Chatbots: the name itself conveys the idea they’re only useful for one thing - chatting.
However, that is far from the truth.
The scope of what chatbots are capable of isn’t limited to just answering questions. Chatbots offer endless opportunities and we’ve seen health systems strategically implement them to support a variety of business objectives.
Defining a Strategy
First, it’s important to define a strategy to support your overall business objectives. Simply implementing a chatbot platform onto your website doesn’t guarantee success. There should be a plan in place beforehand, otherwise, it will be like throwing a dart blindfolded and expecting to hit a bullseye. Ask yourself how a chatbot helps accomplish your business objectives and strategically use them to support that goal.
Here are a few questions to consider:
- Where are the points of friction on your website?
- How do you improve operational efficiencies?
- Do you need a better way to get your message out?
- Are you always available to help patients find care?
- Are there better ways to generate leads?
With a strategy in place, let’s see how some of our health system partners have implemented chatbots to support their business objectives.
5 Chatbot Strategies for Healthcare
1. Alleviate Points of Friction
Even the best-designed websites can be confusing. Most visitors arrive for a specific purpose and when they can’t find what they’re looking for it can be frustrating and could cause them to abandon the website altogether. That’s not a positive online consumer experience.
If there’s a specific business goal to improve the digital experience on a website, or a specific page of a website, then chatbots can make navigation easy. Visitors can type exactly what they’re searching for and arrive there without having to click around searching for the right page.
One health system implemented a chatbot specifically on their maternity and delivery section of their website. Pregnancy and delivery are stressful enough, but the chatbot helped expecting mothers and patients navigate the website efficiently so they could focus on more pressing matters. The chatbot also alleviated calls to the contact center by addressing questions commonly asked questions, that are sometimes difficult to find quickly.
2. Improve Contact Center Efficiency
Contact centers are oftentimes plagued with simple frequently asked questions that take agents away from answering revenue-generating phone calls. Instead of spending time on the phone answering these questions, why not let a chatbot do it? It frees up valuable resources and the live chat feature allows agents to speak with multiple customers at once, instead of one at a time.
Reduce Hold Times
Looking to alleviate billing wait times to their contact center, one health system used their chatbot to address simple FAQs that can tie up the phone lines. By implementing their chatbot on the specific page listing the service, it reduced the number of queries into the contact center by addressing questions online. This helped decrease hold times by 85% and allowed agents to handle multiple customers at once.
3. Amplify Messaging
Healthcare is a serious business. If patients don’t receive important updates it could have a wide range of negative repercussions - the worst being an impact to their health. Chatbots allow you to amplify a message and ensure all site visitors receive important announcements and updates that could impact their healthcare journey.
Urgent News and Alerts
When a contract with a major insurance provider ends it’s critical to notify patients as soon as possible. Otherwise, patients risk not being able to afford the care they need. Fortunately, this health system was easily able to update their chatbot messaging to automatically notify website visitors of the change. Within a month, the chatbot handled hundreds of inquiries and alleviated phone call volumes to the contact center and helped patients find answers.
4. Customized Care Mapping
We’re more connected than ever. That means when patients have questions they expect answers, regardless of the time of day. However, not all contact centers operate 24/7, which creates a challenge for health systems who want to always be available to patients and consumers. Additionally, with the multitude of care options available like primary care, urgent care, and virtual visits, patients don’t always know which option is best for them. Fortunately, chatbots can point them in the right direction, no matter if it’s late at night or the middle of the afternoon.
Access & Convenience
Chatbots offer 24/7 access to patients regardless of the time of day, and that’s one of the ways health systems use the platform. When patients have questions, chatbots direct patients to the best care option based on their proximity to the healthcare provider. Chatbots even direct patients to the specific service lines such as Primary Care and Urgent Care depending on the type of treatment required.
5. Lead Generation
Conversions and lead generation are the ticket to growing a health system and acquiring new patients. With the development of digital voice and chatbot assistants, healthcare providers now have another marketing tool to aid in that effort. Whether it’s to promote an easier way to book appointments or encourage consumers to sign up for a newsletter, chatbots can effectively promote growth and new patient acquisition.
Engagement and Conversion
Recognizing that consumers are more willing to book an appointment online than over the phone, one health system used their chatbot to promote online scheduling through the platform. The chatbot not only increased conversions and appointment rates, but it also benefited the contact center by alleviating phone calls. Additionally, health systems have used chatbots to promote consumer and community engagement with sign-ups to a newsletter for expecting mothers, new onsite wellness classes, or fundraiser events in the area.
Endless Possibilities, One Solution
Used strategically, chatbot platforms offer health systems a solution to countless business challenges. Whether it’s to create frictionless website experience, improve contact center efficiency, or help better understand consumer intent, chatbots will continue to serve as a key component in any health system’s digital marketing strategy.