Digitisation is one of the most disruptive transformations affecting the healthcare industry today. Its presence can be felt everywhere from the touch screen sign-in points at your local GP to the world’s biggest players in tech branching into the industry. At healthcare marketing agency Medico digital, we’ve seen a number of these digital trends rapidly adopted across healthcare websites of all sizes in the past 12 months. None have had a more valuable, tangible effect on enquiry increases and client satisfaction than live chat. Read on to find out what live chat is and why it is so effective for the healthcare industry.
Why do patients want Live Chat?
Healthcare Communications studied 2,000 NHS patients and found that 68 percent wanted to manage appointment bookings via their smartphone or online, and 72 percent actively wanted to receive digital alerts about last-minute appointment availability. This clear and growing preference for digital engagement methods is underpinning the crucial role live chat has been playing in client engagement for the healthcare industry.
What can Live Chat for healthcare do?
Most online users are now familiar with customer agent chat boxes which appear when browsing a website, offering the chance to ask an immediate question rather than browse for an answer. These agents can be human or digital bots using advanced machine learning capabilities. In both cases, they provide immediate answers and help guide the customer to that all-important appointment booking or enquiry form.
The benefits of Live Chat on your site
1. It meets customer needs
Ubisend’s research shows that 51 percent of customers expect businesses to be available 24/7 and that 52 percent will buy again from a business that offers live chat as a facility. Your clients already know about the technology, and they want to use it on your website. It’s the highest-rated customer service channel, meaning your online visitors will get a great service any time. And it’s even sweeter when managed with The Chat Shop’s 99% customer satisfaction rates and live chat quality assurance programme.
2. Conversion rate optimisation
Live chat offers lead qualification by understanding where patients sit in their patient journey and providing the immediate information and brand experience needed to discourage a bounce to a competitor site. It’s more than a simple tech tool. When done right, live chat won’t just engage visitors; it’ll convert and delight them. Online appointment bookings can increase by more than 50 percent when live chat for healthcare managed by The Chat Shop is introduced.
3. Improved user experience and a competitive customer experience
79 percent of website users say that they prefer the immediacy of live chat for their customer service. By providing an instant, open and first contact point for sensitive health concerns, healthcare providers can demonstrate 'trusted expert' status and their brand values when used correctly. When powered by the right people and driven by the right data, live chat for healthcare can also guide users through complex product databases or hospital treatments, filtering out unnecessary searches and optimising the online journey.
4. Customer insight
By gathering data, the live chat offers powerful customer insight through providing personalised experiences. This information can be fed back into your business and used to develop a better understanding of your clients and website visitors, whilst bringing sales, marketing and operational functional leads together to progress joint-working initiatives and deliver better customer booking experiences.
5. Staff training and knowledge building
The identification of the most common patient queries can assist with staff training, refining internal methods to better suit the customer. The more your visitors chat, the more data you can gather. The more data you gather, the better you can serve your customers by delivering the message they want.
Managed live chat offerings such as The Chat Shop’s come with a custom-built knowledge base of answers to your most frequently asked questions and important information your clients need to break down barriers to conversion. As your live chat knowledge base grows, so does the speed and efficiency with which patients’ questions can be answered. You can effectively have an expert on all areas of your business, on demand 24/7 to answer your clients’ and prospective patients’ questions.
6. Cost savings
Live chat rapidly filters out customers who are looking for a different service at the first possible opportunity. Virgin Atlantic has found that an online live chat agent can handle the work traditionally carried out by 15 customer service agents! It’s a lean, mean, patient-booking machine when powered correctly.
7. Ease of adoption and agility
Live chat is cost-effective for businesses, customisable, and easy to 'plug in' to existing websites, with the service managed by a third-party specialist.
The multiple opportunities for better engagement, conversions, brand experience and internal business gains is clear for healthcare providers that successfully implement live chat. As a cost-effective digital service, it can be adopted for rapid gains by healthcare providers of all sizes, not just large companies with bottomless marketing budgets!
Increase patient bookings. Generate 50% more online bookings with industry-leading customer satisfaction rates and see an average return on investment between 8-23x.
See what live chat for healthcare can do for your practice.
Oliver Capel is a multi-channel digital marketing consultant, specialising in healthcare. He is also the director and co-founder of Medico Digital, a specialist digital agency for the healthcare sector. Ollie's healthcare background started within the business development team of a leading UK private healthcare provider during a record period of growth for the group. In 2015, Ollie left his role and founded Medico Digital, primarily to help consultants in private practice develop their online presence. Medico Digital has become one of the UK's fastest growing healthcare marketing agencies and now works with national and international healthcare brands, supporting them with their transitions to digital and ensuring a return on their marketing investment.