Yesterday I was showing Jessica, our new office assistant, the questions we ask chiropractors during a marketing consultation. One that caught her eye and sparked a question was why we want to know a practices office hours or if they have an after hour answering policy. Earlier this morning Chance, our lead designer and I were working on a client’s Reactivation Campaign and as always we examine what has changed in the practice for that specific practice. One issue for a lot of patients is “office hours” and as such we like to see if a practice has expanded or changed their “published” office hours. When we reviewed this client’s hours we discovered they are showing they are only open 16.5 hours per week. Then later in the day I had Jessica calling a few practices to setup times to speak to the doctors. She didn’t call some on the list because their office hours showed they weren’t currently open.
So you may see where I am going with this…
First and foremost what you publish as your office hours doesn’t have to just be your treatment hours.
When you review a medical facility, they don’t show their hours as 3-6pm on Thursday. No they are 8-6 Monday through Friday, even if the doctor is nowhere in sight. Have your team schedule appointments based on the hours you are currently publicizing as your office hours. If you only want to see patient at a certain time that is great and your staff should know, but your patients don’t need to know that. It gives a bad impression and many times shows unavailability when the patients are most likely to be available for calling or treatment. Such as before work, lunch time and after work. By simply changing your published office hours, you will automatically see an increase in calls and patients!
Second, make it easy for patients and new patients to schedule an appointment.
If they are injured, looking at their mail and review your postcard later in the evening, decide they need to schedule an appointment at work but can’t call, it will dramatically help your business if you have an online appointment setting feature on your website. Chance can add this feature to your site if you like. It’s very easy to add, is very user friendly and includes features such as:
- Appointment lists for online customers (allows your visitors to see upcoming appointments)
- Custom redirects after completed appointment setting
- Allows for cancelation
- Syncs perfectly with Google Calendar
- Share and collaborate with co-workers or other doctors
- confirmation and notification emails
- Add as many services as you would like (massage, adjustment, consultation, phone consult, you name it…)
- best of all… it’s easy to use for you customers
The list goes on with perks of having this on your site.
Thirdly, it is critical to have someone answering your phone when patients call.
Typically 8am-6pm. You can hire an answering service who will answer 24 hours a day. You can also have an after hours cell phone you have different team members rotate taking. Perhaps you just forward the office line to your cell. In any case, if existing or new patients call and no one answers, you are losing both new patients and existing. When a new patient calls your practice and gets a voicemail most are going to hang-up or not call back. If you call them back there is no guarantee they will answer. We had a client who did a postcard campaign and complained he wasn’t getting enough calls. When we reviewed his tracking number he had 12 individual new patient calls that went unanswered! That is a lot of opportunity not answered!
If you want to increase patients into your practice let people know you are open by publishing good office hours, allow patients to schedule directly from your website, and be sure the phone gets answered during all hours!
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