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5 Mistakes that Are Harming Your Healthcare Appointment Conversion Rate

min read
5 Mistakes that Are Harming Your Healthcare Appointment Conversion Rate

We live in a world of instant gratification — we can order groceries from our couches, transfer money with the click of a button, and access the whole of human knowledge with the device in our pocket (though we mostly use it to watch cat videos.) We want every service to be delivered to us as quickly and conveniently as possible, even our healthcare. In fact, a recent study found that convenience is more important to healthcare patients than the quality of care. 

At first, this seems mind-boggling, but just think about all the hoops patients have to jump through to get the care they need. Researching nearby practices, reading online reviews, waiting on hold to schedule an appointment, finding an appointment time that’s compatible with their work schedule, and, of course, navigating all the bureaucracy with their health insurance provider to ensure the treatment is covered. 

Patients are fed up with the traditional healthcare journey and are demanding more convenient options. The desire for convenient care is reshaping the industry. It’s fueled a surge in retail clinics throughout the U.S., allowing time-strapped parents to get checkups while they’re picking up some good ol’ Hamburger Helper. It’s also created an uptick in urgent care centers, telehealth services, healthcare monitoring apps, and home health devices.

To compete in this new world, your healthcare organization needs to make the patient journey as seamless as possible. This includes an important but all-too-often overlooked channel: phone calls. Calls play a critical role in the patient journey because that’s where the human connection begins, and ultimately 88% of healthcare appointments are scheduled over the phone. 

Here are five mistakes that are harming your phone call appointment conversions. Keep reading to learn how you can correct them and give patients the convenient journey they’ve come to expect.

1. Not Optimizing Your Media Spend to Drive Appointment Calls 

The first step to improving your appointment conversion rate is making sure the right people are calling. Are your marketing efforts — your email campaigns, paid search ads, TV commercials, and direct mailers — generating high-value appointment calls? If you’re driving a large volume of calls about driving directions, test results, or billing, you’re not only wasting your budget — you’re also creating poor appointment scheduling experiences at your contact center or locations, since your agents will get tied up answering questions that could be answered by visiting the website or calling another department.

This problem arises because, too often, healthcare marketers don’t have the right attribution for phone calls. They’re shooting in the dark and hoping that their campaigns drive high-quality appointment calls. You wouldn’t take this approach for online conversions — your team probably has deep analytics about each patient’s conversion path on your website. Why should phone calls be any different?

With Invoca conversation intelligence, you can get granular attribution about how many appointment calls and conversions each of your marketing campaigns drives. This allows you to allocate more of your budget to the ads that are driving appointment calls and reduce wasted spend on campaigns that are driving low-value calls. As a result, you’ll get more bang for your marketing buck. You’ll also free up your agents to spend more time fielding appointment calls, reducing wait times.

Sample Invoca report showing a caller’s full conversion path

How 1st Family Dental uses conversation intelligence to decrease cost per phone lead by 32%

1st Family Dental is Illinois’ leading dental services provider, with 14 locations across the state.  To generate new patient appointments, 1st Family Dental runs a full range of online and offline advertising programs, from Google and Facebook ads to billboards and postcards to affiliate marketing like 1-800-Dentist. When it started using Invoca to track call conversions and optimize media spend for its campaigns, it reduced cost per phone lead by 32% while converting 42% more calls to new patient appointments.

Read the full 1st Family Dental case study here.

2. Making Callers Endure Multiple Transfers 

One of the most frustrating parts of the patient journey is going through unnecessary transfers. According to Invoca’s Buyer Experience Benchmark Report, 79% of people say they’re rerouted at least once when they call a healthcare provider. This creates friction and makes people less likely to become patients. 

If you want to boost appointment conversion rates, you need to send callers to a relevant agent right away — not on the second or third try. To do this, healthcare providers are using conversation intelligence solutions like Invoca. With Invoca, you can identify which marketing channel, digital ad, search keyword, and website page drove each call. You can then use this digital intent data to automatically route the caller to the best agent or provider to handle their inquiry. 

For example, calls driven by the insurance and billing page would be automatically routed to a billing support specialist. Calls driven by “schedule an appointment” search ads can be routed to the appropriate contact center agent or the practitioner that’s nearest to the caller’s geographic location.

Intelligently routing calls will not only make prospective patients more likely to convert, it will also help you minimize unnecessary transfers at your call center or locations. This will decrease the total amount of time each caller is engaged with your contact center, and reduce strain on your agents. 

How University Hospitals increased conversion rates 300% with personalized call routing

University Hospitals is one of the leading healthcare providers in the United States with more than 200 locations, 18 hospitals, 55 health centers, and about 30,000 employees. It uses Invoca’s Salesforce Marketing Cloud integration to swap out the generic call center phone number from each email campaign with the phone number for the provider the patient most recently visited. So, rather than going to a call center handling hundreds of thousands of calls, the patient is immediately directed to their preferred provider. This has allowed patients to schedule appointments more quickly, cutting their total call duration by 50% and raising conversion rates by 300%.

Read the full University Hospitals case study here

3. Sending Your Agents into Calls Without Context

Patients expect you to anticipate their needs before you even say “hello.” In fact, in our study, 71% of respondents said they believe healthcare providers should already know why they’re calling. If your agents aren’t delivering this level of service, your callers may become impatient with you.

To give agents the insights they need to personalize phone conversations, healthcare providers use conversation intelligence. With Invoca PreSense, you can show contact center agents why patients are calling with digital journey data in a screen pop that appears before the call begins. This reduces call handle times and enables agents to focus on providing an empathetic experience and setting appointments instead of gathering basic patient information. This also increases conversion rates, since your agents are able to quickly and efficiently serve the needs of each patient.

4. Performing QA and Coaching With a Small Call Sample

To ensure your agents are providing exceptional experiences that convert callers to appointments at a high rate, you need to do regular quality assurance on their calls. But listening to thousands of calls that come into contact centers and managing dozens or even hundreds of agents across numerous business locations can be challenging, and many healthcare providers can only listen to a small fraction of calls. 

There are many flaws to this approach — manually listening to calls is expensive, time-consuming, and fraught with human error. In addition, your QA team is analyzing call quality and compliance based on a small sample of your agents’ calls, which only gives you a glimpse into how well your agents are doing, and isn’t a reliable indicator of total performance. 

To get a full and unbiased view of agent performance, leading healthcare organizations use conversation intelligence solutions like Invoca. With Invoca, healthcare providers can set up their own custom criteria for call scoring, then sit back and let artificial intelligence do the work. Invoca’s AI automatically scores 100% of appointment calls, allowing you to get a comprehensive and objective view of sales agent performance — without wasting time listening to hundreds of phone calls.

Sample AI-generated call score from Invoca

In addition to automating your QA process, Invoca can help you take agent coaching to the next level. The solution lets you monitor how every agent and location is performing and gives you immediate access to call recordings, transcriptions, and scores, so you can quickly correct issues and reinforce good behaviors. 

You can also use in-platform coaching tools like the ability to @mention agents and annotate call transcripts to give them real-time feedback on their performance. In addition, you can give agents access to their own scorecards so they self-coach and make changes on the fly. 

When you spend less time listening to calls and looking for problems, and more time coaching your agents, you can ensure that your team is providing the best possible patient experience. 

5. Failing to Recover Lost Appointments from Unanswered Calls

Even at the best-staffed healthcare organizations, agents will miss some patient calls. In fact, our internal data shows that, on average, 29% of healthcare calls go unanswered. 

Clearly, it’s a poor experience when someone has a health issue — especially an urgent one — and your organization isn’t there to take their call. The person will feel ignored and, if they were a prospective patient, they’ll probably think twice about choosing you as their healthcare provider. It’s likely only a matter of time before they call another provider who can help them right away. 

The best way to fix this problem is to quickly return missed appointment calls so you can apologize and recapture the lost opportunities. However, if you’re like most healthcare providers and you’re missing 29% of your calls, you may have hundreds or even thousands of people you need to call back. It can be a daunting or even impossible task to reach out to all of these people. 

As you probably know firsthand, a simple list of missed calls isn’t helpful for prioritizing your outreach efforts. That’s why Invoca goes a level deeper by enabling you to prioritize callbacks using intent signals from the digital journey like the ad or webpage that drove the call or IVR kepresses that indicate it’s a high-value call that needs to be returned. For example, it would flag missed calls from a “schedule an appointment” Google ad as likely sales opportunities, as well as missed calls where the person pressed “1” to schedule an appointment. 

Sample Invoca report showing high-intent callers

With Invoca’s missed calls dashboard, you can quickly identify which unanswered calls were appointment-related and prioritize them. If you return their calls promptly and express genuine empathy for missing them the first time around, you might just win their loyalty. 

Create Seamless Patient Journeys With Invoca for Healthcare 

Is your healthcare organization making any of these five mistakes? Rest assured, you’re not alone — these issues plague even the largest and most successful healthcare organizations. The good news is that there’s an all-in-one solution that can help: Invoca for Healthcare.

Invoca for Healthcare is a conversation intelligence solution that enables healthcare organizations to increase patient acquisition, improve access to care, and provide superior patient-first experiences. Our customers include Banner Health, Comfort Keepers, Miracle-Ear, Spectrum Retirement Communities, University Hospitals, and others.

Want to learn more about how Invoca for healthcare can help you deliver seamless customer journeys that improve your appointment conversion rate? Check out these resources:

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Webinar: Going beyond lead generation
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