Allowing patients to use text messaging makes them 6 times as likely to reach out and communicate with you.
6X in anything is a MASSIVE increase, but especially in inbound contacts there's simply nothing else that comes even close to that.
Nobody likes to call.
Asking new patient-prospects to call your front desk is a lot to ask. It's an investment of time, it's slow, you have to call during office hours, and you know that there's social pressure that's going to be applied by the person on the other end. It's a big hurdle and has always cost you those patients who you might have had if only it had been a little less difficult.
You're missing those inquiries, patients and those sales.
But texting is easy.
Sending a text is a much lower 'ask', and that's just what you want as a business; a very easy first step. It's asynchronous so you don't have to worry about office hours or connecting, and there's much less social pressure than talking to someone on the phone.
Best of all, your front desk staff can probably handle 5 times the traffic in texting communications than in phone calls.
Here are the numbers*: (reference)
- New patients are 6 times more likely to text you than call.
- Texting is 10X quicker than phone calls
- 81% of Americans text regularly
- 85% of people want to be able to not only receive a message from a business but also answer a message from a business.
- 98% of consumers want to use texting when communicating with a business
- 95% of texts will be read within 3 minutes of being sent
- People prefer text for most scheduling, changing appointments, or confirming reservations
- Response rates from text are 209% higher than phone calls and 200% higher than email
If you can read those stats as a clinic owner and think that you don't need a two-way texting capability to communicate with your patients and field new inquires... well, I don't really know what I could say that could help you or your business. Please stop reading.
The simple truth is that you need to find a solution using text messages because it's the preferred method of communication for your existing patients, and it's more productive than what you're doing now.
How much time is actually wasted every week on the phone? Here are my guesstimates:
Calling to confirm appointment
Call patients to fill a cancelation
Staff time wasted: calling, on hold,
calling back, waiting....
Texting is clearly a more productive and efficient system and your patients respond better to it. The only question for you is what to do about it.
How do I add texting to my clinic?
Before getting started there are a few things we suggest doing to ensure that you are successful. The first is setting up your Google My Business listing to accept text messages from mobile searchers. Check out this post for instructions on how to set up Google Click-to-Message for your business.
Next, you’ll want to find a solution that can enable your landline to accept text messages. This will help you maintain continuity and consistency with your contact information, which is an important factor in where your business ranks in local search.
Once your landline is set up to accept text messages, you’ll want to publish that number wherever your contact information is displayed with instructions to “call or text us.” Some places to include it are on your website, on all of your business directory listings, and even in your email signature.
Finally, you’ll want to implement a customer interaction platform to help you manage all of your text message conversations.
More help on that a little later.
Best practices: What would I use text messaging for?
I understand your reluctance to start texting your patients and prospects. Its new and you don’t really know where to start or how to do it. but let's identify a few moments during your patient journey where it makes perfect sense to be using text messaging.
1. SET APPOINTMENTS AND SEND APPOINTMENT REMINDERS One of the biggest frustrations is when patients no-show, but you can eliminate a large number of no-shows by texting out appointment reminders and setting appointments with your customers. It's much less intrusive and time-consuming than having your staff call out and remind customers about upcoming appointments.
There are automated systems that you pay for that do this automatically, but that's all they do. You want a a system that does this and the other things on the list too.
2. BE A RESOURCE TO SOLVE PROBLEMS Not all of the questions your customers have will warrant a phone call. Some are simple and can often be answered with a very short text. Because texting is more visual than a phone call, it allows your patients to use testing in ways that phone calls just don't handle well, like sending a photo. This can eliminate a lot of confusion that might arise if they were to try and describe the problem verbally.
3. LOOK FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO UPSELL Having a texting relationship with your customers will also give you the opportunity to upsell them from time-to-time. This will provide your business with incremental increases in revenue that will not only improve customer satisfaction but also boost your bottom line.
4. ASK FOR FEEDBACK A number of our customers have started to replace traditional customer satisfaction surveys with a text message-based survey. These customers see a higher open and response rate because text messaging is more conversational and less intrusive than a survey. A simple "let us know if we can help in any way" as a text is another touch point of care that patients appreciate and cost's you nothing.
5. CLOSE BUSINESS This might sound crazy to you, but it’s not uncommon for people to make a sale in a text message conversation – even for big-ticket purchases. Just send a special offer to your best clients, or followup on a consultation in a non-intrusive way.
7. COLLECT REVIEWS Finally, you should invite all of your customers to review your business via text message. Building up your online reputation is important because it makes it easy for consumers to find your business via online searches, while also helping to influence purchase decisions.
8. LET PATIENTS TEXT YOU AS A FIRST CONTACT This is a big one... make it easier for patients to take the first step towards your clinic by allowing them to text you as a first contact.
What does all of this?
We started looking at providing a solution for our Members that solves these problems. The company that we chose to partner with is a best-in-class software solution called Podium.
We contacted them and they agreed to partner with us and put together a special offer for Members. You can see that offer here: https://medicalspamd.com/podium
Here's a little info about how it works to make it easier for prospects to connect with you, to communicate and interact with them, and to get them to help you grow you reputation and business.
Here's a video showing how new patients can use Podium to text you directly from your own website or from other pages like your Google business page. Now, instead of just being able to call, they can now text, connecting them to your front desk and allowing your staff to respond right from their computer.
- User finds you on the web, often on a mobile device or smart phone.
- They text you.
- You text them back.
It's asynchronous so it doesn't impact calls and no one has to wait, you can send images if you want (like a price list or before and after photos), it's efficient so your teams productivity increases, and it's what your patients want.
And here's a video that shows how Podum's new webchat feature works for brick and mortar businesses like your clinic.
"Podium Messenger makes texting with customers a breeze. 90% of consumers want to use messaging to talk to businesses. With Podium Messenger, stay connected with your customers and answer questions in real-time via text message – all from one centralized dashboard"
So that's really it. This is something that you actually need, that your patients want, and that you're never going to get a better deal on since it's only our Members that get it.
To learn more about how you can take advantage of this Members only deal, just find it - along with other deals and offers - in the Marketplace.
Oh.... and in addition to Members getting better pricing forever for this, you'll also get free training for your entire team online.