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.

10 Questions to Ask Your Website Provider

Your website is your virtual practice and, today, most often your patients’ first impression of your brand and practice. Nearly 90 percent of consumers conduct online research before making a purchase, which includes visiting a business’s website.*

That’s why choosing the right digital partner is vital to your practice’s overall success. It’s important that you choose a reliable, competent, and highly skilled digital partner that you can trust to manage your online marketing needs, including your website. Choosing the right partner could increase visitors to your website and in turn, drive more new patients through your front door.

Over the last few years, the number of digital agencies has skyrocketed, making it difficult for business owners to vet and choose the right one.

So, how do you know if you have the right partner? The below questions are a great place to start:

1. Do I own my website?

2. Is my website a custom design?

3. Is my website a responsive design (mobile/tablet friendly)?

4. Are the phone numbers on my website click-to-call?

5. Does my website support online scheduling?

6. Is my website updated with new product launches and content from my manufacturers?

7. How often is my website content being updated?

8. Do you provide additional digital marketing services?

9. How are you measuring results?

10. What is your digital return on investment?

Still not sure if your current website provider is the best fit for your business? Consult YHN Marketing will conduct a personalized website and digital marketing assessment, including a geographic and competitive analysis. Contact your Account Manager to learn more about our comprehensive marketing services, including the Consult Digital Program. Or, contact our in-house team today at marketing@consultyhn.com.

*United States Ecommerce Country Report, 2017

About the Author

Nicole Finkbiner joined Consult YHN as the Marketing Communications Specialist in 2018 with nearly a decade of communications experience. Over the course of her career, Nicole has created a wide array of different content for various mediums and outlets—news articles, press releases, arts features, product descriptions, small business websites, e-blasts, social media posts, promotional materials, and more. In her free time, the Philadelphia native enjoys soaking up the city’s culture and binge-watching TV shows.

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.

Social Media and Blogging: What to post and what to write about.

So you want to write a blog and post on social media?

Today’s digital marketing requires more than just a static website. Social media and blogging have become popular ways for practices to boost their online presence. Baby boomers are active on social media and blogging offers a great way to increase your SEO — so both activities attract potential patients — but thinking a blog needs to be a 2,000-word article or that posts always need to present new content can stifle the work that needs to be done.

To help get you started on your path to delivering online content, here are some tips to consider when starting:

  1. Develop a realistic schedule. Posting once a week on Facebook for a year provides more information to your patients than posting every day for one month. Similarly, a monthly blog ensures articles are up-to-date. Make sure you’re providing interesting content on a regular basis. No one likes reading a blog with outdated content!
  2. Provide relevant information. Don’t focus on one patient demographic. Instead, make sure you’re developing a mix of content that is useful for current hearing aid users, prospective patients, custom hearing protection for musicians or loud work conditions, and general hearing health information.
  3. Keep it personal. Your relationship with each patient is the basis of your practice. While you do want to be professional, you should make your posts relatable and inject your personality into your writing.

Here are a few tips for starting a social media strategy:

  1. Share content. Social media content need not be new or original all the time. Sharing video clips from relevant TV shows or news broadcasts, articles from scientific studies, and manufacturers’ posts can make up as much as 50 percent of your social media content.
  2. Create relevant stories. When creating your own posts, steer clear of the hard sell! Event invites, product announcements, patient testimonials, and introductions to blog posts are all great ways to get traction through social media.
  3. Have fun. Every so often, pepper fun human-interest content into the mix. Everyone likes a heartwarming video of a baby getting their first hearing aids. If you live in a tightknit community, local events outside of hearing might be relevant as well! Make it personal occasionally — do your patients know you’re in a tribute band? Feel free to let them know where you’re playing next.

Interested in blogging? Here are some tactics to get you started:

  1. Write for your patients. While you may be interested in scientific journals, it just may be too in-depth for your patients. You can always feature a study, but write about how that study relates to your patients and their hearing health. Also, 400 words is a good length — a little more or a little less is okay, too!
  2. Think in keywords. Including industry-relevant keywords throughout your blog makes the content search friendly and can increase your rankings in search engine results. Search engines have gotten smarter, so you no longer have to repeat the same phrase over and over again. Instead, include different variations of your SEO keywords. For example, if there is a new product launch, use the manufacturer and product names both together and separately throughout the blog.
  3. Plan ahead. Consistent blog writing is much easier to commit to when you have a plan in place. This limits the chance that you’ll get writers block because you feel you must get a blog out today. Keeping a content calendar will allow you to plan for event-related invitation blogs and product releases that may provide you with some pre-written content.

As digital marketing trends continue to evolve, social media and blogging are great ways to develop an up-to-date digital experience for both your current and prospective patients. If you have concerns that planning for and implementing these tactics will take too much time away from your patients, let the Consult YHN marketing team recommend a solution for you!

About the Author

Rachel Atar joined Consult YHN in 2015 as Marketing Account Executive. With experience in multiple industries, Rachel has consistently helped small businesses navigate marketing for their end consumers. Prior to joining Consult YHN, she was Taylored Home Health Care’s Marketing Manager.

Common Elements of a Successful Website


Today’s marketing landscape requires a multi-media approach and digital marketing is an ever-growing part of a strong marketing strategy.  The Pew Research Center has found that now, more than ever, when people see a direct mail piece or newspaper ad, they are more likely to search for you online to evaluate if your practice seems credible.

A strong, hard-working website answers a few basic questions: “Who are you?” and “What do you do?” The best websites not only provide the most basic practice information clearly-office hours, phone number, and address-but also educate potential patients as to why they need to visit your practice over your competitors.

Great websites have a few things in common; here’s a list of key components to take into consideration when looking at your website:

  • Content Rich Website: A content rich website is imperative as we head into 2017. Having information like hearing health, device styles, manufacturers, and a blog, which is regularly updated ensures that visitors see your practice as the local expert. A “Frequently Asked Questions” section is also great information to include on your site and easy to develop; the questions your patients regularly call your practice to get answer for is where to start!
  • Mobile Responsive: Making sure your website is mobile-friendly is nearly required. Google has said mobile-friendliness now plays a role in their organic search rankings and sites get a ranking boost when they are indeed mobile-friendly. With more than 50% of the baby boomer generation access the internet through their tablet or smart phone, it only hurts a practice to automatically lose such a large chunk of online traffic.
  • Calls to Action: Your site should have several distinct calls to action. Guiding visitors around your site through clearly labeled pages, making sure they can find your contact information (phone number, address and contact form), and something as simple as stating “Schedule Your Appointment” are all key elements to engaging a visitor enough to have them reach out to your practice and not your competition.
  • Contact Form: Including a contact form is simply smart business in our digital era. Ensuring that your patients can contact their provider online, after your normal business hours, helps to engage with both prospective and current patients. Contact form submissions from your site are also very important when it comes to follow-up. A site visitor that completes a form is one of your best prospects since you know they’ve been to your website, probably read about the practice, and requested more information. These people must be contacted within 48 hours (and added to your practice management software to make sure the prospects are included in future marketing efforts.)
  • Reviews: In our digital world, word of mouth and great reviews can go much farther than any direct mail piece can when trying to make a prospect a new patient. Whether you include this feedback on your site through simple links to review sites, a dedicated testimonial page, or you utilize the Consult YHN Online Review Program, great reviews are worth their weight. Here is another blog post that talks about the importance of capturing online reviews Online reviews: WOM meets digital age.
  • Social Media Links: Social media should function as an extension of your site and promote your brand. Including upcoming practice events on your social media, which is then linked back to an events page, helps to engage visitors of both pages.

 While digital design trends will always evolve, having a website that entices prospects, engages current patients, and reinforces your practice’s brand, will ensure you’re the local expert. The Consult YHN Marketing team can provide website assessments if you feel it may be time to renew your . Need a recommendation for who should update your site or simply overwhelmed by the whole process? Consult YHN works with several digital marketing vendors so you can rest assured that the Consult YHN team will work with you and any vendor of your choice as a liaison during the entire process to make sure you can focus on what you’re best at — treating patients.