Good Patient Coordinators
- Posted on: Feb 21 2019
It doesn’t matter what kind of marketing or advertising you do. Most prospective patients will contact your clinic by phone. We have done mystery shopping in 10 clinics in Germany, France and Italy, and in many cases the results were a bit of a disaster. Assistants did not ask for contact information, did not qualify the patient lead (your potential client) with more questions, or asked the potential client to find the information on the doctor’s website.
The first point of contact & first impression
Of course you and all other doctors want the ideal patient. The patients that trust you, choose specifically you and don’t mind waiting or calling again if they don’t reach your clinic the first time. Unfortunately, most patients have preselected more than one doctor to choose from as their surgeon. And the first point of contact between a patient and your clinic is your assistant or
patient coordinator. Your assistant has only one chance to make the first impression.
Scheduling those consultations
You should be certain about the efficiency of your assistant, front desk or whoever picks up the phone. To really know how well your assistant performs on the phone you have to test it out. It’s called mystery shopping. A couple of people call your clinic and ask about treatments they are interested in. The questions might be if you perform a specific treatment, how much it costs or if they could get more information about a treatment. Your assistant should take control of the dialogue by asking qualifying questions, answering questions and taking contact information. Most of the time potential patients are not ready to schedule a consultation right away. In those cases the assistant has to follow up. To do that, the assistant has to ask if she can get in touch whenever it is convenient for the potential patient. Even if the goal is to schedule consultations, this in most cases requires the assistant to establish a dialogue and communicate with the
prospective patient for more than five minutes.
What is your assistant’s motivation?
What difference does it make for your assistant to schedule one extra consultation every day? For you it might be 20 extra consultations a month. But what does your assistant get out of it? Only more work in most cases. Your patient coordinators should get bonuses based on their performance. A key performance indicator in this case is “number of scheduled consultations”. Let’s say your assistants are motivated. What other conditions have to be met in order for you to have more patients?
3Ts. Talent, Time & Training
Your assistants have to have talent, time and training in order to schedule more consultations for you. First, talent: they have to have empathy and good communication skills. They should like helping people in general. Answering the same trivial question four times a day shouldn’t be bothering them. Second, time: they should have time to be on the phone. If they have to attend to clients that are checking into the clinic they will not be able to take calls. Third, training: your assistants need training to get better, telesales training, negotiation training and insight into your services and the procedures you offer as well.
A good & motivated assistant will schedule you more consultations with the right patients.