By Jonathan Bryant on Apr 8, 2020 7:57:00 AM
Live chat is growing by leaps and bounds across all industries, and medicine is among the top users. According to Comm100, the healthcare industry has the highest live chat satisfaction rates, with 93 percent of visitors expressing satisfaction with live chat. For medical practices, specifically, live chat can take the burden of dozens or even hundreds of daily calls from patients off doctors and staff by answering them quickly online. With the right mix of skilled chat hosts, online hours, and analytics, live chat can take your practice to the next level.
Live chat is an open line of communications 24/7:
Keeping a medical practice open 24/7 is not realistic or healthy for physicians and staff. But with live chat, every medical practice can have a free line of communications available to website visitors during the hours best suited for that practice. Visitors get prompt, knowledgeable answers and explanations from trained chat hosts and practices get new patients.
The value of live chat grows exponentially during crises like the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic when practices have closed down but patients and visitors still need questions answered. Live chat hosts can help by providing information from the practice and helping to lessen unnecessary fears.
Live chat builds trust and relationships:
Medical practices are almost always stretched for time, but live chat can take up the slack by interacting with prospective patients online. This interaction, done right, will help to build trust and relationships before new patients ever enter the office. In fact, according to Techjury, those companies that offer live chat as a communication option are perceived to be 41 percent more trustworthy than those that don’t.
Live chat is live people, not chatbots:
Real human interaction with dedicated, trained chat hosts — not chatbots — is preferred by consumers. According to the acquire.io blog, “Chatbot vs. Live Chat: Which is Winning the Customer Service Game and Why?,” Econsultancy reported that 79% of consumers say “they prefer live chat because they don't have to wait on hold and get their questions answered immediately.”
Live chat humans offer empathy:
With the possible exceptions of R2 D2 and C-3PO, bots cannot assess the need for empathy and understanding and, in turn, give it to live chat visitors. Empathy is a uniquely human feeling which is defined by Merriam-Webster as “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.” Few if any businesses need to be empathetic more than those in healthcare so, having expert and empathetic chat hosts representing a practice means happier patients. Read more about empathy in live chat in our blog, “The Human Touch: How Empathetic marketing Helps Plastic Surgeons.”
Live chat is HIPAA compliant:
Compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, commonly known as HIPAA, is a mandatory part of effective and lawful medical care. This is also true for the live chat service they choose. Knowing that patient and visitor personal health information is as secure and protected by a live chat provider as it is by a practice, is key to success. Our blog, “Is Live Chat HIPAA Compliant?” takes an in-depth look at HIPAA compliance with live chat and what to know before choosing a live chat provider.
Live chat increases visitor-to-patient conversion rates:
According to the 99firms.com blog, “Live Chat Statistics: Trends and Insights for 2020,” “Live chat has the highest consumer satisfaction rate at 92%,” so it’s no surprise that live chat conversion rates are also great. In the blog, 99firms.com notes that “Chatters are 85% more likely to convert into customers” than non-chatters, and “Another noteworthy fact is that every message increases the likelihood of turning visitors into customers. Only one message over live chat increases conversion odds by 50%. Two messages increase those chances by 100%. The power chat functionalities have in terms of conversions is visible the most when users exchange six messages with a chat operator. In these instances, the chances of visitors turning into customers jump by 250%, which is truly fascinating.”
Medical practices of all types can make live chat work for them, their patients, and their bottom line with little effort.