November 14th, 2019

Dental Call Tracking: The Hidden Cost of Missing a New Patient Call

The phone rings. A patient is checking out at the front desk, one just walked in the front door, and hygiene is walking another patient up to checkout. What happens? Obviously, the phone call goes unanswered. You’re not an octopus with 8 arms to do everything needed all at once, after all. And besides, they’ll call back, right?

Actually, it’s more likely they won’t. 

When we audited the results of our dental call tracking, looking at hundreds of thousands of calls, we discovered something heart-stopping. Not only did about 35% of all tracked calls go unanswered, about 75% of THOSE callers never called back. They just bailed and most likely went on to call the next office on the list. I mean, how can we blame them in a society that wants everything now?

You’re probably thinking, “Hey, it’s just one missed call. And that patient probably had Medicare or wanted us to participate with some insurance we don’t take. So we didn’t lose much.” That’s a great story to keep repeating as you wonder why the schedule looks light next week, and the monthly production goal feels out of reach. 

Do Your Numbers Add Up?

It’s time for some math

Let’s assume you’re a one doctor practice, seeing patients Monday – Thursday, taking off Fridays to focus on the business of running a practice. With solid marketing efforts, your office probably gets around 50-75 new patient calls a month (and that’s just to schedule about 25 new patients each month!). A typical practice misses 35% of those calls. Here’s how it breaks down.

New patient calls: 75

Missed calls (35% of all new patient calls) 26

75% of missed calls go unreturned: 20

Now, let’s assume your office is above average at converting a new patient call. That means roughly 50% of your new patient calls that reach a real person will end up as an appointment. That also means 10 of those 20 missed calls could have become new patients. 

Statistically, we find the average new patient is worth about $850 in their first year. You’ve just lost $8,500 in revenue this month by losing those 10 new patients. There are 12 months in a year, so now you’ve lost $102,000 in revenue from new patients who found a different dentist who answered the phone.

Hang on, there’s more

The average patient stays in a practice for about 7-10 years. We’ll be conservative and say 7 years, so those 120 missing new patients could have generated a lifetime value of $714,000 in revenue. 

But wait – it gets worse. This is just the impact of missing those calls for just one year.

If you do this for 30 years in practice, you have now lost out on $21,420,000. I don’t know about you, but I just threw up a little.

When “It was just one missed phone call” turns into enough money for a couple of luxury vacation villas, the price of missing new patient calls gets real.

Without dental call tracking, you never really know how much you’re missing. Call tracking lets you see how effective each marketing medium really is, how well your team does at converting new patient calls, and pulls back the curtain on the true price of missed calls. Don’t be another statistic… start using dental call tracking to monitor this vital metric and watch your practice growth take off. For more information on how to use metrics to make your practice profitable, download our free guide, Transform Your Dental Practice by Tracking These 8 KPIs.

numbers = growth