It’s always exciting when a prospective patient calls your practice to ask questions – or better yet, schedule an appointment! During the phone call, you ask them for their name, their phone number, their insurance, and their reason for calling.
But aren’t you forgetting something?
Practices should always ask patients how they heard about them. If you’re not doing that, you’re missing out.
What’s so important about this little question? Why should you ask patients how they heard of you?
If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it
Let’s say you’ve spent hundreds of dollars on Facebook advertisements. You think they look nice, but literally none of your patients report seeing them – because they’re on Instagram instead.
You could be spending a large portion of your marketing budget on campaigns that don’t even work. How would you know?
By asking your patients how they heard of you, you can make informed decisions about how to best spend your marketing dollars. Maybe most of your patients are calling because of a particular ad you posted on Facebook. Or maybe they saw that you have an impressive number of positive reviews of Google.
Once you know how people are finding you, you can start focusing on what delivers instead of what doesn’t. And if you’re spending money on marketing, you can actually measure your return on investment (ROI).
A natural part of the conversation
Some practices aren’t sure when they should ask patients how they found them. Should they ask it at the beginning of the phone call? Or at the end? Should they wait until the consultation?
“We’ve found that it’s easiest to ask patients at the beginning of the phone call,” said Kim Bradley, one of the marketing experts at Sightpath Creative. “If you think about it, it’s very a natural way to start a conversation. ‘Are you a current patient? No? Then how did you hear about us?’”
“The question doesn’t take very long to ask or answer,” said Sarah Moon, another marketing expert with Sightpath Creative. “I can promise that your patients won’t feel inconvenienced.”
The importance of staff buy-in
That being said, it’s not always easy to convince your staff that asking this question is necessary.
“If you’re not involved in marketing, you might not think it’s worthwhile,” said Bradley. “It’s just one more question to ask.”
Make sure your staff understands the importance of measuring your marketing efforts. Don’t just add another checkbox on the intake form and let them fend for themselves.
‘How did you find us?’ is only the beginning
Asking patients how they heard about you isn’t the only way to determine how well your marketing is working, but it is the simplest. If you really want to make the best of your marketing, you’ll also need to use website analytics, keep an eye on patient reviews, and maximize your social media presence.