Response Time and Conversion Rates are Directly Correlated
Examining the Data
We live in a fast-paced world focused on (near) instant gratification. Our desire for quick results takes place not only with commerce and services that interest us, but even into necessities such as healthcare.
In crowded industries like dentistry and medicine, standing out from your peers on every level is extremely important: from initial contact to post-treatment guidelines, your (potential) patients will rely on you for your expertise, attention-to-detail, and comforting care. Starting off with the right first impression is key to influencing their decision to schedule their initial appointment and to ultimately walk through your door.
Even in 2011, this much was true:
Firms that tried to contact potential customers within an hour of receiving a query were nearly seven times as likely to qualify the lead (which we defined as having a meaningful conversation with a key decision maker) as those that tried to contact the customer even an hour later—and more than 60 times as likely as companies that waited 24 hours or longer.
Given that the online landscape has shifted dramatically – and not in a manner where attention spans have grown longer – we can safely assume that these sort of statistics not only ring true in the currently online environment, but are likely amplified even further.
As Forbes noted in an article in July of 2012, “they [companies] take 46 hours and 53 minutes to pick up the phone and respond to a lead. And the sales rep who does call, only makes 1.3 call attempts before giving up and moving on. And recent research shows it is getting better, but only slightly.”
Forbes garnered those statistics by testing over 10,000 companies via fifteen different “secret shopper” studies and combining the results.
Similar to the above findings, in 2014, InsideSales.com released a report that noted that “50% of buyers choose the vendor that responds first.” The report cites 2007 data from Dr. James Oldroyd which found “the odds of the lead entering the sales process, or becoming qualified, are 21 times greater when contacted within five minutes versus 30 minutes after the lead was submitted.”
Despite the fact that the above research was conducted anywhere from 2 to 5 years ago (and other, older statistics demonstrating the same sort of statistics), a trend is certainly evident: most businesses don’t respond very quickly to new inquiries, leading to lost revenue.
Establishing a Game Plan
Now that you know the importance of prompt response by you and your staff to interested online patient leads, it’s important to enact a game plan to ensure the first impression your potential patients receive is a strong one: you are fully immersed in their needs and you want to help.
None of the above is intended to insinuate that your staff is doing a poor job, per se.
They’re likely inundated with paperwork, phone calls, and emails with insurance providers, existing patient scheduling, and patient relationship management.
However, establishing your own system of proper lead follow-up is essential to the continue success and growth of your practice.
Assigning a specific team member to the task of promptly following up on new patient leads will aid in your overall efforts of converting interested, warm leads to long-term patients who will sing your praises to their friends and family for years to come.