When your computer system has incomplete or inaccurate patient information, you are in a lot of trouble. The same holds true when it comes to accurately tracking your marketing results. The following story illustrates the point. A client in Washington recently had his staff pull a report from his practice management software to estimate the effectiveness of his new patient marketing campaign. The data provided by the team prompted the dentist to place the campaign temporarily on hold. The main reason – perceived poor return in investment/response. Based off the referral sources manually ticked by the staff in the software, the dentist was under the impression that he had received only two new patients from the direct mail campaign. In actuality, he had generated over thirty new direct patients. Since a good software records, scores and tracks each call, he was saved from a decision that could have cost his practice thousands of dollars, both in marketing momentum and lost new-patient opportunities. The client was taken through a live presentation of the results by his account manager on the Marketing Performance Dashboard. Every single call generated by the direct mail campaign had been recorded, scored and tracked. The result showed that over thirty new appointments were made. When you calculate the ADA average patient spend and the average household size, that is a staggering first-year revenue of $40,000 compared to the $3,000 the dentist thought he had made. With a call conversion rate of 95 percent, his team's output was stellar as well, but they were missing out on getting the right credit for their excellent performance because of the poor tracking. Now, think about interrupting such a revenue generator in your practice. This example should have made it clear to you as to why it is essential to validate the marketing reporting data regularly. Manual entry tends to cause errors. It is often said that you cannot manage what you do not measure. But it is equally true that you can't measure something that cannot be verified. However, there are a few steps you can put into place right now: 1. Make sure that you are tracking and scoring all the inbound calls – Use the marketing performance dashboard for completely unbiased scoring and visibility of results and audit all the other reports for accuracy. 2. Review the new-patient reports regularly – Generate a map from the results using the software to give you a visual analysis of the situation. If you have not done this yet, you should perform an analysis on the software as soon as possible. 3. Organize team meeting to review current offers and marketing – Your team should be aware of and be on the same page when it comes to new patient goals. They should understand that converting calls and tracking results can affect all the aspects of your business from job security and effective time usage to practice growth and happiness. 4. Train your team continually – Your staff should be trained in customer service and phone handling techniques. As your team members become more fluent in patient handling, they will be able to rope in the patients who are only curious at the outset. To be able to do more than what the potential customer asks for, they should be trained effectively to make the most of the time they have on the phone with them. 5. Add a “whisper tone” to the call tracking number – This will let your team know the source of the call quickly when they answer the phone. The call handling procedure should be scripted to include the following question: “Did you get our newsletter?” If the patient answers in the negative, it is an opportunity to connect with them by sending them a copy or inviting them for a guest visit to your practice. Make sure you have extra copies available in the display stand in the lobby. An intuitive dashboard to track and measure your marketing performance till put the spotlight on situations you may not realize, ones that would cost you thousands of dollars. Dirty data leads all practitioners to make completely wrong business decisions from time to time. But with all the technology at our disposal, you can now have accurate and verifiable business intelligence data to base your decisions on. Whenever information has to be entered manually, like marking the referral source for marketing, you have a lot of opportunity for inconsistent information and error. Even if you are focused on the visibility of marketing results and your frontline manager understands the importance of accurate tracking, you still nee to use every available tool from call recording and tracking to random reviews and audits. A good dashboard to measure the marketing performance should be able to provide you with excellent business intelligence data. You should also be able to access your dashboard anytime you want – to see how many calls were received, how many were answered, and the instances when they are missed and get forwarded to voicemail. You can then review all the call scores and spot listen to see how calls are being handled by your front office. If there is anybody at your office who needs a little polish with their call handling skills, you can offer training in those particular elements of new-patient call handling. Over time, you will be able to monitor the results and calibrate them for excellent conversion rates. Protect your investment. Secure your future and your practice by having all the necessary facts in hand before you make major business decisions. Your decision making will be more well informed, and you will improve the patient satisfaction, not to mention patient efficiency. No matter how you look at it, that is a more profitable situation. If you are worried that your data is dirty, use the dashboard to make sure that your marketing plan is on the right track. Do not