By the time a new patient walks through your door, chances are they’ve already formed their first opinions of your practice. Patients are taking charge of their healthcare decisions and doing a lot of research before an appointment is even scheduled. Like it or not, you will be judged on how your website and Facebook page look and on what others are saying about you on review sites. If you can’t attract a patient beyond their first Google search, first visit to your website, or the first phone call, then you’ve probably lost them.
Most new patients are going to first learn about your practice by visiting the website.
Open up a web browser and take a look at your site. Be honest – when was the last time you looked at it? I mean really looked at it.
Is it professional? Does it truly represent your brand and your business’s capabilities?
A clean, up-to-date website with current information about your practice will let prospective patients know that they have found what they are looking for. It will also show that your practice is state-of-the-art, experienced and on top of the latest medical technologies – especially since you’ll be using your website to showcase all of your services.
What is the user experience like? Is it easy for a patient to find what they are looking for?
Ideally, new visitors will be able to easily locate important pieces of information that they’ll use to educate themselves on what your practice has to offer. Contact details like the phone number and address should be plainly visible to a prospective patient. A well thought out website balances an eye catching and professional design with functionality that allows the user to easily navigate to the information they are looking for.
Do you offer a mobile version of your site?
With smartphone owners outnumbering non-smartphone owners and mobile web usage stats consistently on the rise, it’s best to make sure that your website is optimized and caters to patients on the go. A website that looks perfect on a typical desktop or laptop might be nearly impossible to browse through on a smartphone. Be careful that your website is deterring patients that prefer to use their smartphone to browse the web.
What options for providing assistance does your website offer?
83% of shoppers need support to complete an online purchase. You may not be interested in getting a shopper to complete a purchase, but you are trying to get people on your website to complete some kind of action (i.e. sending an email, submitting a web form, calling a phone number). Top support channels include providing your telephone number, listing a customer support email, including a contact form, offering live chat and including a FAQ page.
Is your staff trained to respond quickly to those website generated help requests?
Did you know that 71% of web users expect assistance within five minutes when accessing customer service features on a website? That can be a tall order to fill, which is why setting realistic expectations is important. Clearly indicating customer service hours of availability will go a long way in setting your interactions up for success. Combining that with training staff to respond quickly during those hours will leave a good impression on your future patients.
Speaking of Internet research, how’s your online reputation?
If you’re a regular reader, you may remember that last month my colleague Adam Wormann blogged about the importance of managing your online reputation. If that wasn’t enough to convince you of the importance of curating your online reputation, take a look at these statistics:
- 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- 4 out of 5 people say they have received advice about a product or service via social media.
- 90% of Yelp users say that positive reviews affect their buying choices.
If you missed Adam’s post, I recommend taking a few minutes to read it and educate yourself on the importance of reputation management. You’ll learn about why you should be proactive now to minimize your need to be reactive later.
Now, what about that first phone call?
A phone call is usually the first time that a potential patient is speaking with a member of your staff. This initial point of contact plays an important role in shaping the overall customer experience. What are you doing to ensure that this interaction leaves patients with a good impression?
Is your staff friendly and empathetic?
Projecting a positive attitude through tone is key when speaking on the telephone. Your staff won’t be able to rely on body language to communicate that they are there to help. A good customer service-training program is invaluable when it comes to educating your staff on the importance of listening, empathy and positivity when interacting with prospective patients during that first phone call.
Is your staff trained regularly on the latest information about your doctors and their offerings?
Having protocols and procedures in place puts them in a position to provide consistent service and the ability to answer questions and think on their feet. It will also give them the confidence to volunteer information about the practice and drive the conversation. Set them up to succeed and your patients will take notice.
Is it easy to make that first appointment?
Are patients transferred multiple times or asked to repeat the same information?
By making sure that callers are reaching the right person, the process becomes less frustrating and gives patients the opportunity to develop a level of comfort with your staff.
At Points Group, we offer services to help you grow your healthcare business. If you’re looking for assistance in implementing any of the recommendations mentioned above, we can help. Contact us to start taking control of that first impression.