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I recently coordinated a direct mail marketing campaign for an ENT practice that wanted to reach out to patients with outdated hearing device technology. A patient called after receiving the invitation, referenced the event details and dates and asked to schedule an appointment. But when she asked to be seen at their secondary location listed on the invitation, the receptionist told her they weren’t scheduling appointments there. The patient sounded discouraged, told the receptionist she could not make it out there and hung up. This missed opportunity could have cost the practice a $7,000 sale – if they didn’t have call tracking. But because they did, I was alerted to the missed opportunity, reviewed the call and immediately contacted the clinic so they could call her back and schedule an appointment at the location she requested. That $20 investment ultimately resulted in a huge profit for the practice and highlighted the communication issues amongst their staff.

What is call tracking?

A call tracking line is a phone number put on advertising or marketing pieces to assess their effectiveness. The call is set up to route to your front desk and is recorded along with caller details. When calls are received from that number, the system puts a value on them by using speech analysis to determine leads, missed calls or opportunities, appointments set, hang-ups and more. This data is available in real time so questions or issues can be addressed immediately. You also have access to a variety of call analytics, including detailed reports by campaign, peak times and days that calls are received and a breakdown of employee conversions.

Measuring Marketing Success

Call tracking allows you to clearly attribute marketing efforts to results. It provides a better understanding of your audience by analyzing which marketing tactics are getting people to pick up the phone. For example, if you are running multiple campaigns at the same time – say a direct mail piece, newspaper ad and pay-per-click digital ad – you’ll be able to see which campaign generates the most calls as well as which leads to more appointments. You can also test different calls to action, messaging and direct mail packaging. Insights like these can help you streamline your marketing to focus on the most effective advertising channels.

Evaluating Phone Skills

A phone call is often the first live encounter a person has with your practice. That call can set the tone for the relationship and determine whether a caller will become a patient or move on to a competitor. Call tracking is an effective way to evaluate the phone skills of your front office staff and provides an opportunity to highlight those areas where improvement or training would be beneficial. You’ll be able to evaluate each staff member’s overall effectiveness and pinpoint any lead-quality or call-handling issues, enabling you to set up coaching sessions to improve call conversion rates. Those employees with exceptional telephone skills can be used to train and mentor others who require a little help.

Common Concerns

Call tracking requires that the phone number used for a campaign be different than the main office line, which can be a concern for some practices. Many have a phone number that is easy to remember while others worry patients will be confused by all the different numbers.

According to a leading call tracking company, this is why they say you shouldn’t be concerned:

1) No one remembers phone numbers. A recent study published in the New York Times revealed that the average person remembers exactly one phone number. They typically remember the phone number of their parent’s house–the house in which they grew up. Most don’t remember their spouse’s phone number. And almost NO ONE remembers a business phone number.

2) No one will notice. Very few people are going to actually compare one number with another. They just won’t notice that the phone number that appears on a direct mail piece or magazine ad is different than the number on the business’ website.

3) If they do notice… who cares? Seriously. Is a consumer not going to call a business because they are just so overwhelmed by confusion? Of course not. Even if they notice (which they won’t) or remember phone numbers (which they won’t), they still won’t care.

Ultimately, the benefits far outweigh the concerns. For those who would like to use a number that is easy to remember, you can request or make up a vanity number for call tracking (e.g., 555-NOSE).