Online chatbots are all the rage in many industries. However, and for good reason, medical practices have been slow to adopt this kind of AI technology. Automated response chatbots can be more cost-effective and efficient, but they don't provide what patients today still want and need: a closer relationship with their healthcare provider. It's probably safe to say that not many patients would feel comfortable "discussing" delicate medical issues with a bot or disclosing their insurance information.
How can busy healthcare facilities benefit from cutting-edge communication tools meant to speed up workflow and attract more patients without sacrificing the personal touch?
through patient texting. Practices can offer today's patients a convenient interaction without subjecting them to a "fake" conversation with a robot by using text messaging in the healthcare industry. The relationship between patients and providers is upheld and even strengthened by patient text messaging.
Text messaging in healthcare: Providing convenience for customers
The popularity of text messaging has grown so quickly that for the majority of us, phone conversations are no longer necessary. Although text messaging is more frequently used for interpersonal communication among family and friends, businesses have quickly realized how effective it is for keeping customers informed, interested, and connected to their brand. It has also developed into a potent tool for luring in and interacting with potential clients.
Healthcare communication is the ideal use case for text messaging due to the widespread, routine use of technology and consumers' preference for texting. Practices that want to expand must be able to answer questions from both new and returning patients quickly, as well as maintain connections with their current patient base outside of scheduled appointments. Practices can easily use patient information with the right workflow.
The practice staff benefits from text messaging as well. Your front desk staff has a much less time-consuming option that serves an exceptional patient experience, the key to long-term practice growth, rather than forcing them to juggle promptly answering every call or email that comes in.
Practices can use patient text messaging to deliver nearly instantaneous answers to timely questions for patients who aren't quite ready to make an appointment. In order to meet consumer demand for digital interactions and convenience, practices can proactively send automated messages to current patients to remind them of upcoming appointments, make a payment, or finish a digital registration form.
According to research, 69 percent of customers want to be able to text a company, and 54 percent find it frustrating when they can't.
What about a chatbot's capacity for quick responses to simple queries? By allowing office staff or providers to quickly respond to messages as part of their day, text messaging eliminates the possibility of a poor response or experience for healthcare practices.
Chatbots: Providing a poor user experience
Even for what might be regarded as a minor customer service issue, consumers clearly prefer human interaction to a chatbot. Consumer preference for that personal interaction was 77%, which is more than five times higher than the percentage of people who preferred a chatbot experience.
According to additional research, people typically perceive chatbots as less helpful than humans and frequently feel that the responses provided by the bots aren't as thorough as they would like. That's an important factor for practices to take into account, especially for specialists who frequently handle serious or complex medical issues.
The inconvenience of making a phone call (and waiting on hold) or sending an email and repeatedly checking their inbox for a response is avoided by patients who request contact. To ensure that no message is missed, practice staff are alerted when new text messages arrive via text, email, or browser notification.
Software for patient text messaging: The many advantages of web-to-text for medical practices
enhances the patient's experience
Chatbots might seem impersonal to patients. Even though it isn't, a text message exchange with a healthcare practice's staff can seem more personal (even after a web-to-text request). That is just the result of people exchanging texts so frequently in their daily lives. Patients can use your website to send quick questions to the practice (like "Are you offering COVID testing today?") and receive a prompt, attentive response without having to call the office.
Helps in the expansion of practice
Web-to-text is also excellent at converting leads into patients by converting interested website visitors into leads. Imagine the following case: It's 10 p.m.
Easier to manage
The frequent daily use of text messaging comes with a set of common expectations, too. With text messaging, users won’t expect the instantaneous response that a chatbot returns, and that’s okay. Office staff can respond to messages throughout the day as time permits, with very little risk of patients thinking those responses are delayed.
To help manage those expectations even better, practices should customize the response they send patients after receiving a text message or patient text messaging request. A couple of examples:
There is no one from the practice available because it is after hours. Web-to-text provides the patient with a comfortable means of communication; without it, this patient lead might never be found again. The patient can leave their phone number and their question for practices that use web-to-text.
According to mobile phone company Zipwhip, people use text messaging four times more frequently than email, and by morning they will receive a text message with the solution and a link to make an appointment.
driving to medical appointments while texting
More than 60% of patients regularly look for a doctor, dentist, or other medical services online. The best way to guarantee that website visitors to your practice book an appointment with you is to provide them with a variety of communication channels. Patients will be able to reach you in this way and communicate with you how they prefer. Additionally, even when your practice is closed or your patients are busy, you are still available to them.