Response Time in the Patient Activation process:  How fast is fast enough?

November 27, 2018

In this blog, we share a three-minute video by our president and CEO, Bob Baurys. (It is part of a series that focuses on how to optimize the Patient Awareness-to-Activation Process.)

This video deals with response time and what we’ve learned over the past three years. To date, we’ve managed nearly 700,000 prospective patient engagements. And one thing we’ve learned is that speed is vitally important.

Just how important? Let’s take a look at the initial call contact.

Rapid response is vitally important when you’re responding, especially to an initial contact with the prospective patient. If you don’t plan to be able to respond effectively and efficiently, you’re going to lose 30%-35% of your prospective patients. That means you’re burning marketing dollars.

In this chart, you can see the amount of degradation between less that 45 minutes to the initial contact to the three hour mark.

Now, let’s look closer. It’s even more important that it’s within the first five minutes. Once a prospective patient lead arrives in your business, minutes count. We could see by the 10-15 minute mark, the likelihood of getting in touch with that patient is 20% less than it was in the first three minutes. Every single minute counts. Attention spans are short, and your competitor is one click away.

Efficient response times carry over to the correlation between contact and booking. The initial contact with prospective patients yields a better booking rate by a 4:1 factor. So, being in the moment in the prospective patient’s journey is key to the success. The initial contact time is the time when they’re thinking about what they want to do and are the most highly engaged. It’s the time you need to touch base with the person.

Our theory of speed efficiency was further confirmed when we looked at successful consents by patient acquisition time to contact. Patients who responded within the first 180-minute window were significantly more likely to have a successful consultation and engage services, than people who responded 1-2 days out.

The takeaway from this is: if you engage the patient while it’s the most important thing in their mind, they will quickly switch from discovering to navigating.

The final learning today with response times is about having an efficient inbound and outbound system that’s available during the hours your customers want to call and engage you. What’s just as important is when you send messages out via voicemail or text messages and people call back in. There’s a very high success rate with these calls too, because they have a high level intent as people are re-engaging your business. You cannot miss these calls.

Bob concludes, “My point today is if you’re going to spend money and focus, make sure you’re ready when you do your first engagement, and make sure you’re ready when the patient re-engages. That’s where you’re going to get the most bang for your marketing dollar.”