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Answer More Patient Calls: 9 Easy Tactics You Need To Start Now

Posted by Rick Lau on Sep 16, 2016 3:27:01 PM
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One of the most frustrating problems I hear many physiotherapists and chiropractors complain about with healthcare marketing is, you seem to spend a lot of money on digital marketing but you don't see any boost in your new patient numbers.

You have a sneaky suspicion that it could have something to do with phone performance. Because when you’ve tried to test your front desk admin with an anonymous call, you realize, every time you call your clinic, you’re either put on hold or you get the busy signal. Not exactly the kind of performance you’d like.

It is incredibly important that the phone gets answered.


Because, according to Marchex Call DNA phone call analytics, 50% of callers will hang up if you put them on hold  for 0-3 minutes. And here at CallHero, we’ve identified that 52% of those customers whose calls weren’t answered the first time, won’t call again.

If you’re not answering calls as the number one priority, then you’re basically flushing your hard earned physiotherapy marketing dollars down the drain. And, that’s one clear reason your new patient numbers aren’t budging.

So, in this article, we’re going to go over 9 easy tactics you can implement right away to lift your answer rates.

Ready to dive in and boost your patient numbers starting today?

Let’s go.

Call Centers and Customer Service

FACT: “Almost 9 out of 10 consumers say they would pay more to ensure a superior customer experience.”

Trust me, I understand call centers, digital marketing and customer service. I co founded a network of 100 physical therapy clinics in Canada. I discovered my clinics weren’t answering the phones. And I knew I was wasting a ton of money on marketing. If I kept going down that track I was going to put myself out of business, which is why I designed call center technology to help clinics like mine.

I know other clinics aren’t answering phone calls either.


At Call Hero, we had our Call Grader do a secret shopper test.

We called over 188 healthcare clinics, including physical therapy, chiropractic and massage therapy clinics. On average, clinics only answer around 73% of all calls. The top 20 percentile were answering 95% or more.

Do you know how much of a revenue difference that 22% answer rate can bring in?


One of our clients gets about 3500 calls each month and they were only answering 65% of all calls. For this client, every 10% increase in answer rate, would add an extra $10K in revenue. 

For 22% lift, they’d be looking at $22K. It works out at roughly $1K per percentage increase.

Yes. This is a lot of money.

If you’ve already got the calls coming into your clinic, the patients and bookings are there, and so is the revenue. The real issue needs to be fixed on your end.




9 Easy Tactics to Answer More Calls

1) Get a headset. 

I recommend this headset - the Panasonic KX-TCA430 Comfort-Fit, Foldable Headset.

It’s not expensive and has all the basic features your front desk admin team needs.

When you use a headset, it instantly increases productivity and ensures a call never gets missed.

Let’s face it, front desk have a lot of stuff to do. They answer phones, book patients, bill insurance companies, talk with insurers, take payment, schedule next weeks appointments, show and sell product to patients, fill charts, and the list goes on.

Being hands free really does make a big difference. You will find they are able to take more calls, book more appointments, and multitask while they are at work.

More productivity. More calls being answered. That means you’re a happy clinic owner!

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2) Remove the menu system on your phone if you have one. 

Let me ask you a simple question.

Do you like pressing 1 or 2 or 3 when you call a call centre or some other business? 

I highly doubt it. None of us do.

So think of the patient.

Would they want to go through a menu system?

The answer is: A BIG FAT, NO!!

Here at CallHero our numbers show that 11% of callers will hang up when they listen to a menu system.

A menu system really boils down to a bad patient experience. And that’s not what you want, right?

You want your patients to be happy and have a great experience from the very first time they make contact with you.

Also, in the physical therapy and chiropractic industry, every unbooked call costs you at least $500. So if you’re losing 11% of callers, your menu system can be an expensive mistake!

So, it's definitely time to ditch the menu system - if you have one.


3) Start measuring call performance each day and have daily staff meetings

Post your call metrics daily and keep everybody accountable for answering more calls.

For example, your:

  • Total Calls
  • Missed Calls
  • Answer Rate

You need to understand these call tracking metrics on a daily basis.

If you can't measure it, you can't manage it. 

I'd recommend having quick daily meetings or huddles on this to ensure everyone is being a team player. Spend 3 minutes before their shift or during lunch to review and this will keep everybody on the same track and highly motivated, too. 

I'm a big fan of quick daily huddles. If you want to learn more, check out how my buddies at '1 800 Got Junk' do it.


Is Your Front Desk Answering The Phones?

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4) Screen calls and always prioritize new patient callers. 

You can do this by answering every call and screening every caller. If it's not a new caller, ask to put them on hold or grab their number and ask to call them back. 

If you have patients waiting for you at reception, just acknowledge they are waiting and whisper, "thank you for waiting."


5) Rerouting calls to another number.

If you have another business location or another person you can reroute calls to, you can create rules so when your business is not answering the phones, you can redirect the calls to another person (or even your own mobile).

Or you can hire a telephone answering service.  I have some recommendations so ask me if you need help.  

Beat Your Competitors With Every Call

Discover your front desk’s strengths and areas for improvement with our Mystery Caller Audit

  • Convert more calls into booked appointments.
  • Improve your team’s phone etiquette and skills.
  • Boost overall patient satisfaction and trust.


6) Add another phone line.

If your clinic is always busy on the phone, you’re dropping a lot of calls. 

The solution is to get another phone line from your telephone company. This will allow you to do #3: screen more calls.


7) Manage your spikes in call volume.

You first need to find out when you're missing most of the incoming calls to your clinic. What days and what times? 

For example, most clinics have the highest volume of calls on Mondays and Tuesdays and then it starts tailoring down.

If you’re missing a lot of calls, it may make sense to hire extra staff during those busy days and times. Especially considering every new patient caller is worth at least $500.

It may also make sense to staff your front desk on Saturdays, even though your clinic is not open.  You won't know until you know how many phone calls you are missing on the weekends. 


8) Dedicated staff for new patient callers.

If you have multiple front desk staff, this step may make sense for your clinic.

Some busy clinics have multiple people working at one time. If that’s you, have one staff member be the primary handler of all new patient callers and leave the others to deal with everything else, including helping patients.

Having more focused front desk roles will dramatically boost productivity and efficiencies, and most importantly,  ensure new patients are handled as priority.  


9) Train your staff to be faster over the phones.

Listen to all the longer calls and come up with training for your team to help them to be faster over the phones.

A few topics you want to help train them on are:

  • How to deal with an upset patient caller
  • Dealing with the constant talker
  • Handling multiple callers and the front desk all at once
  • How to put callers on hold
  • How to control the call so the patients book with you

Implement all these tactics at your clinic and you will soon see your patient numbers and revenue boosting!

PS. Get your hands on the FREE "7 Secrets of a High-Revenue Front Desk" checklist to uncover strategies such as a 3-sentence follow-up script for missed bookings, turning around low-performing receptionists, and a simple motivation trick for boosting revenue and patient count. Click here to get the checklist.


Topics: Phone Call Analytics


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