Why An Average Dental Practice Converts Only 1/3rd Of New Patient Calls To Appointments?

Why An Average Dental Practice Converts Only 1/3rd Of New Patient Calls To Appointments?

Are you stressed that you aren’t getting the number of new patients into the office?  Do you feel like the phones are ringing, but the chairs are empty?

Tracking and measuring key metrics, including missed calls, is crucial to run a successful dental practice.

Let’s start by talking about missed calls. While leaving voicemails and waiting for a callback was once a common practice, patients today expect their calls to be answered during working hours. A high missed call rate can result in missed opportunities to connect with new patients. Therefore, tracking and improving this metric is imperative to ensure your dental practice maximizes every opportunity to connect with potential new patients.

Why does the average practice convert only 1/3 of new patient calls?

While you might appreciate a high volume of calls coming through to your practice, what’s really important is to have them result in actual booked appointments.

Not all calls are going to be from new patients. Your practice will receive calls from existing patients, and new patients, as well as sales calls, calls from vendors, suppliers, and so on.

Investing in marketing can help you increase the & of calls coming in from potential new patients, but sadly, the average practice only manages to convert one-third of new patient calls result to booked appointments.

There are various reasons for this, like communication challenges, scheduling issues, or not having effective follow-up procedures in place. So, it’s a bit of a balancing act to get more people through the door for appointments.

If you are like the average dental practice and want your call conversions to improve,  you need to start tracking your call conversion rate.

What is the call conversion rate?

To calculate the call conversion rate, divide new patients who booked appointments by the number of new patient calls.

You must listen to 100 to 150 monthly calls to find the conversion rate. Then, identify the new patient callers and those new patient callers who booked appointments.

This process can take anywhere between 15 to 20 hours. However, knowing this data is critical for your long-term success. 90% of dental practice owners I have spoken to do not know their call conversion rate.

However, they believe it is high. 80% of the time, what the owner believes is happening is very different from what is happening. We only find this out by listening to 100 to 150 calls.

Here’s how to get started:

Choose a Call Tracking System:
Select a call tracking system or service that suits your practice. Many platforms offer features like call recording, analytics, and reporting.

Assign Unique Phone Numbers:
Use unique phone numbers for different marketing channels (e.g., website, social media, or ads). This helps you identify which sources are driving the most calls.

Record Calls Automatically:
Opt for a call tracking system that automatically records incoming calls. This ensures you capture every interaction without manual effort.

Regularly Review Call Data:
Set aside time regularly to review call data. Look for patterns, common questions, and the overall tone of patient inquiries.

Identify New Patient Callers:
Listen to a sample of calls to identify new patient callers. Note their inquiries and if they ultimately result in booked appointments.

Calculate Call Conversion Rate:
Divide the number of new patients who booked appointments by the total number of new patient calls. This gives you your call conversion rate.

Rate Invest Time, See Results:
Though it may take 15 to 20 hours per month to listen to 100 to 150 calls, this investment in time is crucial for your practice’s long-term success.

How to Evaluate Your Call Conversion Rate

Missed calls are acceptable for all practices, but for many, to measure your practice’s missed call rate, you must determine the percentage of inbound calls that go unanswered during business hours (not just new patient calls). For example, if your practice receives 100 calls during work hours and 20 go unanswered, your missed call percentage is 20%.

To evaluate your practice’s missed call rate, I recommend using the following grading system:

  • A: Under 10% of missed calls
  • B: Under 20% of missed calls
  • C: Under 30% of missed calls
  • F: Anything over 30% missed calls

How to Improve Your Call Conversion Rates

I consider a conversion rate of 70% or higher as an ‘’A’’, while 60% plus is a ‘’B’’, and 50% plus is a ‘’C’’.

To improve your call conversion rate, you need to do three things:

  • Know your call conversion rate and missed call percentage every month.
  • Identify six calls you can use to coach your team to answer your phone. We suggest four good calls and two bad calls.
  • Monthly 60-minute meeting to review the above two as a team in a supportive environment where the team continues to improve.
  • Last but not least, you need patience, especially if you are a practice with a low call conversion rate.

By tracking your missed call rate and striving to improve it, you can ensure that your practice makes the most of every opportunity to connect with potential new patients.

About the Author

Dr Eric Block
Dr. Eric Block is a full-time practicing dentist in Acton, Massachusetts, husband, and father of two kids. He is known as The Stress-Free Dentist and hosts the Stress-Free Dentist Podcast.
He is the author of three non-fiction books and one children’s book. He lectures nationwide, helping dentists become more efficient, productive, and less stressed. He is the co-founder of the International Academy of Dental Life Coaches or IADLC.com, which matches dental professionals with life coaches who understand dentistry.

He is a wellness ambassador for the American Dental Association and former chairman of the Health and Wellness Committee for the Massachusetts Dental Society.