We all know healthcare is changing. Between “Obama Care” and Medicare reform, the healthcare services industry has never seen such a shakeup in the way business is done. That also means that the healthcare service providers – from dentists to physicians to surgeons – are changing the way they do business.
It used to be that someone graduating from medical or dental school could just “put up a shingle,” and with the natural progression of word of mouth, grow their practice to the point where they could eventually sell it and retire comfortably. Those days are gone.
In today’s climate, one either works for a large healthcare organization like Kaiser, or they run their own businesses as a freelancer or a partner of a small business chain. This means the fight for new patients and retaining existing ones is fierce, with much of the competition moving from print media like Yellow Pages and lifestyle magazines to search engines and social media. So having a toll free number that makes it easier, especially for seniors, to call their practice without being charged, or having an easy to remember number is helpful.
Many healthcare providers are freelancers with multiple associations or multiple offices
In today’s healthcare environment, patients will often call to make an appointment and hear something like –
“Dr Kim is only in the San Mateo office on Tuesday and Thursday, and at UCSF on Mondays and Fridays. If you want to make an appointment in San Francisco, please call 415-xxx-xxxx.”
What’s confusing to patients is not just where to call, but what number to call on which date. For example, googling surgeon Dr. James Newman reveals –
Leaving the patient to ask, “which office phone number do I call for an appointment on Wednesday?”
Google often gets the phone numbers wrong
OK, so maybe this isn’t always the fault of Google. We know with how busy healthcare offices get, that sometimes the overwhelmed folks at the doctors’ offices may insert a fax number in a phone field (which is exactly what happened in the example above) and thus display incorrect numbers for one or more of the offices.
And what if, as is often the case these days, the doctor’s office changes locations or moves to a different suite in the medical building?
A smart toll free phone number is the smart answer
But it can do something far more important
A cloud-based toll free service will allow your office manager to set the schedule of when calls are forwarded, and to which numbers they’re forwarded to. So, for example –
1-888-Dr-Newman, on Mondays and Wednesdays can forward to 415-xxx-xxxx and on Tuesdays and Thursdays it can automatically forward to 650-xxx-xxxx.
All the office manager has to do is set the schedule, and now patients not only have the convenience of a single number to remember, the office manager and practice have only one number to list on Google, Yelp, Yahoo, DoctorBase, etc. All forwarding to the proper number on the proper days. Like magic!
The fight for new patients and keeping existing patients happy is becoming more pronounced, and with the annual revenues that each patient produces for the practice, can doctors afford not to have smart toll free numbers anymore?
Try signing up for Halloo. If it doesn’t provide immediate ROI, they’ll gladly refund your entire (nominal) fee.