Can your reception staff handle your marketing in their “spare time?”

We advise against it. Time is hard enough to spare, and digital marketing deserves the time and attention of someone with marketing expertise.

Your front desk staff does, however, play a vital role in the success or failure of your digital marketing. Even the best campaigns cannot succeed without your front desk.

The Marketing/Sales Funnel

Reception staff play a vital role in your sales and marketing “funnel.” 

Here’s an example of a common patient journey through a digital marketing funnel:

  1. Awareness: Scrolling through her Facebook feed, someone within your target demographic sees a paid advertisement for your practice.
  2. Consideration: A few months later, she needs to book an appointment. She runs a quick search for your speciality on Google and finds your practice near the top of the search results. 
  3. Decision: The decision-making process is simple for this specific patient. Having seen your ads, she’s familiar with your brand. She also found your website easily, at the top of her search results. Your website is modern and user-friendly, and your office is just what she needs. In her mind, you’re a reputable, credible practitioner.
  4. Purchase/Appointment Booking: She calls your office, nearly ready to make an appointment – but she’s left on hold. The person on the phone seems uninformed and disorganised – she asks questions about treatment options and is told to send an email. It’s too much effort and the patient decides to try a different practice.

You could lose patients at any point in the process, but most leads fro medical practices drop off in the final step. At this stage in the funnel, the patient is almost ready to schedule an appointment so any failure is a critical error.

Look at it this way: A conversion rate of 20% (2 patients booked for every ten calls) may seem decent enough. But, booking just one more patient for every ten callers increases your gross margin by 50%

Front Desk Pitfalls and Training Opportunities

Whether or not you’re paying for marketing, your front desk staff must be able to follow up with leads appropriately.

That means regular evaluation and training events. Every phone call is an opportunity to convert, and you owe it to your business and your patients to ensure that your staff have adequate training. Some common pitfalls include :

  • Rude personnel, long wait times – Even the most skilled employees can have an “off” day. Pair your digital advertising with HPCSA-compliant call tracking. That way, you can observe calls and have essential discussions with employees about what does and doesn’t work.
  • TMI – Well-meaning employees could unintentionally give out medical advice instead of getting the patient into the practice.
  • Inconsistent branding/messaging – Your brand is how patients identify you. Unfortunately, reception is often the last to know when branding messages change, which creates inconsistency in the patient journey.

As long as your digital marketing is effective and works well, a well-trained, well-informed front desk should have few problems getting people into the office.