The Secret to Getting More New Patients Online – Fast Patient Communication

Fast patient communication chart showing effect of replying within 5 minutes of an inquiry.

Fast Patient Communication Allows Practices to Secure More New Patients – Reply in 5 Minutes or Else

Fast patient communication should be your mantra, especially when it comes to new patient inquiries. Imagine your office is open, and a potential patient who has seen your ad walks through the door. They just have one quick question, and then they will be ready to make an appointment. This patient’s arrival shows your marketing has worked—you got them to stop by and almost to the point of becoming an actual patient. All your front-of-office staff member has to do is answer their question and then follow up with a suggestion to set an appointment. Instead, your staff member listens to the question and responds with, “Thank you for coming by! I’ll get back to you as soon as possible,” and then sees the patient out the door to wait for a response. The potential patient moves on while they wait, checking on a few other offices they spot on their way home. By the time you respond to their question, they’ve moved on from their interest, your time, expense, and effort spent for this lead wasted.

Of course this scenario is outrageous in a literal sense (either that, or you are in desperate need of some front-of-office training…). However, we are living in a digital age. Your leads—whether they come from paid online advertising, reviews, referrals—are most likely heading to your virtual office to learn more—your website. Fast patient communication and responses to online inquiries quickly is key! Many are on the cusp of making an appointment and have just one further question. They submit an inquiry, providing their name, email address, and phone number. And then they wait.

What is Fast Patient Communication? 5 Minutes or Less

So just how long do you have to answer a patient before their interest diminishes? The Harvard Business Review famously conducted a study in 2011 about the lifespan of online sales leads. The results were shocking:

Businesses that waited more than 5 minutes to contact a lead were

  • 10 times less likely to make contact with a lead!  

Businesses that responded to online inquiries(aka leads) within one hour were found to….

  • be 7 times more likely to have a meaningful conversation with a key decision maker, than those who contacted them an hour later.
  • be 60 times more likely to speak to the lead than those who waited 24 hours or more.

And if this quick of a response was necessary in 2011, as the world gets more “instant” and less patient all the time, imagine how much more crucial it is to converting leads today.

The response time can even be parsed even further. A study by InsideSales.com discovered the “minute” window that is best for making a meaningful contact with someone who completes an online inquiry.

  • Leads contacted within 5 minutes are 4 times more likely to be qualified than those contacted in 10 minutes.
  • Leads contacted within 5 minutes are 21 times more likely to be qualified than those contacted in 30 minutes.

The bottom line here? You’ve got to strike while the iron is hot. If a potential new patient’s online inquiry drops into your company inbox to sit until someone gets to them the next day, the potential patient is much more likely to move on. All your efforts that went right in order to get that potential patient to poke around your website will be wasted unless you find a good way to get right back to them.

Texting is key

And where do patients go today to get their most instant communication? Their text messages. If you email patients in response to an online inquiry, chances are the message will sit there for a while before being read—if it is read at all.  A recent Campaign Monitor report showed that an average open rate for emails was 17.92%.  Compare that to the read-rate of text:

• 98% of SMS (text) messages are opened, according to Gartner.

• In fact, 90% of text messages are read within 3 minutes (Source: Forbes )

So if you want to hit that 5 minute window when responding to online inquiries, your very best option is to respond to online inquiries via text.

How Zingit Can Help Speed Up Your Patient Communication

And here is just one of the many ways Zingit can help your practice secure more new patients. When you use Zingit, shrinking the response time to online inquiries is easy! A few patient friendly Zingit tools and features:

• Web form integration. We can integrate all of your online web forms with Zingit so that patients who complete a form will receive a text message acknowledging the inquiry.

• Online chat tool. When an inquirer gets your automatic text response, your office is alerted and then, during office hours, your team is able to keep the 2-way conversation going.

Appointment scheduling widget. Allowing an easy appointment scheduling process is key to closing an inquiry. With our scheduling widget, you can offer available times for new appointments. If a potential patient completes an online appointment request, Zingit sends them a text acknowledging the receipt of the request. Then someone at your office can follow up to get the necessary information (insurance, condition, etc.) to officially schedule the appointment.

Don’t lose your potential patients by showing them to the door and making them wait. Instead, connect with them immediately where they want to hear from you most—via text.

These are just a few of the many robust tools that will help your practice provide speedy patient communication and make the most out of your hard-earned new patient inquiries. Do you want to learn more about keeping the conversation going with patients and potential patients using Zingit? Try Zingit for free and experience the difference. 

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