Dentistry: The Evening & Weekend Enquiry
Evenings and weekends - that sanctuary of blissful detachment - purely for our leisure time - right? Well yes to a degree (and I would always encourage you to have that Dr. Dentist), however the wheels of business never stop turning and potential patients don't suddenly start playing musical statues outside of office hours or because you're not paying attention! So - new patient enquiries...
Realistically, when are a lot of would be patients going to get the time, motivation and privacy to research potential Dental practices (there's another blog there incidentally, on that area specifically - duly noted, cheers guys!) for themselves and their families and then send that email enquiry from your websites contact page? I would surmise (and this is just a complete wild stab in the dark here...) that you may get 1 or 2 (or 3...) enquiries during evenings and over weekends. The question here is - Are you happy to let those enquiries wait until the next day or Monday morning and therefore potentially slip through the net?
Please save the excuses of, "Well none of our competitors answer them either, so what difference does it make?!" That's absolutely fine... if you want to be seen as 'just another Dentist' by your potential new patient. A few things to bear in mind here:
1) Dentistry is only going to be at the top of peoples priority lists for a very short period of time - why let them wait when they have 1 million other things to be doing as well?! Carpe Diem dear friends!
2) Strike while the iron is hot - reply to them within the hour ideally, at worst reply on the same day (no matter how late) - this shows that their enquiry is important to you and you want them to choose you and your team - as you do actually go that extra yard,
3) As you rightly pointed out earlier in this blog - none of your competitors answer those emails, so by you answering them, you are immediately one step ahead of the competition.
At Charlies Practice, we answered two enquiry emails as they came in over a recent weekend. Guess what?!
1) Both of those patients commented on how fast the response was and that they didn't expect a reply over the weekend,
2) They both booked new patient consultations and a 50% deposit was taken and receipts emailed to them before start of business on the Monday morning,
3) The cumulative accepted restorative treatment plan value is over £2,000 and both patients have gone onto DPAS monthly payable plans - signalling their intent to 'see their treatment through,'
4) One of those patients has now referred her husband to the Practice and he has booked a new patient consultation.
It took about an hour of time over the whole weekend to generate that result. Arduous isn't it...?! Jolly good value I'd say. We were also jolly smug with ourselves, knowing that some of our competitors may only just be getting back to exactly the same enquiry that had been cut and pasted around somewhat - good morale booster!
So to finish - get your fingers out, take some ownership and answer those 'out of hours' emails as if it was 2pm on a sunny Monday afternoon. Why not have an 'on call' roster for email enquiries? £20 per day for non management team members to ensure important emails are answered over the evenings & weekends? If you are really clever, you can get your Care Champion to take care of the whole process for you...
Just a thought really...
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