It takes your staff an average of 18.1 phone calls to schedule a dental appointment. Which is not good.
At first blush, 18.1 sounds like a completely outrageous number. But let’s think about it for a second.
Does the average person you’re calling have your practice’s name and number stored in their phone so that it appears when you call them? Almost certainly not. And according to new research, 87% of people screen or outright reject calls from unknown numbers. So there’s the first few calls right there. A non-answer is almost guaranteed.
Furthermore, your work hours are their work hours, which means they have to take time out of their professional day to answer their personal phone, usually for a call from an unknown number. By the time they’re done with their day, you’re done with your day, so nobody’s calling. And if you have evening office hours, you’re running smack into the old cliche of “they always call right in the middle of dinner.”
After they finally (finally) respond to however many voicemails you’ve left, it’s time for the schedule checking/phone tag portion of our program. “No, Tuesday won’t work. Let me see if I can move the appointment on Thursday. Actually Thursday isn’t good, how about…”
Rinse and repeat until you end up with that insane average of 18.1 phone calls for every appointment that hits your books.
That’s not just annoying. It’s incredibly expensive. Even if it takes just 3 minutes to finish each of those calls and enter the details of the call into your system, that means every appointment on your schedule took a staff member 54.3 minutes of work. If you work 8 hour days 5 days a week (and who wants to do that?), a full-time staff member doing absolutely nothing but making calls this way will get you 44 appointments per week. That’s only 55% of the national average.
Right now, when many practices are beginning to reopen, schedules need to be full. And not just full for this month - full all the way into fall. How does your schedule look in October? That’s a question not enough people have asked themselves, but most will come to the same realization:
“I need to make a ton of phone calls… like hundreds of hours of phone calls”
Or maybe you don’t have to. Not if you’re using real online scheduling - the kind that lets patients book their own appointments on their own time. I believe LocalMed is the best online scheduling out there. Here are the top 3 ways it can save you vital time during these vital times.
- Simply having it on your website.
If you have a “request an appointment” button, 2/3rds of the work still needs to be done before that appointment is confirmed. That requires (you guessed it) hours of phone calls. LocalMed doesn’t take appointment requests - it fully books appointments into your schedule, just as complete and official as the kind your front desk would book over the phone. It takes every phone call out of the equation. All you have to do is follow up (and if you don’t want to, you don’t even have to do that).
- Using it in your followup programs.
Need old patients to come back to get that schedule filled? Stick the LocalMed scheduling link in your text and email messages. Rather than earning you more phone calls, your followups will allow patients to book directly at times you’ve already pre-approved.
- Using it in your voicemail
Rather than making patients leave you a voicemail and wait for a call back, you change your voicemail message to say “please feel free to fully book an appointment at any time on our website.” Boom, you just turned someone who might have called another practice into an appointment, all while you were literally sleeping.
Bottom line is this - have a plan to get that schedule as full as possible while wasting as little time and money as possible. And after all, when your staff isn’t spending every minute of their day scheduling appointments, they can spend more time with the people who are actually in your practice.