, be sure to ask your patients in your next satisfaction survey what their first impression of the reception team was.
Every time I speak to large groups of dentists and spend an hour on the ‘getting your ducks in a row’ section I frequently get the reply “this is the most obvious section of the day”, however when I then go on to ask how many are doing it there are invariably very few hands raised.
We can all be guilty of knowing something needs done, however knowing it and doing it are two different things entirely!