When Your Successful Marketing Overwhelms Your Front Desk

On the DentalTown message board, I read again and again about the struggle the front desk staff has when the practice kicks up its advertising campaign and telephone traffic increases. Many of you are thinking, “Wow, I wish I had that problem,” but seriously, it is a real issue that can backfire and create frustrated callers who WANT to become new patients, but cannot successfully get through to make an appointment.

This problem has greatly increased as more practices have invested more resources into social media campaigns and traditional advertising. Many practice owners think that once they have opened more avenues to bring in traffic, that the front office can just answer more calls and all will be well. Simple math will reveal the problem. The call flow to your front office is already massive. They are involved with existing client calls about billing, insurance, cancellations/reschedules, vendors, referrals from or to specialists, service providers, oh yeah, and now you have just run a new robust marketing campaign so they are getting hammered by a bunch of new callers. If you don’t believe me, ask them. Or better still, start monitoring the number of calls they take and the time each call takes. You will be stunned at the results. Sure, phone training will reduce the duration of each call, but they will still be very busy.

Growth creates work. When front office staff members already feel maxed out with call traffic, then they are not the best people to have trying to convert new callers into new patients. The first instinct of many practice manager is to just hire another person to help handle calls. But then there are the added expenses, for example; training, salary, matching, floor-space, furniture, another phone, etc. Many times “just hiring another person” turns out to be a pricey solution.

The work is too important to be farmed out to an answering service, because they are only trained to take messages, not convert leads or schedule patients. That is the job of the modern contact center. In our operation, agents occupy work stations 24/7/365. They trained specifically to convert inquiring callers into patients and get them scheduled into your calendar as soon as possible. They are professional, empathetic and efficient. Our average call to convert and book a patient is completed in under 4 minutes. You don’t pay a huge sum for each conversion, but only for the time it takes to have your call answered. Our conversion rates are very high because your staff is answering all the routine calls while we are handling your new patient calls.

As part of our united communications system, we handle chats from your webpage. Many people prefer the chat mode -especially late at night- to calling, so our agents are trained to chat your callers right into an appointment, while you are home relaxing. Once we get them scheduled into your calendar, we email you with the details of the appointment.

Contact centers are the future of high quality customer service on the telephone, but make certain you pick one that has HIPAA certification and knows its way around your practice management program. Concierge Contact Center schedules thousands of patients a month for hundreds of smart practices across the United States and Canada.

John Ross