Online Scheduling: Everything You Need to Know Fill Your Book

This is a sentiment we can all relate to. There are only so many hours in a day to check things off our to-do lists. We have places to get to, people to see, and things to do – you know how it goes.

When it seems like all we do is go, go, go, it helps to have some shortcuts to help us get our lives in order. At the end of the day, here are three things we know for sure about today’s consumers:

People are busy.
People want things to be easy.
People like options.

Gone are the days of calling in a food delivery order, thanks to apps like Uber Eats, Grubhub and DoorDash. Between your phone, tablet or computer, everything is available right at your fingertips and presented in a way that busy people can easily decide between options (see what I did there?).

So, with the shift towards automation, it should be no surprise that online scheduling has become a preferred method of booking appointments. In fact, according to a GetApp survey, nearly 70 percent of consumers prefer online scheduling for service appointments compared to only 21 percent preferring to book by phone.

More and more healthcare providers are using online scheduling tools on their websites for the following reasons:

  • Enhances patient-experience with fast and easy booking
  • Provides 24/7 access to scheduling
  • Frees up time for front office personnel
  • Increases the number of monthly leads (on average, online scheduling tools generate four additional leads per month for hearing healthcare providers).

By offering patients solutions at the touch of a button, we remove the last barrier to entry standing between patients booking their appointments. Once we get them through the door, it’s time for the provider to shine and help patients hear well again.

Still not convinced?

Allow us to address the biggest objections you may have (skeptics, pay attention!):

 

You say: “Online scheduling is going to mess up my calendar/block scheduling/PMS.”

We say: Online scheduling tools such as those offered by Sycle and Blueprint are integrated directly with your practice management software and come equipped with the capability to only book during pre-selected times. The Blueprint OMS booking tool is specifically designed in a way to work with block scheduling and is always updating in real-time based on the practice’s Blueprint OMS schedule.

 

You say: “Patients who book online are more likely to cancel/no-show.”

We say: The benefits associated with providing real-time online appointment booking far outweigh a possible cancellation or no-show. Even if patients cancel or don’t show to an appointment booked online, their patient file will be flagged for follow-up so you can continue to nurture that lead.

Blueprint OMS will also display a patient’s cancellation/no-show rate. Therefore, if someone with a known, high no-show rate books online, the practice can take whatever measures necessary to ensure the patient will attend the appointment, be it a follow-up call, implementing a no-show policy, etc.

 

You say: “Is online scheduling HIPPA compliant?”

We say: Yes! Online scheduling tools were built out to be both HIPAA and GDPR compliant. Blueprint’s online booking system is fully self-contained—all data remains within Blueprint OMS, and no information is exchanged with any third-party platforms. Additionally, all online bookings are made on a secure website that uses HTTPS to encrypt all communications and ensure privacy.

Adopting a consumer-centric approach and offering your patients the flexibility to schedule their hearing appointments online can save you time, increase your monthly leads, and better serve your patients.

About the Author

Julia Shreckengast joined Consult YHN in 2015 and serves as Marketing Account Executive, providing support to Associates by managing creative projects and developing/executing marketing plans. Prior to joining Consult YHN, she helped promote the city of New Orleans as a member of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation. Julia graduated Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Tulane University.

The Importance of a Multi-Faceted Marketing Approach

Have you ever completed a new marketing campaign (whether it be direct mail, newspaper ad, or Facebook ad) and you’re waiting for the phone to ring, but it just doesn’t? Or maybe the phone does ring, you set a few appointments and sell a couple of units, but it’s not nearly what you expected for the money you spent.

During the time you spend reflecting on this result, a big question you need to ask yourself is: how many touchpoints did I have with my potential patients?

According to SalesForce, it takes six to eight touchpoints to create a real sales lead. When a patient receives a direct mail piece from a practice or sees a newspaper ad – that’s one! The goal of a multi-faceted approach, as part of your omnichannel marketing strategy, is to maximize the number of times a potential customer sees your practice, keeping a consistent brand image, and improving the overall customer experience. Utilizing a tool like the Consult Database Program can ensure that your practice name and brand becomes top of mind – and you always want to stay top of mind with your existing or potential patients.

When looking at your overall marketing approach, there are a few things you want to think about before you get into the fine details of the plan:

  1. How many times do potential customers see your practice in advertisements?
  2. How many different avenues do you utilize in your marketing?
  3. How many competitors are located in your target zone?
  4. Are you tracking all the sources of all your referrals and leads?
  5. Do you know your most productive marketing tool?
  6. How do most new patients say they found out about your practice?

Thinking about these key questions will help you judge where your current marketing strategy may be lacking and what other creative ways you may be able to reach your audience! The third question is especially important when considering the overall strategy. If there’s a higher level of competition in your area, you want to keep your marketing program constant and consistent to make sure your practice stands out and stays ahead of the competition. Brand awareness is key to driving patients through the door.

Now let’s discuss what exactly a multi-touch marketing campaign is and how it works. Imagine you’re flipping through your favorite magazine and see an ad with a coupon for a fall festival at a local amusement park. This might be something you’re interested in, but the magazine will likely end up in the recycling bin, and the ad will be forgotten. This is the same type of single touchpoint that a one-off direct mail piece or newspaper ad creates. Now imagine you read that ad in the morning, and on your way to the store in the evening, while you’re stopped at a red light, a commercial for that amusement park comes on the radio! A few minutes later, driving down the highway, you look up, and there’s another ad for that same amusement park!

Now according to the six to eight touch point rule, you are between 37 percent and 50 percent more likely to go home and look for the coupon in the ad.

While this is a grand example, the key principles remain the same: multiple channels of communication, close succession, and consistency! Each ad acts as a follow up to the previous one, keeping your brand top of mind with potential customers. For your practice, this is like a phone call follow up on a database mailer, an email matching a direct mail piece, or a Facebook ad that mirrors a print ad. This multi-faceted approach is achieved through a full and consistent marketing plan that utilizes multiple sources of communication.

If you feel like this is something you could improve upon or you’re looking for a comprehensive marketing plan – you can always reach out to Consult YHN’s marketing team for assistance! We can help you create a 12-month marketing plan that’s guaranteed to raise brand awareness, increase opportunities, and drive sales.

About the Author

Matt Gargano joined Consult YHN in 2019 and serves as a Marketing Account Executive, developing marketing plans and managing various projects for Associates. Prior to joining Consult YHN, he has worked in Financial Services, Non-Profit, and Education. Outside of work, Matt enjoys managing his farm, all outdoor activities, and writing music.

Community Outreach: Do It Right & Drive More Sales

Hopefully, you’ve spent 2019 focusing on your practice. Not just making sure you’re selling hearing aids but working on the internal health of the business: You’ve completed a pricing analysis, ensured every employee has the right training to be successful, and you’re executing a marketing plan (hopefully with Consult YHN managing it!).

But you haven’t brought yourself to do community outreach.

Why not?

Relationship
Even if your marketing is driving new leads and helping to grow your practice, more than two-thirds (69 percent) of the American public trust doctors’ honesty and integrity and want to have a relationship with their provider.

Whether it’s a health fair or the monthly hearing seminar you hold at your local active-living community, meeting potential patients at a community event starts the patient/provider relationship before the appointment. It’s always better to have an established relationship with someone before you ask them to spend money. It can also make asking for the sale easier during the appointment because they are not considered a stranger. You’ve learned personal details about this person (the voice and laugh they miss hearing or how long they’ve missed out on calls with their grandkids, etc.).

Public Speaking
A fear of public speaking often keeps providers from starting a community outreach strategy. The first step to getting out of that mindset is: to believe in yourself! If you don’t like standing in front of a group and teaching, consider attending a health fair where the atmosphere may be more casual, and you don’t have to prepare a speech or slides. Remember that you’re the professional and you’re there to educate the public on what healthy hearing means to their life—from missing out on their favorite songs to how it can relate to comorbidities, like heart disease or diabetes. By reinforcing that you’re the local expert, you can win over potential patients who may be receiving your marketing materials, but didn’t respond because they don’t know you.

Physician & Patient Referrals
Community outreach events can also help strengthen your physician and patient referral programs. You may not be the only health professional at a particular health fair, so by making connections with related exhibitors, you can work together and refer leads to one another’s booths. You may also reach a person who’s loved one is experiencing hearing loss and can provide them collateral to review at home.

Local Partnerships
If you’re still not sure about finding or hosting community events on your own, link up with local societies with service-minded missions. Did you know Lions Club International has a hearing aid program for its members? The organization accepts old hearing devices for recycling and will typically work with local providers to offer screening events for members! There is also the Walk4Hearing, a national program that focuses on raising awareness about hearing loss and hearing health. Fundraising for a local walk sends the message that you are a provider who cares about helping your community—not one who’s just looking to sell hearing aids. It also gives you easy talking points related to general hearing health.

Another great resource is Sertoma, Inc. (formerly known as Sertoma International), which is an organization of service clubs across the country dedicated to improving the quality of life for those impacted by hearing loss. Their website offers a wealth of community events help, from accepting donated hearing aids to information about how to start your own local Sertoma Club (if there isn’t already one in your area). Being the hearing practice that opens a local chapter of the Sertoma Club may be the best way to make yourself the local hearing health expert, regardless of the level of competition you have in your area.

Not sure how often to host or participate in community events? We recommend our Associates do (at least) quarterly events. This provides enough time for event collateral and/or presentations to be developed without stressing about deadlines. You’ll also have enough time after each event to follow-up with any leads. You should call everyone you meet within 24 hours after each event to thank them for attending and to schedule a time to come in for their free screening (if you didn’t offer one on-site). You also want to ensure that every name that you collect gets entered into your practice management system using relevant referral sources. This will allow you to build the “prospect” segment within your database so you can reach out on a regular basis. Even if they’re not ready to address their hearing health right now, you want to ensure that your practice is the first one they call the moment they are ready.

Nine Marketing ROI Stats That Might Surprise You

Is your marketing working?

In other words, is it generating business in a profitable way?

If your answer is “no” or “I don’t know,” then read on to find out why it’s important to have a clear understanding of your marketing return on investment (ROI) and its impact on your business.

First, let’s define marketing ROI: It’s the practice of attributing profit and revenue growth to the impact of your marketing initiatives. Simply put, if you spend money on marketing, it measures your return.

Now, let’s discuss why your marketing ROI matters. Here are the top three reasons it’s a critical element of your overall business strategy:

  1. You can identify any “red flags” or missteps in your current marketing strategy so that you can make the necessary adjustments to drive greater results. For example, if your call response rate for your marketing initiative is below the industry benchmark, you might need to reevaluate your target audience.
  2. You can make informed decisions about allocating your marketing budget and creating your marketing plan for the coming year. If you don’t know what works and what doesn’t, then you’re essentially gambling with your investment.
  3. You can analyze your ROI data and know for certain if and how much your marketing efforts are contributing to revenue growth.

Now that you understand why marketing ROI is important, we can dive into the fun part—the data!

We reviewed a year and half of data from a select group of practices and below are some insights and benchmarks we uncovered. Some stats might surprise you or, more importantly, motivate you to take a closer look at your own marketing strategy and reevaluate your plan for 2020:
  1. Direct mail still works— in 2018 and 2019, our practices sent out 525 direct mail campaigns, yielding an average of $1,320 in profit per campaign. Find out if your own direct mail campaigns are successful with our Direct Mail Calculator.
  2. Thinking about advertising in your local magazine? You might want to give that a second thought! With a high cost-per-campaign and a negative return, magazine advertising serves more as a brand awareness tool than a true opportunity driver.
  3. Patients routinely check your digital properties before picking up the phone. 421 digital campaigns resulted in 2,935 calls with a total profit of $1,058 per campaign—a whopping 502 percent return!
  4. Over half (55 percent) of our Associates’ referrals come from physicians. This is encouraging because patients that come from a trusted opportunity source are more ready to buy. So, keep working to establish relationships with physicians in your area!
  5. Five thousand direct mail pieces resulted in 15 calls and 6 appointments with an average response rate of 31 percent. Although this appears low, the industry benchmark for response rates is 0.25-0.50 percent.
  6. Wouldn’t you like to make two months’ revenue in just three days? It’s possible with the Consult Upgrade Program! A total of 32 upgrade events averaged $58,000 in total revenue.
  7. Did you know that 40 percent of co-op dollars available are currently going unused? Every co-op dollar spent results in $5.39 in revenue for our Associates. If you’re not taking advantage of your co-op dollars, let our marketing team help you use them strategically.
  8. Calling Out of Warranty (OOW) patients generated an additional $215,000 in profits for our Associates while calling Tested Not Sold (TNS) patients yielded an extra $86,000 in profits. So, pick up the phone! Or, better yet, let Your Patient Contact Center do it for you.
  9. Due to blank categories in our Associates’ practice management systems, there was nearly $1.7 million in revenue unaccounted for. Meaning, many practices don’t know where all of their revenue is coming from each month. Don’t be one of those practices — let our marketing team help you establish an organized process for labeling opportunity sources in your practice management software.

*Based on the Marketing ROI data from a select group of practices between Jan. 2018 – June 2019

Consult YHN’s Quarterly Marketing ROI Reports offer invaluable insights that ensure every marketing dollar spent today is growing your practice for the future. If you don’t already receive a report, talk to your Account Manager to find out how you can!

About the Author

Laura Kegelman joined Consult YHN in 2018 and currently serves as a Strategic Planning Analyst. Her diverse professional background includes supply chain, forecasting, and marketing. Laura holds a degree in marketing from West Chester University in Pennsylvania. When she’s not working, Laura loves exploring the city she lives in (Philadelphia) as well as traveling to new cities and countries.

Looking Ahead: 2020 Marketing Trends

Can you believe we’re nearly halfway through 2019 already?! It’s important to start thinking ahead about the marketing trends you can expect to emerge or intensify in 2020 so that you’re prepared for their potential impact on the playing field.

Below are the three biggest trends that Consult YHN’s marketing experts think you should know about now. Because trust us—the future of marketing is coming quicker than you think!

1. Optimizing for on-SERP SEO aka. “on-Search Engine Results Page (SERP) Search Engine Optimization (SEO)”

That’s called a zero-click result, and it’s just begun to change the game in terms of SEO. People want their information quicker than ever before. Google has heard their plea and you can bet it’s giving the people exactly what they seek.

Roughly 61.8 percent of search results across Google are now being answered with zero-click results – changing the real estate space on the coveted “Page 1” of Google and, in turn, making more and more keywords less profitable. Google is spidering through the top results of relevant content for any keyword or search query and serving up “featured snippets.”

It’s still a bit of a waiting game as far as how this will change SEO at large. For now, just know that the more real estate you can hold on Page 1, the better off you are.

You can do this by keeping your website fresh with relevant content and vie for that coveted #1 spot or even a featured snippet. Check out your keywords to see where zero-click results are coming up in your area and where those featured snippets are pulling from. Also, see what questions people are asking relevant to our industry and provide concise answers to those questions on your website.

2. Optimizing for voice search

Just ask your BFF: Siri, Alexa or Cortana – voice search is shaking up the way we conduct search queries. That’s right, 20 percent of all search queries on Google are now being conducted by voice search.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and personal digital assistants are making it easier for busy people to get answers to their questions fast and hands-free. The outcome: marketing content has become more conversational. Make sure you are watching this trend and adding a conversational (yet professional) tone to any unique content or blogs on your website.

But our friendly AI voice assistants aren’t just here to give us answers—the next wave in voice search will be a shift towards transactions. Amazon’s Alexa can already place an order for pizza from Domino’s or request a ride with Uber. Voice assistants will soon be able to book appointments and perform more transactions for us. This may sound like the plot of an episode of Black Mirror, but we promise it’s real – so buckle up!

3. Chatbots

AI is #trending. Chatbots are taking over the customer service space and are starting to replace human agents in some areas. Believe it or not, 56 percent of customers prefer to communicate with customer service reps via instant message rather than pick up the phone.

The most common use of chatbots is in the form of instant message pop-ups on business websites. These messaging tools not only give customers 24/7 access to support, but they can also capture leads and help move customers along to their point of purchase.

Of course, there are situations when a human agent can provide much more detailed and personalized customer service, but for FAQs and scheduling appointments, chatbots can help save time, cut costs, and provide convenience to customers.

The world of marketing is constantly changing. That’s why it’s important to partner with a company like Consult YHN to ensure your marketing strategy adapts to these changes. If you want to chat about any of these trends or talk strategic marketing, contact our team of experts today at marketing@consultyhn.com!

About the Author

Julia Shreckengast joined Consult YHN in 2015 and serves as Marketing Account Executive, providing support to Associates by managing creative projects and developing/executing marketing plans. Prior to joining Consult YHN, she helped promote the city of New Orleans as a member of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation. Julia graduated Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Tulane University.