Online Scheduling vs.“Request an Appointment” Forms If your elective surgery practice does not offer real-time appointment scheduling on your website, you may be losing leads. The traditional method of scheduling appointments requires your office to be staffed with personnel to take phone calls and move through the often tedious and time-consuming process of selecting convenient dates for office visits. If a backlog of calls develops, your patients are forced to wait on hold until you have the time to take the calls. And, unless you staff your office all day and night, many patients find it difficult to call during regular office hours and dislike being forced to call back to schedule an appointment. All of these factors lead to patient frustration which could motivate them to contact a different provider for services like LASIK, cosmetic treatments and plastic surgery. Your market is probably saturated with these doctors…so they will have many to choose from that will provide the convenience they demand. By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship without talking to a human. (Source: Gartner Research) You may think that offering a “request an appointment” form on your website will be sufficient to reduce these frustrations. However, because these forms still require a call back from your staff to actually schedule a date and time to come to your office, your staff may end up playing phone tag before speaking to a real person. By the time you do get through, that person may have: Become complacent about the elective procedure Gotten cold feet and decided against having a procedure Chosen a different doctor Benefits of Online Scheduling By incorporating online scheduling into your website, you will be giving your patients the power to manage their relationship with you. This is especially important in the first stages of that relationship: it shows that you are a forward-thinking practice that has your busy patients’ best interest in mind. This is a win-win for both your practice and your patients: Patient convenience 24/7 scheduling capabilities Reduction of time-consuming phone calls Increase in staff productivity and efficiency Reduced costs associated with overtime pay or additional staff members More time can be focused on patients in the office Streamlined process Contact information easily gathered Upsurge in appointments scheduled Increased revenue potential Automated email appointment reminders Reporting and record-keeping capabilities Secure system Companies that automate lead management see a 10% or greater increase in revenue in 6-9 months. (Source: Gartner Research) Online schedulers are typically quite affordable and easy to use. Watch for another blog later this month where we will discuss what to look for when considering purchasing online scheduling software. Fast Track Marketing has helped dozens of clients incorporate online scheduling software into their websites. To learn more, contact Brandi Musgrave at 303-447-9192 or firstname.lastname@example.org.