Ophthalmology Business

OCT 2013

Ophthalmology Business is focused on business topics relevant to the entrepreneurial ophthalmologist. It offers editorial, opinion, and practical tips for physicians running an ophthalmic practice. It is a companion publication of EyeWorld.

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continued from page 23 A transformative process Ms. Coulson uses call recordings to help the staff learn to handle inquiries properly. Doctors often wonder if they're getting any return from their marketing efforts, she said, and her team is now able to definitively answer what the return from marketing is and how that conversion is working by tracking inquiries to the practices. "Our integrated effort has indicated most of the time, it's not that practices need more inquiries, it's that they need to do a better job with those they're generating," she said. Being able to monitor conversions through call tracking and form tracking has been transformative for practices Ms. Coulson works with because they had previously believed that they were handling calls well, when in reality, they weren't. "Often, practices will find that when people are contacting them, they're not doing a good enough job with these people—they're not answering the phone well, they're rude, they're putting people on hold, or they don't know the answer to the question. In effect, that marketing has been ill-spent because the practice couldn't handle the inquiry properly," she explained. "Real-time call monitoring allows us to train and improve staff skills, on a one-toone basis, which seems to greatly improve their retention of proper phone techniques." During the shift from traditional media like newspapers and radio to computers, practices became more geared to online contact coming via web forms, Ms. Coulson said. Now, with the shift toward mobile devices, the pendulum has swung back. "Phone inquiries outpace forms 5 to 1, on average, as people on tablets 24 and smartphones want to click-tocall, not to use a tiny screen to fill out a form," she said. Most practices are not ready to handle that shift, Ms. Coulson said; they still don't realize that their website is, in effect, their yellow pages. "A practice website needs to provide driving directions and a quick contact phone number [because] that's what it's primarily going to be used for," she said. Beyond that, any advertising that is done needs to direct people to landing pages that are very specific to that advertising. "They don't want to look at your whole website, they want to look at the one thing that your ad attracted them to," she said. This conversion tracking into lead acquisition gives practices the ability to monitor the effectiveness of a marketing campaign and adjust strategies accordingly. At the same time, it allows them to keep track of the quality of service the practice is offering at the time of inquiry and improve it if needed. Form tracking is free with Google Analytics while call tracking costs very little. For most practices, it would cost less than $350 a month, Ms. Coulson said. While some may have a phone system that records the calls coming in, the key for a practice is not to monitor every call—certainly, not the calls about what drops patients should be using or when their next appointment will be, she said. What a practice does want to know is if they are spending ad dollars, what leads result directly from those ad dollars. Optimizing your website It is also important to understand what people are viewing when they Ophthalmology Business • October 2013 are on the site. Practices can do this with Google Analytics as well. Contact information needs to be clear, and the three most visited pages should be optimized. Practices have to get past thinking they need 60 or 70 pages of a website that educate people about procedures. People don't want to know that, Ms. Coulson said, they want a quick hit so that they can schedule an appointment. "Every doctor thinks [patients] want to know all this detail about the doctor and the procedure," she said. While it is true that occasionally people will go four or five pages deep because they are educating themselves, Ms. Coulson said, "If you look at the page-visit funnels that Google Analytics provides, you will find that people will only go two pages deep into a website and then they will leave or they will call you." Very few people want to look at a lot of information these days; it's a wholesale shift. "I don't know if this is because we're moving to such a mobile society that people would rather just click to call. Once they figure out they are interested, they're going to call for the visit rather than spend a lot of time online," she said. If practices change their focus to thinking how they can use their online activity to generate more people to schedule instead of to educate, they would certainly find their calendars filled with more of the right patients, Ms. Coulson said. OB Editors' note: Ms. Coulson has no financial interests related to this article. Contact information Coulson: 888-908-6226, kay@electivemed.com

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