There are many different channels that come together when doing digital marketing. Despite this, the overall goal remains the same – gaining more patients! A lot of our clients, in an effort to gain more patients, have brought up the idea of using online schedulers like LocalMed and Solutionreach. Let us be clear, these online schedulers are not effective!
Here are four reasons why we do not recommend signing up for these online schedulers:
Current online schedulers might seem “convenient” for the office, but for online users attempting to schedule an appointment, they’re a deterrent. These tools produce lower conversion rates because the form is often very long and takes many steps to fill out. A big selling point for these types of software is the ability to customize your scheduling, but this leads to a muddled mess of too many options for the patient. The golden rule of online user behavior is that the more steps there are, the less likely it is for the user to complete the process.
There are many studies that show that people want the option to fill out an online form. While we don’t consider this data false, an online form cannot be the only source of confirmation for an appointment. With customizable features and automated booking, these current online schedulers give the impression that this service can allow patients to set their own appointments, alleviating the burden from the front desk staff. We find that a simple form is best – patients will have the time to fill out a shorter form, and you can always follow up with a phone call to gain further details after receiving the form. By having the front desk personally call a potential patient, you are able to decrease the chance of no-shows or unknowns. Bottom line: It’s easy to blow off an appointment at an office that has never spoken directly to the patient.
Mobile internet usage has clearly overtaken desktop internet usage. Most patients are searching online when seeking to book an appointment. Take a second to think of all the different screen sizes of mobile and tablet devices that exist in the world today. If there is any type of formatting issue with the form depending on the device being used, it becomes a hassle to fill out. People are very likely to abandon a form if there is any difficulty filling it out. It’s not worth it to take this chance.
Online scheduling tools allow patients to see your open availability. It can seem helpful to provide your calendar, but your level of availability may send an untended message to your potential patients. If you have too many openings, some patients may see this as a positive, but some may see it as a sign that your service is poor and that you do not retain patients. On the other hand, if you do not have any available openings, some patients may believe that you are too busy to give them the personalized care they need. By speaking directly with a staff member, they are able to have their specific questions and concerns answered before their appointment. This creates a desire to follow through with the appointment, as the patient already feels cared for before stepping through the door.
Ultimately, you know what works best for your practice. Just let us be the first to say that current online schedulers are not the best options available. We see the value of having an online booking form, but we also know that the success of these forms depends on phone call follow-ups.