The 7 Phone Trends to Watch in 2021

During 2020, healthcare practices were challenged by rapidly changing everyday operations and had to quickly adapt to continue to serve their patients. As a result, the phone was leveraged more than ever to keep patients informed, keep businesses running smoothly, and uphold health and safety protocols. As we look ahead to 2021, there are various phone trends we can expect to observe as phone handling processes continue to adapt and develop with the changing times.

  1. Emphasis on Recall Efforts

    Most healthcare practices are currently unable to invest heavily in marketing and other new patient acquisition tactics, but have hundreds of patients overdue for appointments or pending outstanding treatments. This will result in increasing outbound calls and taking a proactive approach to patient growth. With outbound calls already rising by 69.7% in 2020, we expect that number only to grow in 2021. It's more important than ever to get smart about reaching out to patients in your database to get them back in the office. Furthermore, it will become crucial to lean into more creative ways to schedule these outstanding appointments such as special financing offers or after-hours availability.

  2. Cautious Reinvestment in Marketing Campaigns

    As practices do begin to ramp up their marketing efforts, it's important to use caution. As recall efforts increase, marketing managers need to keep an eye on calendar availability to make sure there's room for new patients and the potential return on investment to justify increased marketing spend. Otherwise, you'll be left with new patients calling in that can't be helped in a reasonable timeframe. Ramping up your marketing efforts should be done at the right speed for your unique practice; the only way to determine that ideal speed is to have transparent monitoring on your campaigns and understand the actual outcome of the calls your campaigns are driving. Are your campaigns bringing in booked new patient appointments? Or are your campaigns driving patients that you're unable to accomodate?

  3. Increased Use of Remote Teams and Call Centers

    More and more businesses are finding ways to make working from home a reality — it's a trend that's here to stay. As call volume at healthcare practices continues to fluctuate with the rapidly changing environment, offices will continue to seek outside assistance to fill in where and when it's needed. Furthermore, practices will begin to rely more heavily on call center models where one person is shared across multiple offices to gain efficiencies and provide more timely assistance to patients.

  4. Reliance on Texting to Communicate with Patients

    In 2021, texting will undoubtedly become more and more popular with both patients and providers. With continued emphasis on social distancing measures and reduced staffing models, adequately handling the high number of patient calls coming into your practice is crucial. Texting is often used to help keep patients informed and prepare them for their visit. If you're utilizing a parking lot waiting room, this is a great way to get started in texting.

  5. Urgency of Improving Call Connection Performance

    In 2020, the percent of callers connected to a qualified individual who could help them dropped by 10% compared to 2019. In the fast-paced world of Amazon and Uber, patients have come to expect immediate assistance when calling your practice. Patients realize they have options when it comes to their medical needs, and placing patients on hold or sending them to voicemail simply isn't acceptable anymore. In 2021, it will be urgently necessary to increase call connection performance and find ways to ensure patients receive the help they need in a timely manner.

  6. Emphasis on Hard Numbers and Metrics

    Now more than ever, it's critical to track your phone performance in real, hard numbers. Just like baking, you can't just throw a handful of flour in a bowl and expect to make a souffle; instead, you measure your ingredients precisely and adjust where needed to perfect your final product. Similarly, in order to truly make an impactful change on your phone metrics, you need to carefully analyze and measure your performance. Instead of relying on feelings and instincts, it's important to make decisions based on what your numbers are actually telling you. If you're not measuring, you're not going to know if your metrics are changing in the right direction and leading you to an optimal outcome.

  7. Continued Adoption and Improvement of Phone Handling Technology

    Finally, in 2021, we expect to see continued adoption and improvement of phone handling technology. As the phone continues to be a pivotal tool to keep patients informed and ensure efficient workflows, practices will adopt methods to become more effective on the phone. Whether that's through more intelligent software, flexible phone systems, seamless integrations, or other advancements, managers will demand more from their phone handling technology.

If you'd like to learn more about Call Box and how we're helping thousands of healthcare practices leverage the phone to capture more revenue, streamline operations, and achieve optimal call outcomes in 2021, visit callbox.com or call 833-473-0440.