Be honest. It’s better to face it and fix it than it is to ignore it and keep losing.
Times have changed.
It’s just too competitive to be mediocre.
And it’s too costly to attract new prospective cosmetic patients only to lose them at the converting stage.
That means, you want to be better than your competitors, so they choose YOU.
Let’s remember, Aesthetic patients don’t NEED aesthetic services – they WANT them. When patients are spending their own money on elective procedures, they expect a certain level of service and that starts with the first telephone call they make to your office, to the staff they meet along the way and, of course, to the coordinator who gets them to a yes.
Increase your conversions, Receptionist Converting (or lack of) is a big problem in a majority of practices
As a matter of fact, 8 out of 10 offices have poorly-trained staff that cost them thousands of dollars a year in missed revenues.
The number #1 complaint I get from surgeons is you have great staff but they are not skilled enough in promoting you to your prospective patients who call and visit.
So, if you don’t address THIS part of your patient lead process, you will continue to put more time, money, and effort into advertising for new cosmetic patients and not get enough back in return when they don’t say YES to an appointment and then YES to a procedure.
This puts fickle consumer patients in the driver’s seat and that’s what is leading to a waste of your valuable time and holes in your schedule.
But here’s the good news…. It’s a problem with an easy solution. Or, at least easier than the alternative which is to throw a ton more money at lead generation and play the numbers game.
Then you risk staff burnout since it takes a lot of time, energy, and hassle to go through all these questionable leads to determine which of them are actually serious about moving forward. And the last thing you need right now is staff turnover since it’s become increasingly difficult to find good people.
So let’s talk about your phones first.
Have you ever cringed listening to your receptionist lose callers?
Do you wish she sounded confident and more professional?
To put bad phones in perspective in terms of what they are costing you if you lose just one
Injectable Patient per day valued at $500 that’s = $132,000 per year
Or 1 Surgical Patient per day valued at $5K that’s = $1,320,000 per year
You probably didn’t realize just how much money is slipping through your fingers because your team isn’t prepared to handle patient inquiries effectively.
The fact is, patients aren’t ever going to meet you and your coordinator if your phone staff can’t successfully increase your conversions with callers to appointments
Frankly, your staff may be unknowingly sabotaging your best practice promotional efforts because they simply don’t know how to convert consistently.
Let’s talk about your receptionist.
Think about how you feel when you call a business and your call is handled poorly.
Perhaps the phone rang a long time before someone picked up but then they put you on hold.
Maybe you got stuck in the phone tree from hell and got lost in all the choices so you gave up and hung up.
Certainly, that’s not the way the business owner would want you to be treated.
Well, it’s the same in your practice.
Most surgeons don’t believe this happens in their own office. Until they hear it for themselves so let me know if you want us to mystery shop your practice.
I assure you, in my consulting work, I have called hundreds of practices and have been amazed at what I’ve heard on the other end of the phone!
So here’s a typical scenario….
You have spent a fortune re-designing your website (again) to ensure Google and their rules don’t ban you from the Internet.
And, you work with a company to get your SEO in shape so prospective patients can find you online.
You are most likely spending advertising dollars on Real Self, Google Adwords, banner ads, and directories which isn’t cheap.
Then, you conquered the world of social media.
You’ve hired a team to blog for you, write content, and update your FB page regularly.
You even assigned an internal staff person to be your “social media director”.
This is costing you time and money but you’re sure it’s helping. So, the stage is set and you are ready for new cosmetic patients.
And all your efforts are working!!
Prospective cosmetic patients found you online, they learned enough about you and they are confident you are a great choice to help them with their needs.
They eagerly call your office with anticipation knowing you are a first-class practice ONLY TO HEAR….
“Doctor’s office. Please hold”…. Click and now on hold?
Or they are greeted by a disinterested receptionist with no enthusiasm
Perhaps a friendly receptionist who doesn’t know anything?
This WAS NOT the image or experience your callers expected.
That “incongruence” between your image portrayed to the prospective cosmetic patient is lost when that image is not carried through to your receptionist and how they handle callers on the phone.
What a waste to lose that cash-paying patient before you even got to meet them.
By the way, do you monitor your calls for consistency to be sure what you think is being said is actually being said?
Working with practices and call centers for years, I learned you can’t take anything for granted.
Just when you think you have trained your staff, you find they went right back to their old ways.
So, it takes constant never-ending improvement and accountability to increase your conversions and ensure they stay professional and on script.
If you’re having trouble getting your callers to book an appointment with you because they’re price-shopping, try this proven strategy:
When the caller asks your receptionist, “How much is it?”
Train your receptionist to say,
“Oh sure Sara, I can help you with that. It’s one of our most popular procedures and, just so you know, Dr. Smith has been in practice for more than (10) years and has performed over (1,500) of those procedures and he’s even trained other physicians.
Of course, Dr. Smith would need to examine you and meet with you to determine exactly what result you’re looking for, but I can tell you it starts at $3500 and you’ll get the exact pricing at your consultation.
Dr. Smith sees new patients on Tuesdays and Thursdays so do you have a preference or should I just let you know of our next available date?”
This Exceptional Receptionist response catapults you to expert status, pulls the patient out of commodity-thinking and asks for the appointment without pushing.
Now let’s talk about Increasing Your Consultation Conversion Rate
Let’s say you have great front desk staff, and they are excellent at booking callers for consultations.
The patient comes in and is greeted by that same friendly front desk person.
The visiting patient now goes through your consultation process of completing paperwork, having photos taken, and meeting with you, the surgeon, to discuss your recommendations.
So far, so good.
Now your patient coordinator takes over. Her job is to present the numbers, answer additional questions, and book surgery.
But is that what actually happens?
How often do you hear from your coordinator the would-be patients walked out the door without booking, never to be heard from again?
And then when you ask them about it, your coordinator tells you things like:
- They were just price shopping
- Maybe they can’t afford it
- They had to talk to their husband
But is that really true?
I guarantee at least 20% of those consults were lost due to your coordinator NOT being skilled and/or experienced enough to convert them.
Your patient coordinator can be a game-changer for your bottom line so please choose carefully who is representing you. She must believe in YOU, your skills as a surgeon, and truly believe you are the best choice so she can present you as such to your prospective patients.
BTW, the easiest way for your coordinator to close more consults is to show off her OWN results from your skills and expertise. That turns her into a personal storyteller about her own journey, as well as an aesthetic advisor. And immediately builds trust and credibility with the prospective patient who can see for themselves, results they, too, can expect.
How are their interpersonal skills?
She also must have powerful rapport-building skills to quickly bond with your prospective patients so they connect.
Consider what a difficult conversation this is to have with a complete stranger. The cosmetic patient is uncomfortable with their appearance, so they are feeling vulnerable and anxious.
The coordinator’s duty is to put them at ease and reassure them they are in the right place. That they will be happy with their result when they decide to move forward.
Your coordinator must have a process set up and powerful questions to ask, to help the patient articulate what they want. Why they want it and what it will take for them to say YES.
And, Your Patient Coordinator MUST “Comfortably and Confidently” close by asking for a decision.
So many practices have patient coordinators who are nice and look the part but have no idea how to ASK FOR A DECISION.
This one skill is a practice game changer when you have a skilled professional representing you.
But like anything else in life, it’s a learned skill. It takes proven strategies and practice.
For example, a trained and skilled patient coordinator is never pushy or aggressive.
They have the words and scripts and processes they follow to “lead” the patient to a decision that is comfortable for the patient.
For example, a simple closing strategy is to use an “assumptive” statement to help the patient make a decision.
So, after your coordinator presents the quote, she confidently goes back to the computer and says,
“Sara, since Dr. Smith is pretty booked out, so let me give you some dates we still have available to give you an idea of when you can have this done.”
If Sara doesn’t object, she is moving forward and you are that much closer to a yes so keep going.
Here is the secret to your success. A professional gets good at the fundamentals. They learn and practice the key components needed to be successful.
They know it takes repetition and never-ending improvement of the core basics so they become second nature.
Lastly, I want to touch on Staff accountability to increase your conversions
You’ll always get better results when you have the end game in mind so you know what you are striving for.
The most effective goals are the ones that are obtainable but a stretch, and, they are also measured regularly so staff is held accountable.
For example, your receptionist’s goals can be:
- Answer the phone with a friendly smile within 3 rings
- Convert 60% new callers coming in from the Internet
- Convert 90% of those referred by WOM referrals
- Keep calls under 4 minutes
Your coordinator’s goals can be:
- Make pre-consult calls
- Convert 60% consults coming from the Internet
- Convert 90% consults from WOM referrals
- Block 1 hour per week to make F/U calls
But the secret to increase your conversions is to regularly go over the goals and actions taken to reach those goals. Give praise and suggestions for improvement so your staff knows you care.
Executing these goals and the strategies I just went over should give you a nice raise this year so execute, practice, and see what happens.
Of course, If your receptionist and/or coordinator could use professional converting training, check out The Converting Club for the strategies, scripts, and accountability your staff needs to help you grow.