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How Important is the Phone to Your Aesthetic Clinic?

In a world where more and more people communicate through social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram, it can easily be forgotten that the telephone is still an important means of communication for new and existing customers. In this article, you will learn about the importance of phone calls for your medical aesthetic clinic and when patients usually prefer to call you!
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1. Patients prefer to call Medical Aesthetic clinics

A recent survey by the online medical treatment directory WhatClinic.com discovered that just over 70% of all the visitors to its listings for Medical Aesthetic clinics in the UK elected to call the clinic directly rather than send an enquiry to the clinic via the website’s online form.

Indeed this proportion of calls vs online enquiry is the highest for people seeking Medical Aesthetic treatments than those looking for other elective treatments such as plastic surgery and dental, where the split is much closer to a 50/50.

This is reflective of the urgency that both new and repeat patients have for treatments such as dermal fillers and chemical peels to name some of the most popular ones.

2. Are all of your phone calls picked up? Probably not.

However, the WhatClinic research also shows that there is significant room for improvement in how clinics respond to phone calls, with only 60% of calls made being answered by a receptionist or patient coordinator.

This is a very disappointing patient experience resulting in a significant proportion of potential customers selecting another clinic to call in the hope that their call will be answered. Indeed, the research also revealed that only 15% of callers who are pushed to a recorded message actually follow through and leave a message, with most gone forever.  

The research which monitored the actions of over 10,000 visitors to the website also discovered that most calls to clinics are made at the beginning of the week with Monday being the most popular day and volumes decline as the week progresses.

A considerable 8% of patients called a clinic on Saturday with only 40% of them answered by clinic staff. The rest 60% of the missed calls went to a voice machine or, worse, just remained unanswered. The research reveals that not all aesthetic clinics are open on Saturdays, or they operate within limited hours that are not always convenient for the patients to call.

One more finding that surprised us is that 2% of the total calls took place on... Sunday! It seems that some patients have an urgent need to contact your aesthetic clinic on Sundays, either to book an appointment or reschedule an existing one.

Who is going to answer these Saturday and Sunday phone calls? There are practitioners who redirect the calls to their personal phones (not an ideal work-life balance) or they just miss these calls and the opportunity to book a new patient.

Similarly, the same research showed that 8.5% of UK Medical Aesthetic clinics patients have called during non-working hours, a vast majority of which remained unanswered.

Clinics that do not answer calls immediately are losing real opportunities to grow their practice and add new patients. They also run the risk of providing poor customer service to their existing patient base who may decide to leave and go to another clinic.

3. How important are phone calls for your Medical Aesthetic clinic?

In a world where receptionists are often responsible for looking after patients when they arrive at the clinic and other office duties, as well as answering the phone and dealing with patient enquiries through email and various social media channels, it is worth asking these questions:

  • - Do clinic receptionists have enough time to answer the phone while taking care of patients and other administrative tasks?
  • - Do they understand the importance of answering the phone every time it rings?

4. Conclusion

As a practice owner it is important to be able to answer the following questions:

  • - How many calls per week does my practice receive?
  • - How many are answered? How many go to voicemail?
  • - How often and how quickly are the missed calls and voicemails followed up?

If you are unable to answer the above questions you may not be maximising the potential of your business and as a result, getting a poor return on your marketing efforts.

Sources
Conor Leech
Conor is the CRO of WhatClinic and InDesk and has been working for the company since 2010. He works closely with clinics all over the world, helping them to improve their customer communications and grow their businesses. In his spare time Conor loves to go sailing and coaches his son's rugby team. You can often find him walking in the Dublin mountains with his wife, son and dog.

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