How to followup with dental patient leads?

Your Even28 profile is a powerful tool that can generate dozens of phone calls and online bookings for your practice each month. Of course, a phone call or email is just the first step in establishing doctor-patient relationship. There are a few other steps which you must take to ensure that you successfully convert these leads into actual patients. Here are a few tips on best practices when it comes to following up with phone calls and e-mail leads:

EMAIL LEADS

Dentist-Leads-Emails

Following up with email leads requires close attention to details. You need to come up with a powerful email template and a protocol on how to followup with your emails. Here are a few tips on best practices when it comes to following up with e-mail leads:

Keep it short and sweet!

Your objective of contacting patients is to schedule an appointment. Nothing more, nothing less! There's no need to write a lengthy, long email which does nothing but distract patients. Here’s an example of what a good email and bad email look like:

EXAMPLE OF A GOOD EMAIL

Subject: Re: Dentist Appointment

Hi Kayla,

Thank you for contacting our office. I have the following appointments available:

  • Option 1: Monday 6/26 @ 9:00 am
  • Option 2: Monday 6/26 @ 12:00 pm 
  • Option 3: Tuesday 6/27 @ 8:30 am 
  • Option 4: Tuesday 6/27 @ 11:00 am

Do any of these options work for you? If not, what other times are you available so I can check them against our availability. Also, let me know if you have dental insurance so we can verify your eligibility in advance. Thanks again for choosing Beautiful Smiles Dentistry, office of Dr. John Smith and associates.

Regards,

Betty McNeil
Office manager
(123)456-7890

EXAMPLE OF A BAD EMAIL

Subject: In response to your email about a dental appointment

Hello,

Thank you so much for choosing us to be your dentist! We are so excited that you choose us. We are a established practice and we focus on cosmetic dentistry. We offer CareCredit and accept most PPOs and denti-cal. When can you come in? I can get you in anytime on Monday or Tuesday, just tell me when’s a good time for you. By the way, do you have dental insurance? What is your insurance and insurance ID? Again, we are very excited that you selected our office and we can’t wait to meet you!

Truly and sincerely,

John Smith, DDS, FAGD
CEO Beautiful Smile Dentistry

 

HIGHLIGHTS OF A GREAT LEAD GENERATION EMAIL:

  • Powerful subject line: Your email subject has to be catchy yet concise.
  • Refer to patients by name: Your patient provides you with their name on their contact form so be sure to refer to them by their preferred name.
  • List appointment times: Provide patients a few options to book their appointment based on the days and times they have selected. Never give patients too many options. Not only does this make it more difficult for patients to choose a time, it also makes you appear desperate!
  • Politely inquire about insurance (optional): You can ask if the patient has insurance and verify their eligibility in advance. This is especially useful for doctors who rely heavily on insurance. Fee-for-service practices can skip this step.
  • Repeat your practice name and doctor name: It's always a good idea to include the practice name and the doctor name within the email. Use every opportunity to reiterate your name and your brand.
  • Emails must come from office manager or secretary: Never send your first email from the doctor directly.
  • Avoid unnecessary punctuation: Don't keep using exclamation, colons, question marks, etc. as this happens to be some people's pet-peeve.
  • Limit your email to one paragraph: A good lead generation email should be about one paragraph long. You don't need to worry about selling yourself and your services here, therefore avoid any unnecessary discussions. Keep in mind, the patient has already chosen you as their dentist, and there's no need to sell yourself a second time.

Followup with your emails immediately

Ideally, you want to respond to your patient's emails within the first 15 minutes. The faster you respond to emails, the more likely you are to book an appointment. If you receive an email in the middle of the night, be sure to respond first thing in the morning.  The quicker you get back to potential patients, the better your chances of locking in their appointment.

SMS alert for new patient appointments

online-booking-SMS-text-confirmations

You have the option of  receiving a text whenever you receive a new patient booking from your Even28 Profile. Basically, as soon as someone books their appointment, you or your staff will receive a text reminder directly from our website (your cellphone is not made public). This allows you to respond to your patient immediately and improves your chances of booking an appointment. Keep in mind that linking your profile to SMS is only available for our premium providers. To learn more about how to add SMS to your Even28 profile and form submissions, contact us at [email protected]

Use perks, coupons, Groupon, etc.

There's nothing wrong with using discounts and incentives to get new patients to book their appointment with you. Here are a few ways you can do this:

  • Email coupons: Offering coupons to new patients can definitely increase your online booking success rate. You can include coupons with your emails. Be sure to indicate an expiration date, typically one month, to increase odds of patient booking their appointment with you.
  • Add a Groupon deal: Not enough time or resources to design your own coupons? Then let Groupon do the job for you instead. Create one or two Groupon deals and we will add them to your Even28 Online Store. Patients who land on your profile can purchase these deals directly from your profile. Adding a few attractive Groupon deals can significantly improve your conversions.
  • Offer "Perks": Perks are also a great way to encourage patient bookings and improve show rates. You can list up to 5 perks at one time and your patients get to choose the one that best suits their needs. "Perks" are only available to premium profile members.

TELEPHONE LEADS

 Dentist-Leads-Phone-Calls

Dealing with phone calls may sound like a simple enough task. However, a few subtle things can significantly improve your chances of converting phone calls into actual patients. Here are a few tips on how to improve your handling of phone calls:

Answer the phone!

Patients who call your office want to talk to a live person, otherwise they would just email you. The big challenge here is how to handle after hour phone calls. One option is to have one of your staff members answer calls after hours. Something as simple as call forwarding can solve this problem. You can also use an after hours answering service to handle these phone calls. Either way, having a live person answer phone calls is far more effective than asking patients to leave a voicemail.

    Return voicemails and missed calls immediately

    The quicker you get back to new patients, the better your chances of scheduling an appointment for them. Get back to your patient ASAP following a missed phone call or when you receive a voicemail. Ideally, you want to return missed calls and voicemails within the first 5 to 10 minutes. If you call new patients back 5 to 6 hours later, they have probably forgotten about you and found another dentist.

      Work on your staff's phone etiquette

      Successful phone conversations need to be active, friendly, and engaging. There are a lot of little details that contribute to a positive phone call experience. For example, a simple "how are you?" can increase your chances of booking an appointment by 3 folds. The ideal phone call should last between 3 to 5 minutes, neither too short nor too long. Work with your staff to improve their phone etiquette and you'll notice a significant improvement in your conversions.

        Followup, but don't harass!

        It's common courtesy to contact patients more than one time to remind them about their inquiry. We recommend that you followup with unresponsiveness leads within 2 to 7 days. A second followup email or phone call can be a great way of reminding patients about their overdue dentist appointment. However, you don't want to keep sending endless emails, texts, etc. Two emails, texts, or phone calls is usually enough. A third is the absolute maximum (if you choose to contact patients 3 times then make your third contact in one month). Two to three followup reminders should be enough. After all, there's always the possibility that patients keep your emails or text handy and contact you in a few months when they're ready to start treatment. However, you should never contact patients more than 3 times. This makes patients think that you're too pushy and they get turned off.

        Contact patients at peak days/hours

        If you can't get back to patients right away, then contact them when you have the best odds of getting through. For example, Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days to contact missed opportunities. In contrast, Mondays, Fridays, and weekends are the worst days to followup with missed leads. The best times to followup with patient leads is between 8:30 am to 9:30 am or 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Make a habit of following up with your missed leads during these peak days and hours, when patients are most receptive to receiving a phone call or email from their new dentist.

        Keep on Tuckin'!

        Keep-On-Truckin

        Don't obsess too much over how many leads you're generating, converting, etc. Dental marketing and branding is more than just numbers. The number of leads you generate is not nearly as important as the quality of patients that your Even28 profile is generating for your practice. For instance, would you rather have one patient who receives $10,000 of dental work or 10 patients who receive $75 of dental work? High-quality patients, those who need lots of dental work and have the resources and motivation to fix their smile, they are out there. You may not get them on your first few leads and that's okay. Keep growing and strengthening your profile and be patient while we improve your digital footprint month after month. Be sure to respond to all your leads, be polite and professional, and remain patient. High-quality patients are out there, they will find you and choose you as their dentist sooner or later!