A few weeks ago on a Thursday night, my youngest came in and announced that he had broken a tooth. To say I was alarmed would be an understatement. We’re a household of relatively few problems in the dental realm, but since my son wasn’t in any pain, I decided the matter could wait until the morning.
The next morning, I went to the mail box and was thrilled to see a brochure from a dentist. Since it was Friday, I knew our regular dentist wasn’t open and decided that this might be the opportunity to switch to a new dentist.
The brochure was exceptionally well crafted. It was a work of art…. literally. The colors, the copy, the image all combined to create a MASTERPIECE of persuasion. I picked up the phone and dialed the number. A woman answers the phone.
“I’d like to schedule an appointment for my son,” I said.
“This is their answering service. They’re not in today,” was the reply.
WHAT KIND OF BUSINESS OWNER SCHEDULES A DIRECT MAIL PIECE TO BE DELIVERED ON THE DAY THE OFFICE IS CLOSED?
The woman who answered the phone didn’t take my name and she didn’t take my number and by the time Monday morning rolled around, the baby tooth which had broken had fallen out without incident. Today, just a few weeks later, I can’t even tell you what the dentist’s name is who sent the brochure.
What really, really stinks is that the poor dentist doesn’t have any idea how well his brochure worked. It ALMOST netted him five new patients that Friday morning…. but he doesn’t work on Fridays.
So when it comes to tally the results of that marketing piece, I’m sure that there will be much moaning and finger groaning. After all, the piece hit mail boxes on either Thursday, Friday or Saturday. If someone got home on Thursday night, chances are SLIM of them hanging on to the brochure until Monday morning rolled around.
If the phone rang off the hook all day Friday, that dentist will never know. Even if he is informed, since the answering service didn’t take down caller information, there’s no way for the dentist to capitalize upon the response his advertising piece generated.
The best marketing campaign in the world can’t overcome the obstacle of who you have answering the phone. If the woman who answers your phone isn’t able to convert callers into appointments, it doesn’t matter how good your marketing is, your advertising or marketing will never act to grow your business.
Even if I was the only caller on that Friday, my phone call represented 5 new patients for his practice. Our initial visit would probably have covered his mailing costs, if not a portion of the production costs. Over the next few years, the business my family alone would have brought could have made that a worthwhile investment.
The dentist took a one time shot in the dark that connected… but he’ll never know. Even if it netted him 10 other new patients, he lost at least five by not having a system in place to follow up on his leads.
Yeah, it would have taken some effort not only on his part, but also on the part of his staff, however the payoff could have been, should have been huge.