Every e-commerce and business site seems to have a chatbot, but healthcare businesses (including dental practices) have been slow to adopt this technology.
Automated-response chatbots are known to be efficient communications. But in many cases, they don’t provide a personal connection between the healthcare patient and provider. Chatbots can guide website visitors to specific web content, and answer basic questions — or help visitors book an appointment.
But patients don’t feel comfortable sharing personal or sensitive information (including insurance or medical information) with an impersonal bot. Research shows that 77% of consumers prefer the personal contact of text — more than five times greater than those choosing a chatbot experience.
Research also indicates that people generally think chatbots are less helpful than humans. The bots’ responses aren’t as detailed as they would like. This is critical for healthcare practices.
Patients prefer text messaging
How can busy healthcare practices take advantage of advanced communication technologies — intended to streamline workflow and drive new patient volume — without sacrificing the human connection? With patient text messaging.
By using text messaging, healthcare practices can deliver their patients a convenient interaction without a “fake” conversation with a robot. With patient text messaging, the patient-provider connection is maintained and even improved.
Many healthcare practices now use text messaging to replace phone conversations for many functions including appointment reminders, new patient welcomes, digital record updates, and more. Text messaging keeps patients engaged, informed, and connected with their healthcare providers.
Text messaging supports healthcare marketing
Healthcare practices focused on growth can quickly respond to inquiries from both new and established patients via text. At the same time, they can keep their current patients engaged and connected in between appointments. Text messaging also supports front office staff in their role in marketing efforts, helping to serve an exceptional patient experience — the key to long-term practice growth.
Text enhances your connection with patients
Healthcare practices also use text to attract and engage with prospective customers.
When patients aren’t quite ready to book an appointment, the practice can text them to quickly answer any questions. For existing patients, the practice can send automated reminders of upcoming appointments or bills — or request that a digital registration form be completed.
Research shows that 69% of consumers want to contact a business by text message; 54% express frustration when they can’t.
While a chatbot can quickly respond to basic questions, text messaging avoids any chance of a subpar response or experience — and allows office staff or providers to quickly respond to messages personally, during the course of their workday.
Text is easy to manage
Here’s how web-to-text works: On the practice’s website, visitors and patients are given the option to complete a simple form requesting a text message communication with the practice. The form asks (and captures) the individual’s contact information and indicates the office will be in touch shortly.
Patients request contact without the hassle of making a phone call (and sitting on hold) or sending an email and checking their inbox repeatedly for a response. Practice staff receive notification of new text messages via text, email, or browser notification, ensuring no message is overlooked.
With text messaging, users won’t expect the instantaneous response that a chatbot returns, and that’s okay. Office staff can respond to messages during the day as time permits, with very little risk of patients thinking those responses are delayed.
To ensure a good experience, practices should customise their response to a patient’s text message:
“Thank you for your message. We always do our best to reply within [defined timeframe] of your message.”
“Our office is currently closed, but we’ll get back to you first thing when the office reopens.”
Driving doctor appointments with text messaging
Over 60% of patients regularly search online for a doctor, a dentist, or medical care. When you provide patients with multiple options to communicate with you, you help ensure an optimal experience. Patients can contact you using their preferred method of communication.
You’ll also remain accessible to patients when they’re busy or when your practice is closed.
Patient text messaging software allows you to capture patient information when they have the highest intent in booking an appointment.
If you’re focused on the growth of your healthcare practice, this tool can support your marketing efforts.
Overwhelmed? Let us handle the details
Somnowell Marketing has a team in place to professionally create and execute your patient communications campaigns. Emails, messaging, web content, blogs, social media — they can handle it all, taking the burden off your shoulders. The information is always from respected sources, and will dispel any misinformation. Your online content and social media posts are an investment in your practice’s reputation — and that’s undeniably priceless.