What happens when a visitor enquires your website? Someone interested in your services might send an email or submit their contact details on a form. What happens then?
Whenever I ask this question, surgeons either don’t know or tell me that someone gets back to the lead. When I ask about the average speed-to-lead (how fast they respond), they often don’t know.
Most medical practices neglect speed-to-lead
After 20 years of advising refractive surgery clinics, I’ve discovered that staff aren’t good at handling new leads. Many are not good at picking up the phone. Most are not good at sales conversations. Almost no one follows up.
Why does this happen? Most experienced business owners know that the vital prerequisite to customers are leads.
I hypothesise that most surgeons are used to getting warm referrals. So, they don’t hire salespeople. They don’t create sales systems. Hence, they can’t convert them into appointments when they advertise and get cold leads.
That’s one of the main reasons surgeons stop marketing. They don’t see the value of marketing (leads), even though everyone involved was doing what they thought was best.
Their speed-to-lead (the time it takes for them to first respond to leads) is abysmal. That makes them easy prey for competitors who prioritise replying to leads as soon as they arrive.
Neglecting speed-to-lead is starving your practice
Responding to cold leads within 5 minutes dramatically increases your conversion rate.
Look at this chart reflecting data from an MIT study researching speed-to-lead effect on lead engagement. After 5 minutes, the odds of connecting and qualifying a lead drop by 80%. They also found that responding to leads within the first-minute increases conversions by 391%.
What’s your speed-to-lead?
If you’re like most healthcare organisations, it’s something like 2 hours and 5 minutes. That’s forever in marketing and sales time.
In comparison, telecom businesses reply in 16 minutes. Small-sized companies respond in 48 minutes. Medium-sized companies take 1 hour and 38 minutes. Large-sized companies take 1 hour and 28 minutes to respond to leads.
What makes healthcare organisations so slow with speed-to-lead?
It’s because of all the reasons I mentioned earlier. Surgeons who run healthcare practices are used to referrals. They get them from insurance, other doctors, and word of mouth. Most surgeons don’t realise the importance of speed-to-lead. They don’t measure it. They don’t manage it.
A solution for the speed-to-lead problem
You could employ an army of patient coordinators around the clock, monitoring every channel (even when busy with calls). Or, you could use a virtual patient coordinator.
For example, when you get a new lead, whether it’s a
- form submission
- an email
- a call you missed
- a guide download
- a self-test completion
- a Facebook message
- an Instagram DM
- a Google My Business chat
- or your webchat bot
Marketing automation can respond to the lead within 5 minutes. When a robot receives any of the above message types, she can efficiently respond within 5 minutes. She can use email, SMS, or Facebook/Instagram message, whatever the lead used to start the engagement.
And if you or your staff is available, she’ll even attempt to connect you to the lead so you can have a conversation in real-time.
What would your practice look like if you could respond to every lead within 5 minutes?
A common complaint I hear from patient coordinators is that they try to ring back people who complete forms but get tied up in voicemails.
One of the reasons I suspect causes that issue is that people ignore their follow-up. Why? The data above tells us that speed-to-lead is king. The odds are that your lead has already engaged with another provider that replied faster than you.
With lead-response automation, your contact rate would increase. An increased contact rate leads to an increase in conversions. More conversions mean more appointments. More appointments result in more surgeries.
If you could double your contact rate this way (which is almost certain if you respond within 5 minutes), you might double your sales revenue.