In a service based industry such as dentistry it can often be very difficult for a patient to evaluate your services, one of the key ways they do this is by your RESPONSIVENESS. [SERVQUAL Parasuraman et al 1988].
Logic would suggest that if a patient wants to contact you they will phone or e-mail however, this is not always the case. Having run live chat for the past few months on the websites of 15 dental practices I can report that:
- Patients often ask questions relating to the practice location/address (one would think that they could simply look at a map).
- Patients want to request an appointment but feel more reassured when they do this live with someone via chat.
- Patients want to know the price of various dental treatments, even though they are clearly displayed on the website.
- Patients just find a live chat more comforting than sending an e-mail as they know that the message has been answered immediately.
Having a live chat facility engenders a considerable amount of trust towards your practice and reduces risk, I strongly suggest you set this facility up.
Setting up live chat
Setting up live chat comes in three simple stages:
- Create a free account on tawk.to
- Design your chat widget
- Add the widget code to your website or send to your designers
Stay signed in to Tawk.to and you will receive live chat as they come in from the website
It really is that simple, there is even an Android and iPhone app.
Go give it a try, it’s free!
And yes, I appreciate that it might be difficult to manage this front of house… So if you’d like to run a website chat facility on your own dental practice website, give me a call/email and we can talk about managing this for you at very little cost.
Examples of REAL LIFE conversations
Here follows a couple real life transcripts, notice how often the patient is asking about prices, if one just simply answered with the price the conversation will probably be over, engaging the patient in conversation helps them understand your services and engenders trust.
The interesting thing is that this patient was asking about prices and yet was on the fees page of the practice website when they initiated the chat.
- [16:36] XXXXXXXX: Name : XXXXXXXX
- [16:36] Mark – Patient Support has joined the conversation
- [16:36] Mark – Patient Support: hi XXXXXXXX, how may I help?
- [16:37] XXXXXXXX: Hello, ow much are incognito braces roughly?
- [16:37] Mark – Patient Support: I need a little bit more information… What is it that appeals to you about incognito braces?
- [16:38] XXXXXXXX: Im 22 and last couple years top and bottom teeth have become over crouded and gone out of shape and im too old to wear traditionall braces
- [16:41] Mark – Patient Support: okay, I see, that is very helpful to know. There are actually a few options which might be able to help, invisible braces could also work and possibly dental bonding or veneers on only a few teeth. This could bring the price down dramatically. I’m not able to discuss full pricing on this chat facility as every price is bespoke for each patient as we like to treat each individual in a tailored way. I can arrange for a free consultation, with no obligation if you would like one?
- [16:43] XXXXXXXX: So your saying instead of braces it could be possible to target individual teeth? And where abouts in XXXXXX are you based?
- [16:44] Mark – Patient Support: yes, it is often possible to target individual teeth, without actually seeing you it’s impossible to say whether this is an option though 🙂 this is our full address XXXXXX
- [16:44] XXXXXXXX: Do you offer finance?
- [16:44] Mark – Patient Support: yes, we are able to arrange finance 🙂
- [16:45] XXXXXXXX: Could you book me an appointment? Please
- [16:45] Mark – Patient Support: certainly, I just need some information from you, your phone and e-mail address
- [16:46] XXXXXXXX: XXXXXXXX@live.co.uk. 075 XXXXXX
- [16:48] Mark – Patient Support: brilliant, thank you, is there a best day and time for you to be seen?
- [16:49] XXXXXXXX: I usually work shifts so im tuesdays or thursdays
- [16:49] Mark – Patient Support: is there any time of day that works better for you?
- [16:50] XXXXXXXX: Early as possible please.
- [16:51] Mark – Patient Support: okay, wonderful thank you so much. I have sent all of your details through to the reception team who are now checking their appointment diary, they will be in contact with you very shortly. Is there anything else I can help you with today?
- [16:51] XXXXXXXX: No thank you, you’ve been very helfull.
- [16:52] Mark – Patient Support: wonderful, have a good afternoon/evening
- [16:52] Mark – Patient Support has left the conversation
In this following example it could be argued that the patient could simply pick up the phone, however as you can see patients often like to chat with someone live via the website.
- [09:54] V14: Hello, I recently moved to the area (and away from my family dentist!) and I am not the best patient… but I think it is about time to quit being a coward and get a new dentist.
- [09:55] Mark – Patient Support has joined the conversation
- [09:55] Mark – Patient Support: hi there, welcome on chat, may I take your name please?
- [09:55] V14: XXXXXXX
- [09:56] Mark – Patient Support: XXXXXXX, we can certainly help with this, whereabouts do you live?
- [09:56] V14: XXXXXXX XXXXXXX XXXXXXX XXXXXXX XXXXXXX
- [09:57] Mark – Patient Support: OK, you are just around the corner from us, would you like me to arrange an initial consultation for you?
- [09:58] V14: Yes please
- [09:58] Mark – Patient Support: please may I take a phone number and e-mail address for you
- [09:58] V14: XXXXXXX – XXXXXXX @me.com
- [09:58] Mark – Patient Support: is there a better day and time for you to come?
- [10:00] V14: On my way home would be appreciated… maybe a 17:00 appointment on any weekday but Wednesday?
- [10:00] Mark – Patient Support: okay, one quick question, how did you hear about us?
- [10:01] V14: I walk passed your surgery each day!
- [10:01] Mark – Patient Support: lovely, thank you, XXXXXXX. I have passed all of your information on to our reception team, I don’t have full access to the appointment book at my location, they will contact you directly. Is there anything else I can help you with today?
- [10:02] V14: No thanks! G’bye
- [10:02] Mark – Patient Support: thank you, have a good day
- [10:02] Mark – Patient Support has left the conversation