How Dental Marketers Can Use Conversation Intelligence to Convert Callers to New Patients

Alain Stephan Senior Vice President, Analytics Services, DialogTech

This post originally appeared on DentistryIQ

Part of building a successful dental practice is marketing the right services to the right patients. When you have a surge in potential new patients, effective marketing is very important in winning them over.

Most dental marketers use paid search, search engine optimization, social media, and other direct marketing channels to drive interest and appointments and analyze how those channels affect online engagement. However, many overlook the valuable data that’s available to them when consumers from these channels call into the office. And make no mistake, most do call.

In fact, according to the Local Search Association, 71% of patients call a dental provider when they find the provider from an online search. Data from DialogTech’s call analytics platform shows that more than 70% of dental patients book their first appointments over the phone.

With so many prospective customers calling the office first, receiving attribution and analytics about these calls can be extremely beneficial in helping dental marketers measure and improve results. A small dental practice may be able to extract some insights from callers by asking such questions as, “How did you hear about us?” or “What’s most important to you in a new dentist?” But to gain real insights from callers on a large scale, big multi-location practices can now use call analytics technology.

Call analytics can help dental service organizations and multi-location practices unearth a trove of data from callers that can be used to improve customer experience, guide marketing dollars, open doors for new patient acquisition, and strengthen relationships with existing patients. Whether you’re marketing for a multi-location practice or starting a practice in a new area, here are four data-driven steps to generate more new patients this fall.

Harvest Data from Phone Calls

It’s important to understand how your marketing drives calls and the role the phone conversations play in generating new patients. This will enable you to understand what’s really working so you can make more impactful decisions when optimizing advertising campaigns and other marketing efforts.

For each call, you should capture information about the caller (phone number and location), and the channel, ad, keyword search, and webpages that drove the call. You should connect that data—along with insights from what was said during the call—to any resulting appointments. The right call analytics technology can provide trackable phone numbers you can use in your ads and throughout your website.

Beyond the pre-call insights afforded by trackable phone numbers, call analytics technology can also automatically capture data from the conversation, including the caller’s intent, the services they’re interested in, their predicted value, and more. This data provides rich profiles of callers that marketers can use to better market to them.

Recognize and Leverage Insights

With call analytics technology, dental practices can learn more about new patients, such as what areas they’re calling from, the times they most often call, what services they’re interested in, and what marketing channels and campaigns gain the most new patients. When used effectively, this information can help gauge how well specific ads perform. This informs strategies to optimize spend, messaging, and audience targeting across channels for ongoing improvement.

Measure Value, Not Just Quantity

By determining which campaigns drive the most desired outcomes, marketers can better allocate marketing budgets and eliminate ineffective campaigns that don’t meet their goals. Simply counting inbound calls will not suffice.

For instance, a dental practice aiming to increase new patients that has allocated its marketing dollars to two different paid search campaigns may determine that paid search campaign A drove 75 calls, and paid search campaign B drove 50 calls.

These metrics alone would suggest allocating the majority of the future ad budget to campaign A; however, the metrics offer no insights about the value of these calls. If the callers from campaign A are returning customers or do not result in new bookings, but the callers from campaign B are new patients ready to schedule appointments, it might be more prudent to allocate a greater spend to campaign B since it produced a greater ROI.

Optimizing the Call Experience

The experience you provide callers can be just as important in acquiring patients as how you invest your marketing dollars. Callers typically turn to staff and representatives to answer their questions, address concerns, provide recommendations, and offer details on services. Expectations for a quality consumer experience are at their peak.

According to a recent Salesforce survey, 80% of today’s consumers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services. Additionally, 57% stopped buying from a company because a competitor provided a better experience. An optimized customer experience can be the difference between a caller who converts to a new patient and one who seeks treatment from a competitor. Practices can improve the customer experience they offer in many ways—intelligent call routing and preparing reps with details about pre-call activity, for example, can make a substantial impact.

Call routing can improve the experiences for prospective patients by quickly connecting them with the best person, department, or resource for a better overall experience. For example, you can automatically route calls from specific geographies to the agent or office handling that area. If wait times at a local office are high or receptionists are too busy to pick up the phone, you can automatically route them to a call center to ensure no call goes unanswered. Search terms can also help route callers. If someone clicked on a paid search ad for Invisalign, for example, they could be routed to the nearest orthodontics practice or the agents in your call center with expertise in those services.

Providing customer service reps information on who the caller is and why the person is calling can set them up to be successful. For example, having agents answering calls who know the searches and keywords that ultimately led that consumer to call helps the agent better frame the conversation to secure new patient appointments.

The phone is still the most popular conversion channel for new patients. Each phone call is more than just a connection to a potential patient; it’s a rich source of marketing data you can use to generate more new patients.

Learn more about the strategies and solutions dental marketers can use to generate calls and build a successful dental practice with this dental toolkit for marketing.

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