#86: Dental Practice Patient Experiences, Radical Convenience, Chat, and Conversions
Speaking to website visitors, converting them into patients, and more! In this episode of Dental Marketing Mastery, Mark interviews Scott Hansen of professionalchats.com about radical convenience, creating a great dental patient experience, removing sales friction, and more.
Hello, and Welcome once again to the Dental Marketing Mastery series. This podcast is brought to you by DentalWebContent.com and New Patients Incorporated. I’m Howie Horrocks, the Founder of New Patients Incorporated, along with me once again, as my friend and partner and the President of New Patients Incorporated, Mark Dilatush.
Mark: Hey, everybody, this is Mark Dilatursh from New Patients Incorporated, bringing you another treadmill friendly podcast. Don’t have Howie with me today, but I do have a very interesting fellow that I wanted to introduce to all of our listeners.
Has quite a unique product that fits directly in with our work, with our clients. And if even if you’re not a client, and you’re listening to this, there’s probably a 99% chance that what his team does will dovetail into your own marketing efforts.
His name is Scott Hansen, and he is the chief executive officer of a company called Professional Chats. You can find them at professionalchats.com. Hello, Scott, welcome to your inaugural version of our podcast.
Scott Hansen: Hi Mark, thank you so much for having me.
Mark: Yeah. I knew when we met at the ADA, and we had an actually pretty long conversation. That what you have and plus I spoke with Keith English. He was he was next to you in a booth, I think at the ADMC meeting, right?
Scott Hansen: Yes, sir.
Mark: Right. Right. Right. So, kind of a three way conversation there. And I knew then, that what you guys had is definitely useful. The price is right. It’s definitely affordable, definitely effective. And of course, you know, life and business takes you over. And now two months, three months later, here I am having a conversation with you. Right? So, but I want everybody on the podcast to listen to this. So, let’s start it actually, let’s start at the very beginning. You know, where are your roots? Scott, with you know, with business and dentistry specifically?
Scott Hansen: Yeah, absolutely. So, I managed an ortho practice, after I got done with school, I managed an ortho practice for four years. And the ortho practice I managed, it was a 24 year old practice, and, you know, had been flat for about 10 years, and in a matter of four years, we tripled the size of the practice. You know, I just really enjoy the sales and marketing and, you know, customer service, patient service aspect of the practice.
And, you know, naturally as our practice grew, we kept looking for innovative ways that we could connect with patients, you know, convert higher on our treatments, and really where I found my focus at the beginning of 2016 was, I was getting a little bit frustrated that we had, we were driving lots of people to our website, in our digital presence was great, we had tons of reviews, and I just couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that about 95% of the people that came on to our website, left without taking any action..
Scott Hansen: You don’t get on an orthodontist’s website for fun, like you don’t get on a dentist’s website for fun. So, it was driving me crazy that, you know, there was so much opportunity, and so much, you know, potential left on the table for our practice. So, I thought, you know, we did a brainstorming session for how we could increase conversion. And obviously, you guys help tremendously with practices, increasing conversion on their website with, you know, just really clear messaging and call to actions and, you know, digital appointment scheduling, you’re already helping people a lot with that, and we were, so we went through all the ideas.
And ultimately, what we landed on was that, you know, we were working on a lot of that stuff already, and we were like, you know, all our patients have the same basic questions. How much does it cost? And do you take my insurance? It’s like, those are the two that all the patients ask, and a lot of the patients are too, maybe they don’t have the confidence to ask, you know, very point blank, how much does it cost? So they’re wondering that and what happens is, they just end up floating around the internet. And they never get their questions answered, because, you know, there’s tons of different answers online. And so they float website to website and never make a decision.
So we thought, if we could offer people a way to anonymously ask our practice a question, and we knew what they would ask, might we be able to engage those people get their information and improve patient experience, and turn it into an actionable lead a new patient lead for our practice, whereas they might have just floated off our website and not taken action. And really what we, what we were trying to achieve was to reduce the 95% of the people that left without taking action by just a few percent, which seems like a really small number. But if you’re increasing your website conversion rate from 5% to 7%, that’s a 40% increase.
Mark: Right? Right.
Scott Hansen: It’s a tremendous advantage we had, you know, the other practice didn’t have once we added online chat. But what we found really quickly was, when we were managing it in house, it was really difficult to manage the online chat process because those people if you don’t respond to them right away, they’re gone. And manage the conversations at the front desk, the patients, you know, on the phone, and you know, doing online chat on top of all that is just really difficult.
So, we looked at outsourcing this service, like outsourcing our online chat to a vendor. And when I went to go look for vendors, you know, there’s tons of people that have offered online chat services for, for years. But they almost, all of them outsource their labor overseas, or they contract people to work from home. And so the quality is just really poor, relative to what we expected for our dental patient experience.
Scott Hansen: And so, you know, we were willing to pay a little bit more to get a lot more. And so, I hired a guy to come work in our practice, and I contacted five other doctors around the country and convinced them to pay me essentially to manage the chat service for their website. And that really was the birth of our business, and before the end of the year, we were serving more than 100 practices and where we sit today, a little less than two years later, later, we’re serving I think more than 500 so it’s good.
Yeah, it’s grown really fast. But you know, really the reason why it’s I think the, the fuel behind the growth is that it’s a really simple concept that we should have been doing to improve patient experience. And this is stuff that, you know, billion dollar companies have been doing for years. And, you know, they’re the kind of people that if it doesn’t work, they’re going to stop spending money on it, they spend a lot of money on it and then so we are honestly, we’re just taking a repackaged idea and making it accessible for a small business.
Because, you know, it costs a lot of money to have one person answer online chat 24 hours a day costs, you know, 10 grand, just in a $12 an hour employee salary. And so, you know, for a few hundred dollars a month, it’s like 30 cents an hour. I mean, that’s something silly for most practices to have someone live on their site 24 hours a day.
Mark: Right, and I can’t overemphasize, I mean, one of the one of the things you referred to as the catalyst to your idea, or putting this together was the dental patient experience that you get with, you know, non specific people who cover chat. I mean, I, I can’t tell you how I’ve been in dentistry now for 28 years. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cringed when I got on the phone with, you know, some of these answering services?
Scott Hansen: Oh, yeah.
Mark: Right. It’s the difference between an answering service and a concierge basically, is, “No, doctor’s not here, you want to leave a message? No? Okay.” And then you know, and then she hangs up the phone, and someone like, you know, the kind of service level that your people provide, which is, I mean, it appeared to me like they were the office’s employees.
Scott Hansen: Yeah, that’s, that’s really, that is exactly what we’re offering, we’re offering a better dental patient experience. What’s really important to remember is, you know, you can hire anybody, you can hire just about anybody to do your call center, you can hire just about anybody to take your online chats. But when you have a poor patient experience, and you don’t build rapport, and you don’t build value for the practice, you might be able to get a few patients to agree to give you their information.
But ultimately, what you’re sacrificing is the ability to actually sell them treatment when they come in the office. Because you haven’t started that relationship off on a great foot. And people generally buy from people that they like, or people that they want to be like. So, you know, we really prioritize that and all of our training and everything that we do that, you know, we’re starting our relationship with the patient.
And we’re oftentimes the first people they ever interact with at the practice, and so, we’re setting that precedent for what the dental patient experience is going to be like. And they’re showing up to the first appointment. Sometimes they’re even asking like, “Hey, can I can I talk to Jessica, like, She’s so nice.” Which is a really cool feedback for us to get. So, it’s ultimately it boils down to the return on investment. And when you do it really well, the return on investment is incredible.
Mark: Yeah, and I’ll throw my own two cents in here, people who listen to this podcast. And I’ve listened to all 80some of them over the months and years know I rail on missed appointments at dental practices, because our clients pay us to get the phone to ring and then they don’t answer. So, I’m always confused when they say I want more new patients. So you know, we try to solve that problem, we try to solve it with call tracking, we do solve it with the online scheduling, 24/7 you know, 365 scheduling, but your piece is kind of that in between where your piece would help get more phone calls and get more online appointments made. If you can just answer the patient’s primary and perhaps secondary questions now.
Scott Hansen: Yeah, absolutely. Well, yeah. What we found early on was that, you know, we were generating a lot of leads on people’s websites. And, you know, some of those people would have called otherwise, some of them wouldn’t. What we found was, we were handing off like, we would email the transcript, we’d summarize the conversation. And we’d have, you know, we had a few doctors in a row, call us and say, you know, this chat service doesn’t work, these patients never show up. But I was doing it for our own practice, like I had a really close group of beta testers that tested this out. So I knew that it worked. And so, one day, I just decided, you know, this is crazy, I’m just going to call.
Mark: Here comes the mystery shopper.
Scott Hansen: So, I started, I just called the list of the patients, a list of the leads that we gave over to the practice. And I found that no one that ever reached out. And so that really changed our process. Because ultimately, we’re here to serve the clients, and that’s not, a lot of times, that’s not, you know, our clients primary focus, although I think that they should focus on it more.
Sometimes the practices have a really hard time following up with their appointment coordinators, or whoever’s supposed to make those phone calls in a timely manner. And the statistics on how fast you get to that person who’s requested an appointment, or requested more information about the practice, are absolutely alarming. How much the contact rate or the ability to get a hold of that person decreases over time. That’s like really, like dry text, someone within five minutes of them. Have them requesting more information as opposed to 10 minutes, you actually decrease contact rate by 900%. Right? And so what we decided to do was, instead of, you know, just rolling over, we were like, Hey, we can help solve this problem for practices, instead of just sending over the information, instead of just sending over the lead to the practice and expecting them to like, drop everything.
Why don’t we just integrate into their existing systems, and we’ll just call the patient, get them on the line, and then call the practice and basically, transfer them in for a new patient phone call. And so that really changed our approach for how we were handing over the patients to the practice. And it really increased the effectiveness because it took away a lot of the burden to manage that process from the practices.
Mark: Yeah, absolutely. And I’ll tell you something else that’s going to help is if they had the online scheduling widget on their website. And they’re on the chat with you, and they’re unwilling to give you their phone number. You can make your appointment right now by clicking the schedule online now button.
Scott Hansen: Absolutely.
Mark: Right. So that’s going to help your coverage and the value that you provide on both ends. So, I met you and we chatted. I spoke to Keith and he said, yeah, this is kind of that missing piece, right? And you know, as these as the millennials get older and older, then they become the more focal point of the dentist’s marketing budget. Um, I bet you they’re the ones that are skewing those act, or react now versus react five minutes from now? I bet you they’re the ones that are skewing those numbers. The most. Right? They’re the most impatient people I know.
Scott Hansen: Oh, yes. Yeah. Yeah, well, the term that we use in our offices, that is radical convenience, and more and more. That’s the expectation. It’s like, if people want an appointment, they want it literally right now, exactly, not really willing to wait. And if you ask them to wait around, like they’ve moved on to the next practice, next thing, like, now, instead of like, their tooth hurting quite so much, then they realize their TV doesn’t work, right. It’s like a never-ending battle. And so, it’s really the sweet call speed to lead and it’s really important.
Mark: That makes sense. So, where do you see this going? Scott, you got 500 customers now. Well, actually, you know, what I think probably our listeners would most be interested in cost.
Scott Hansen: Sure.
Scott Hansen: Yeah, so I can answer both questions. So, the pricing is $699 to get started. And that includes all of the software setup, and customization, all the scripting development, basically everything we need to get started. We coordinate with, with Mark and any other digital people that we need to, to get everything rolling. And really the only work on the practices part is to fill out a digital survey, we have a customized digital survey that we send out to learn about your practice. After that, we will launch on the 10th of the month. So, like from where we sit today, that’d be the 10th of February. And we would calibrate through the month of February.
So, we’re looking for how many chats do we take? How long did they take, you know, time of day, all of that stuff? And, then we set a flat monthly price on that monthly price is good for six months, we don’t have any contracts. The reason why we do it that way is because our primary cost is the people, like all of our agents work in house here in Kansas City. And so you know, for smaller practice, you know, they may get four or five chats in an entire month, whereas a larger practice might get, you know, four or five hundred chats in a month, and so, obviously, the price is going to be quite a lot different for each of those groups. But the average price for a dental practice is around 250 a month. 250 to 350 a month.
Mark: Right. And that’s based on their average website volume.
Scott Hansen: Exactly.
Mark: Right. I mean, let’s face it. That’s what it is. So yeah, you cut your teeth, no pun intended in ortho.
Scott Hansen: Yes.
Mark: Ortho is typically really high volume. Right. I mean, I would think. You’ve got, well, it depends on the size of the practice, obviously. But normally, ortho practices, you’re seeing 5,6,7 kids, every hour.
Scott Hansen: Yeah. So, and that’s why the, the flexibility in the pricing. That way, you know, we’re not overcharging people that, you know, we want to help smaller practices as well. And the way you know, we’ve designed really robust agency level software to help us support this process. So, it makes it easy for us to provide service to both large and small practices. Awesome. I’d like to answer your question about where we’re headed. I think, you know, we obviously, we’re still growing really fast. And, you know, we’re really intentional about our process. And, you know, delivering really consistent service, we do have a couple really exciting things that we’ll be rolling out next month.
One of them is Facebook Messenger support. So we’ll be able to answer patient questions directly on Facebook Messenger, which will really increase engagement. And also, Google has a new feature that they rolled out a few months ago called Google messenger. And basically, the way it works is you tie a mobile number to your Google Places, or Google business page and patients can message you directly from Google, and it’s like they’re texting you. But we’ll be able to manage those conversations as well. So as well, so we’ll be able to reduce really the barriers of communication. And, you know, we call it sales friction. We want to reduce as much friction as possible to get a hold of those people, I start a conversation. So, some really exciting stuff we’re doing.
Mark: 100%. That makes complete and total sense. I knew it. I knew when I talked to you, I knew and I talked to Keith, I knew when we put our heads together, I knew everything made perfect sense. And the price is absolutely affordable. And it’s variable, depending on how much marketing the doctor does and how much you know, traffic, they drive to their website. Absolutely. So okay, so that first, so you, let’s say you do the install, and it’s on the 10th. And you take somebody live on the 10th so that first what? That first 20 days of that first month is kind of like a it’s kind of like an estimate, right?
Scott Hansen: Yeah, pretty much. And you know, we’re really incentivized to make sure we deliver good prices to doctors. Because like I said, there’s no contract, we’re not locking anybody in. And, you know, we’ve also proven that this is a successful model. Our client retention is about 98% without a contract. And so we don’t lose very many clients to cost or other things like we’re, we’re really focused on delivering a high value service.
Mark: Right. Good. Okay. Well, how can if somebody that’s listening to this is interested in reaching out to see if it’s, you know, see, or get a demo? Or see if it’ll work for you know, their office? Or who should they reach out to?
Scott Hansen: Sure. You mentioned that the company’s name is Professional Chats, and that’s right, we also have a brand that is exclusively focused on dentistry, Dentist Chats. And so they can get on dentistchats.com and chat into, you know, with one of our smile specialists. Alternatively, they can request a demo or they can reach out to me directly. You know, now, my responsibilities have changed quite a lot over the last year, but I still really enjoy talking with doctors and, and practice managers. I just like talking shop too. Our number here is 401-992-4287. And they can just ask to speak with me and I’d love to speak with any of the listeners.
Mark: okay, good. If they want to email you, is it [email protected]? It is indeed. Okay. So, Scott, [email protected] you can email Scott, maybe set up, whatever some time to just sit down and chat about your practice. And, you know, see if it’s a fit. I know, it’s a fit for a few hundred practices that I know. We’re gonna going to be, we’re going to be putting together a little white paper on this and encouraging our clients to reach out to you directly. And I’m glad we did this introductory, this introductory podcast, I think it’s going to open up some eyes. And thank you for what you do. Scott, you’re one of the good ones in dentistry.
Scott Hansen: It’s my pleasure. Yeah, it’s been really nice getting to know you. And, you know, what you guys do for your clients is so important. And, you know, ultimately, the patients are what fuel our practices. I think, really cool that we can work, you know, in coordination to, to create thriving, you know, private practice. It’s just, it’s still important for the future of the industry. And, you know, something we’re really proud to be a part of.
Mark: Yeah, yeah. Same here. We, you know, walk in and I’ll say, you know, “Wendy, what do you do today?” Wendy is one of our campaign dangers, and invariably, she’ll say something like, “well, I did this, this, this and this and this.” I said, “No, you didn’t you change lives. You change the life of a dentist, and I know you change the life of multiple patients.” And it puts a smile on her face, right? Ultimately, that’s what we do. That’s why we’re here right now. And I know that’s why you’re here. So anyway, I’m everybody. Scott Hansen. [email protected] And dentistchats.com. Look them up, inquire. Talk to them. See if this is a fit for you. Um, I think it’s a fit for everybody listening to this podcast. So that’s it. Scott, thank you very much for your time.
Scott Hansen: Thank you so much for having me. Mark.