How to Respond to Consumer Inquiries: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Respond to Consumer Inquiries: A Step-by-Step Guide

1024 576 The RealSelf Team

In this guide, you will find step-by-step guidance, complete with screenshots, to help you accomplish the following:

  1. Set up inquiry notifications
    • Who receives the consumer inquiry emails in your practice? Learn how to add staff, so they can respond directly from their inbox.
  2. Audit your inquiries
    • Do you know which consumers have received a follow-up? Learn how to find and track consumer inquiries utilizing your dashboard.
  3. Manage communications
    • While we no longer “mask,” or anonymize, consumer contact information, you might need to verify your phone numbers or enter your PIN if you call any previously masked numbers.
Setting Up Inquiry Notifications

Log into the Dashboard from the Profile Icon at the top right of the webpage. (If you don’t have Dashboard access, please reach out to your account Advocate.)

Click on Edit Profile 

Scroll down to the section for email addresses (after Awards and Professional Recognition). You can forward new inquiries to up to 4 email addresses to ensure prompt follow-up.

Expert tip: Add your email address as Alternate 4 and train three of your team members on your follow-up standards. Your primary responder responds daily to new inquiries. If they are out of the office, Alternate 2 or 3 are able to respond.

To Save your changes, Scroll to the bottom of the page and Click Submit.

Audit Your Inquiries

On your Dashboard under Quick Actions, select Respond to Inquiries.


All of your inquiries are sorted by date submitted below.


To respond to an inquiry, you can either Email or Call using the consumer details in the Contact column or reply directly from the consumer Email inquiry you received in your inbox.

Expert tip: Use multiple contact methods. No response to your email? Calling can create a more personal touch. And consider adding texting to your methods of response, particularly when a potential patient has indicated this in their consult inquiry.

After calling the consumer, you can use that inquiry’s dropdown menu to update follow-up status. For instance, if you haven’t heard back yet, you can change the status to “Pending Customer Response.”

Expert tip: Best practice for responding to an inquiry is to respond quickly (the closer you can be to 4 hours or less the better), and respond often (online consumers may not be able to answer the phone the first time you call them… but that doesn’t mean they aren’t interested). Continue reaching out to consumers a minimum of 4 times.

Managing Communications

Phone Numbers –
Between October 1, 2017 and January 14, 2019, RealSelf used “masked,” or anonymized, email addresses and phone numbers when receiving or replying to consumer inquiries. Starting January 15, 2019, we are no longer using this masking system, so no PIN is required when you call an unmasked phone number.

If you continue to call any previously masked numbers, you will still be prompted to use your PIN if you are calling from an unverified phone number. Your PIN is located in the top-left corner of your Dashboard.

Email Addresses –
If you choose to use masked email addresses (ones that show as part of the email address) they are available on your inquiry details page (and only for inquiries received prior to January 15, 2019). To find masked contact details:

Click READ MORE on the inquiry details page.

The masked details are listed under “Previously Masked Contact.”

To respond to an inquiry follow your normal process for responding to a potential patient. You can:

Click EMAIL from the email notification you receive from RealSelf.

  • Enter the contact information into your CRM or patient management system.
  • Create a separate Follow Up System for these inquiries in excel or another patient management process you are following.

Learn more about your dashboard changes and best practices for managing your RealSelf inquiries.