Why does your practice need a chat service?

Technology continues to change how we do everything, and after 2020, we’ve been seeing the use of online services growing faster than ever before.

We’ve said it before: More and more people are looking to the Web to do things quickly and easily, and this includes things like asking questions about dentistry and making dental appointments.

According to 99 Firms, 79% of consumers prefer using online chat to communicate with businesses because they can get an instant response without picking up the phone.

Dental practices tend to get contacted a lot outside of work hours, and having a chat service is a good way to address those potential patients–converting their inquiries to appointments, rather than losing them as they move on to the next practice to find one available for their questions.

There are also some potential patients who suffer from social anxiety, who find interacting through chat to be less stressful than making a phone call.

To keep from missing out on these patients, your practice needs to offer chat for instant online interactions.

What kind of chat service is best for your business?

For the reasons above, you may already be considering using a chat service for your site, but are you making sure you’ll be using the right kind? The important thing is to have a real human being handling your side of the conversation, as chatbot AIs aren’t yet up to the task. In fact, polls have found that 70% of users prefer chatting online with a real person over interacting with a chatbot.

If you’ve ever tried to converse with a chatbot before, you can see why they cause frustration. The AI behind them don’t actually understand English; instead, these AIs recognize specific keywords or phrases and spit out premade responses when they’re detected.

Most available chatbots don’t use learning algorithms, making them unable to learn from their mistakes, which means the only way for them to be improved is for a member of your office team to read through the chat transcripts, identify the issues, and attempt to change the keywords and responses to better handle them.

This not only wastes the time and effort of your team, but also may result in the loss of a potential patient.

Having a person, rather than a computer algorithm, handling your chat, will result in less frustration for the potential patient and will result in a better outcome.

A live person on the other end of an online chat is much better at gathering information such as:

  • The patient’s name and contact information
  • The reason they’re contacting your practice
  • Their insurance details
  • Any other questions and concerns the patient may have

There are many benefits to be had by adding a live chat service to your website. It makes your practice available outside of office hours, frees up members of your team by handling the online inquiries for you, and allows you to convert online inquiries into appointments.

If you’d like to learn more about using chat to help your practice, see our previous post on the topic, or get in touch with us to learn about the live 24/7 chat service we offer! Modernize your practice and stop missing out on those online leads!

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Author: Kathy Jiamboi

Owner of Creativedge Marketing, where growth-oriented dentists find dental practice marketing strategies and advice to take their practice to a new and higher level.

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