To Chatbot or Not:  How it Compares to Live Chat in Senior Living

With the hype around the benefits of chatbots – cool-factor, quick response, reduction in support costs, 24/7 availability – it seems like a no brainer to add this service to your senior living website. Hold that thought. Aside from the potential kinks of this still evolving artificial intelligence technology, the real question is: Are chatbots capable of giving your senior living prospects the experience they want and the guidance they need on the path towards occupancy? Let’s find out.

The Journey to Senior Living

The decision to move to senior living is not one your prospects or their families take lightly. A decision of this magnitude is complex, multi-layered and incredibly emotional. Tell you something you don’t know, right? Well, you may be surprised that in general, 75 percent of consumers around the world still prefer interacting with people over bots according to a 2018 PricewaterhouseCoopers study.

Bots and the Senior Living Experience

We believe the reasons consumers prefer people to bots are three-fold: the interactions are more personal, more specific and more timely.  Here’s why this is crucial in senior living:

  • More personal – If consumers prefer live interaction over bots for everyday purchases, how would your prospects feel sharing their personal concerns about mom or dad with a bot to try to determine what type of senior living is best? Would they even try?
  • More specific – According to Kayako, 29 percent of consumers find scripted, impersonal responses the most frustrating. At such an emotional time your prospects want to be heard and understood. Scripted responses that don’t apply to the specific situation can make them think if you don’t care enough to really talk with them in the beginning, perhaps the care for mom or dad will be just as impersonal.
  • More timely - Statista reports that 47.5 percent of internet users in the United States feel chatbots provide too many unhelpful responses which wastes time. Often, time is of the essence when your prospects are looking for senior living. Perhaps mom’s health has rapidly deteriorated or maybe dad had an accident and can’t care for himself when he leaves the hospital in a few days. They need guidance and they need it quickly.

How Live Chat Helps

On the other hand, live chat still offers many of the same benefits as chatbots, but is also overcomes many of the challenges. Particularly versus more traditional support channels like phone and email, live chat offers the convenient, quick response your senior living prospects are seeking while delivering the cost-efficiency you appreciate. But it goes further, allowing you to proactively engage your prospects at key moments on their journey in a personalized, specific way that improves the customer experience instead of wasting their time. Here’s an example from an actual SiteStaff senior living chat that shows how it works:

09-18-19 12:40:36 Kelley: I'm glad you decided to reach out to us! How soon are you wanting to make a transition?

09-18-19 12:42:05 Visitor: November or December. I’m not on a time constraint so later than that would be ok.

09-18-19 12:43:33 Kelley: I am glad to hear this is not urgent. What is most important to you when choosing the right community?

09-18-19 12:46:24 Visitor: I like the idea of paying one amount each month to include utilities. I’m careful about money so I would like to have a regular amount to pay. I know some communities provide transportation which I like that idea.

09-18-19 12:48:11 Kelley: It sounds like you have put a lot of thought into this. That is wonderful. I think we would be a great fit for you. I would like to introduce you to one of our Admissions Counselors who can discuss all of our options with you further. I can request them to contact you directly. With that in mind, may I have your name and best contact number, please?

See how SiteStaff’s live chat service has helped senior living brands like yours grow. Download our latest case study today!

live chat senior living case study