How Many New Patient Opportunities Are You Missing Each Month?

Today, I want to ask you a few critical questions about your dental practice’s patient acquisition efforts:

  • How many new patient phone calls does your practice receive each month?
  • How many of these calls come in when nobody can answer the phone?
  • How many responses to calls have been successfully converted into new patient appointments?

If you are investing in marketing to attract potential new patients, it’s crucial to understand that every time the phone rings, you have paid for that ring to occur. Each time a prospective patient calls, there are only four possible outcomes:

  1. The call goes unanswered, and the new patient leaves a message requesting a return call.
  2. The call goes unanswered, and the new patient decides not to leave a message. (Missed Opportunity)
  3. Your front desk team fields the call and schedules a new patient appointment.
  4. Your front desk team fields the call but needs to schedule an appointment. (Missed Opportunity)

The Impact of Missed Calls

Using call-tracking systems, we have meticulously tracked our clients’ marketing efforts for the past few years. This has allowed us to gather valuable data and insights that might shock you. On average, dental practices miss around 40 new patient calls each month, a significant portion occurring during regular business hours. Of those missed calls, fewer than 30% result in voicemails being left. This means that most potential new patients who encounter an unanswered call do not leave a message, leading to lost opportunities.

Conversion Rates: A Wake-Up Call

In the initial month of implementing call tracking, we typically find that dental offices convert new patient callers into actual appointments less than 50% of the time. This statistic should be a wake-up call for any practice. Consider the potential impact of these missed opportunities on your practice’s growth and revenue.

Calculating the Cost of Missed Opportunities

Let’s break down the numbers to understand the financial implications of missed calls and low conversion rates. Assume your practice receives 40 new patient calls each month, and you convert 20 of these calls into appointments, achieving a conversion rate of 50%. If you increase your conversion rate to 60%, you will gain 4 new monthly patients, equating to 48 additional patients annually. Aiming for a 70% conversion rate would result in an extra 8 new patients per month or 96 additional patients annually.

The Financial Value of Incremental Patients

Now, let’s quantify the financial value of these additional patients. Suppose the average revenue per new patient in the first year is $500. Increasing your conversion rate from 50% to 60% would result in $24,000 additional annual revenue (48 patients x $500). Raising your conversion rate to 70% could yield an extra $48,000 annually (96 patients x $500). These figures highlight the significant financial benefits of optimizing your call handling and conversion processes.

Strategies to Improve Call Handling and Conversion Rates

Improving call handling and increasing conversion rates requires a strategic approach. Here are some effective strategies to help your practice capture more new patient opportunities:

  1. Implement a Call Tracking System: Use call tracking technology to monitor and analyze incoming calls. This will help you identify peak call times, monitor unanswered calls, and evaluate the performance of your front desk team.
  2. Ensure Adequate Staffing: Ensure your practice is adequately staffed during peak call times to handle the volume of incoming calls. This might involve adjusting staff schedules or hiring additional team members to cover busy periods.
  3. Training and Development: Training your front desk team to handle calls effectively. This includes teaching them how to confidently engage with potential patients, answer questions, and convert inquiries into appointments. Role-playing scenarios and providing constructive feedback can enhance their skills.
  4. Use Voicemail Strategically: While answering every call is ideal, ensure your voicemail system is professional and informative. Encourage patients to leave a message and assure them that their call will be returned promptly.
  5. Follow-up on Missed Calls: Establish a protocol for promptly returning missed calls. Even if a potential patient doesn’t leave a voicemail, use caller ID to follow up. This proactive approach demonstrates your commitment to patient care and can help recover lost opportunities.
  6. Monitor and Adjust Marketing Efforts: Regularly review your marketing campaigns’ performance to ensure they drive quality leads. Adjust your strategies based on the data collected from call tracking to maximize the effectiveness of your marketing spend.

The Bottom Line

The financial impact of missed patient calls and low conversion rates must be balanced. Your practice can significantly increase its revenue and growth potential by implementing effective call-handling strategies and improving your conversion rates.

Would you would like to know how many opportunities you might be missing? 

Ask us about our call tracking service, Opportunity Track. We will track, record and summarize your new patient calls, and quantify for you how many potential opportunities are being missed. The report will help you (or your practice management consultant) identify ways to improve your call handling to ensure that you are capturing all of the opportinities you are already paying for! Call (866) 433-1645 or visit

Practice Success,

Benjamin Suggs

New Patient Marketing Strategist

Practice Treatment Plan, Inc.