Undoubtedly, the internet has changed the way people find a healthcare provider. However, what remains the same is the way they make an appointment: they still pick up their phones and call… You see, some things stay untouched by time!
In a study by Google, it was found that 56% of those who searched for a healthcare provider online would follow-up their research with a phone call. People may like the wealth of information available online, but when it’s about time to actually book an appointment they want to talk to a human. The reasons lying behind this behavior are quite obvious and rational.
Firstly, there is the issue of certainty. A patient is very likely in discomfort or anxious about their condition. They don’t want to submit an email or contact form and wait for a reply that may or may not come. They want to make a phone call and have their appointment confirmed. Secondly, people with health problems usually have the necessity to discuss their issues. They want to be confident that they are being booked in to see the most appropriate healthcare provider.
For clinics, surgeries, and hospitals the continued preference of calling to make a booking presents both a challenge and an opportunity. Healthcare providers who don’t track their calls will have almost no visibility over their marketing. In other words, they have no way to identify which of their marketing efforts are delivering phone calls. They are in effect flying blind.
What’s the opportunity? Call tracking hasn’t yet been universally implemented in the healthcare industry. Providers that do deploy call tracking solutions will have a significant advantage over their competitors. In which way? They can be much more accurate with their marketing spend and hence convert more prospects.
Identify the most profitable marketing channels
According to a report by eMarketer in 2019, the ad spend of the US healthcare industry will be approximately $3.14 billion (1). In such a crowded market it might seem very difficult to stand out. But even marketers acknowledge that a large amount of that spending is wasted. More specifically, a 2018 survey revealed that marketers believed as much as 1 in every 3 dollars spent on digital advertising was wasted. (2)
Wondering about the reasons for such a waste? Well, primarily is attribution. Organizations are unable to attribute which advertising campaigns lead to appointments being made. More often than not the reason is that call tracking is not in place.
How call tracking works?
Call tracking dynamically generates a unique phone number on the website which corresponds to a specific marketing campaign. When the patient calls the phone number they are still connected with the organization’s primary phone line. So from the user and call handlers’ perspective, the dynamic generation of the tracking phone number is undetected.
Thanks to call tracking, the healthcare provider works out where their phone calls are coming from. Once identified, those organizations can increase spend on advertising campaigns that deliver a positive return on investment and eliminate the ineffective ones. This targeting can be done even at the keyword level making it possible to laser target the ads which deliver the highest quality phone calls. Therefore, call tracking is a must-have tool for any healthcare organization running paid Google ads.
Just cast your mind back to the last time you were looking for a doctor or a dentist in your area. Did you pull out your phone to perform a search? Presumably yes, since 70% of all web traffic happens on a mobile device.(3) After you have finished your search and read the reviews, you should have made an appointment with your favored provider. You already have had your phone in your hand and so it makes intuitive sense to hit the call to connect button.
If you found that doctor through a Google Ad, most probably your user journey will have started with a phone call. Google Ads allows companies to add a phone number as an extension into the ad. A prospective patient can press that phone number and connect with the clinic. It’s an option that many people choose to take. Having a phone number in your Google Ad can increase the number of people who click on your ad by as much as 8%.
Provide superior customer service
Calling to make a booking can be a stressful experience. The caller is often in pain and may have serious concerns about their health. Normally, the quality of the received service will impact their decision to confirm the booking or not. And this experience may vary widely… Often the person handling the phone calls has other duties. Their work may be stressful and this may have a negative impact on the conversations with prospective patients. But, even when the phone call is answered by a full-time customer service representative there is still usually room for improvement.
Call tracking makes it easy to identify which phone calls result in an appointment being scheduled and which don’t. Combined with call recordings and transcriptions, it helps identify possible issues in the way phone calls are being handled and take steps towards improvement. It goes without saying that enhancing the quality of phone calls will increase the number of inquiries that convert into bookings, without necessarily spending more of your marketing budget. At the same time, the patients benefit from a higher quality experience.
To cut a long story short, the healthcare industry invests billions of dollars each year in reaching customers, while it’s clear that a large amount of that spending is wasted. Measuring your calls is a simple way to gain visibility over your marketing effectiveness, spotting where there is room for improvement. More often than not, increasing the number of bookings doesn’t require spending more, but more accurate data and decisions based on them.
Resources: (1) https://www.emarketer.com/content/us-healthcare-and-pharma-industry-statpack-2018 (2) https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/global-organizations-anticipate-26-percent-marketing-budget-loss-in-2018-according-to-new-rakuten-marketing-survey-300612875.html (3) https://www.ciodive.com/news/70-of-internet-traffic-comes-from-mobile-phones/510120/ Image: <People vector created by katemangostar