“How did you hear about our office?”
As surprising as it may be in today’s digital world, many dental practices still consider that to be “tracking” their advertising. (As a marketer, just hearing that question makes me cringe more than the sound of fingernails screeching across a chalkboard.)
Obviously, those dentists are barely scratching the surface of analytics. There is no denying the importance of dental call tracking when it comes to maximizing your marketing budget, and with dozens of viable software options available, there’s no reason to rely on anecdotal data.
Before you look any further, make sure that whatever marketing and call tracking software you’re evaluating integrates cleanly with your current practice management software. “Square peg” software can require numerous workarounds, costing you money and limiting how many features you can actually use. Also check if it’s designed specifically for dental (or at least medical) offices so it will be in HIPAA compliance and protect your patient confidentiality.
If you didn’t already know this, more than 80% of your callers who go to voicemail will not leave messages. Even the most basic call data (e.g., how many calls your office receives, how many are answered, how many callers leave voicemails, what your busiest days and times are) can help you adjust staffing to answer more calls live and plug the huge money leaks that occur every time your callers abandon your office’s answering system to talk to one of your competitors instead.
Thanks to the magic of technology, you can trace your callers back to the advertising source they came from based on tracking phone numbers. Those numbers, either static or dynamic, will provide proof of results, or lack thereof, for your marketing efforts so you know whether to increase, decrease, or stop spending.
Most call tracking software provides you with a handful of static tracking phone numbers (typically five) that you can include on your various offline marketing efforts, like radio, tv, and direct mail. For example, if you use one of your static tracking numbers exclusively on your billboard (if you are using a phone number on a billboard, a provider that offers vanity numbers is worth considering), you would know that all the calls that came through that number were people who saw your roadside advertising.
Dynamic number insertion (DNI) takes call tracking one step further. DNI displays a unique phone number for a visitor on any of your web pages that is specific to the keyword, search engine, campaign, or other digital source that sent that particular user to your site. The software then correlates those incoming calls back to their origins so you’ll have exact data to refer to when the time comes to evaluate your digital advertising budgets.
Generating new patient leads is important. But converting them is even more important. With call recording, you’ll be able to review the conversations your staff is having during incoming appointment calls and use those recordings to coach them on phone skills. Just make sure the software you use offers HIPAA compliant encryption and security.
Some call recording providers will also offer call scoring, where call screeners will listen in and evaluate calls based on various conversion criteria. This can help filter your data down to the calls that are truly new patient opportunities and identify where your staff may need some training in converting inbound calls to appointments.
Speaking of your staff, you may want your software to track which team members are the top performers when it comes to answering phones and converting leads to appointments. If you have specific goals for each staff member, it will be helpful if your software can track those as well so you and your employees will be on the same page.
Call Whispers are automated messages that are played to your staff when they pick up the phone, before being connected with the caller. These messages will give your staff insight into what source the caller came from and the purpose of their call so conversations can be more efficient and provide a better patient experience.
In addition to phone calls, new patients will also contact you via online forms, and that information should be collected right alongside your call data. Simply knowing that a lead came from your website isn’t enough. You’ll need to break it down into channels, campaigns, and keywords to be able to make meaningful decisions about your marketing spend.
Reviews of your office can have a huge impact on whether or not a new patient comes through your door. Software that can monitor your online reputation across Google, Yelp, and other review sites will give you a 360 degree perspective of your patient lifecycle and help you see more stars.
Compiling the actual demographics of your current patients will help you to accurately target your advertising, improve your conversion rates, and lower your costs. It can also show you when your slow and busy weeks are so you can adjust your advertising budget accordingly.
If your software can connect to your Google Analytics and Google Ads accounts, you’ll have all of your marketing data together in one place, which will be much easier than compiling them separately and trying to match them up.
Collecting all of this data really won’t mean much if you can’t easily view and interpret it. Make sure your software presents information in an easy-to-use dashboard and can quickly filter down to what you really want to see in real time.
There are literally dozens of call tracking software providers out there. I’ll shy away from making any specific suggestions but, in no particular order, the following are on the short-list of HIPAA compliant call tracking software options.
On second thought, I will make one quick suggestion. Smart Market Dental was developed by Golden Proportions Marketing, so I have a little bit of bias but a lot of confidence in recommending it since it does a great job of checking off most of the features listed above.
Cost is certainly a factor in choosing the best call tracking software for your dental practice. I’ll leave the price shopping up to you, but monthly rates can range from $19 per user up to $300 for enterprise level plans. Many companies also charge separately for additional users, phone lines, and call screening so keep an eye on extra fees which can add up quickly.
Whichever way you go, dental call tracking software is a GREAT investment and will easily pay for itself in the form of smarter marketing budgeting.
Of course, if you’re one of those practices looking for a cheaper upgrade from the “how did you hear about us” approach, I’m pretty sure you can pick up a Magic 8-Ball for under 10 dollars at your local Walmart to help with those important marketing decisions.
“Outlook not so good.”