Learn to see through your customer’s eyes – Direct and indirect first contact

While direct initial contact means that a conversation is already taking place between the patient and a practice employee, indirect first contact is one that takes place even before the patient steps foot in your practice. Everything from how the patient discovered your practice, and what appealed to him or her about your practice is tactically included within the realm of indirect initial contact.

All these factors can play an important role in building your patient base and can be calculated all thanks to the sales funnel which catches prospect customers (i.e, patients) and guides them to you. The wider the funnel is, the easier it is for potential patients to find you, and the better they can obtain information about the practice and make contact with you. Just like a funnel, it gets narrower and narrower.

How can you efficiently utilize the power of indirect first contact?

The aim here is to lead patients who are ideal for your particular practice. This can mean a certain demographic filtered through age or gender. Here are some ways you can target your ideal patient:

Create an avatar

Describe “avatars” for your ideal patient by addressing all qualities that make sense to your practice like the work they do, the location they are from, etc. This will allow you to paint a clear picture of your ideal patient and thus help you create many more targeted opportunities to direct this patient into your practice ( through Facebook groups or Instagram).

Guide your patients through websites

Potential patients who want to receive information should be guided through appropriate websites. A website must be structured and contain instructions for action, for example in the form of “call-to-action” functions. Nevertheless, it must remain lean and uncluttered.

Advertisements in local media can also help reach customers that are right for your practice. However, it is not enough to use the contact options described if the practice is not really accessible.

Responding to patients

These are our guidelines: If a patient writes to us by e-mail, we must get back to them by the next day at the latest. If they have a chat request, we must get back to them within the next 10 minutes. That being said, if the patient actually reaches for the receiver, a friendly voice should greet them on the phone and respond accordingly.

Ideally, the telephone operator must ask for all important information and store relevant data in the digital system, including the e-mail address, provided the patient gives permission to contact the e-mail. For this to work efficiently, a script must be prepared for the interview and practiced by all employees:

  1. The more we know what the patient‘s specific concern is, the more precisely we can plan further measures.
  2. The more details we know about the patient‘s level of knowledge, the better we can prepare further information and send it to them.
  3. The clearer it is how the patient learned about us or which type of recommendation they received, the more effectively we can adapt our marketing
  4. The more standardized the script is, the better the procedure can be measured and evaluated.

Arrange your calendar

For subsequent appointments, we assure that all patients can get an appointment within the next 14 days from the day of request. Should it take longer, we simply add them to our service list and book them for an earlier appointment in case another patient had to cancel or postpone their appointments.

Follow-up e-mails

The new patient must receive a standardized e-mail with important information for the first appointment. This also includes the initial questionnaire and the presentation of the attending physician. This allows us to outsource some of the things that would otherwise take place in the practice and thus make everyday practice a bit leaner again.

At this point, the level of satisfaction your patient experiences is already quite high. However, nothing is more dissatisfying at this stage than uncertainty and lack of control. Make sure to remove these at any means to give your patients a fulfilling and satisfactory experience.

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