A guest post – Why Live Chat is a Better Way for Dentists to Get New Patients

But before that – CB here – I’m frequently contacted by people who have products and services to sell to my clients. For over 20 years I have maintained a policy that I do not accept introducers fees or commissions – I simply broadcast and comment on good ideas.

Jonny Everett

Co-founder and Director

The Chat Shop

If you’re a dentist, you’ll probably have a loyal patient base that trusts you to care for their teeth.

Loyal patients like these are the bedrock of your practice. They guarantee you a regular flow of work.

But what happens when a loyal patient moves out of town?

The thing is, you need a steady intake of new patients. New patients replace your regular patients that have gone. Better still, new patients will help you grow your practice.

You can attract online visitors to your website and tell them about your practice. But you need more than that to convert them into actual patients.

You need to engage them.

Engagement builds trust, and as you know, patient trust is key.

Now you can display your phone number on your website and ask visitors to call. You can give them contact forms to fill in.

But I believe there’s a better way, and I’m going to share it with you.

Introducing live chat

Have you noticed that almost every website now has a live chat feature? You’re browsing away and a little box pops up with a friendly face asking if they can help you.

What amazes me is that almost no one in the dental industry uses live chat. This is true of healthcare in general.

In fact, when people come to your site looking to fix their dental problem, there’s nothing more powerful than live chat to convince them to book an appointment with you.

Visitors love live chat

The best part is that visitors love live chat. Live Chat’s recent annual report gathered data from over 13.5k companies. They found that:

  • Customer satisfaction with live chat is 86.35%
  • The number of chats for a typical company increased by 4.1%
  • Demand for live chat grew by 43.41%.

As you know, consumers do lots of research before they commit to a decision. This is doubly true in the healthcare sector. They’ve lots of questions, concerns, nagging doubts.

They need to reach out for help, but often they don’t. It can be stressful to make a phone call or fill in a form. Can they get hold of the right person? How long will it take them to get an answer?

With live chat, you can be there for your visitors at the critical point where they need your help. They don’t need to make the first move. And they can get questions answered quickly and efficiently.

How live chat can help you grow your practice

These are some of the things I love about live chat:

Live chat gets you more value from your website traffic

You invest a lot of time and money to get traffic to your website. I’m guessing you use a mixture of SEO, social media and PPC advertising.

The unfortunate reality is, most of your traffic is not going to contact you. They’re going to bounce around a bit and then leave. Possibly to check out one of your competitor’s websites.

With live chat, you’ve got a chance to engage them before they leave. After you’ve ‘spoken’ to them, you’re more than just another provider. You’re a person, a person who’s willing to listen to their problem and help them find a solution.

Live chat gives you qualified patient leads

The real beauty of live chat is that it gives you qualified leads, the leads that are most likely to become patients.

Visitors use live chat to find out more information. They want to know what you do, your level of expertise, and how you can help them.

Using live chat, you can answer your visitor’s questions. You can then go on to ask questions to your visitor to find out more about them. This allows you to verify that the visitor is one that’s right for your practice, before passing their information onto your front desk.

Live chat gives you valuable feedback

You’re always on the lookout for ways you can better serve your patients. Live chat gives you invaluable feedback on what your patients are asking for, what needs to be improved, and what needs to be changed.

Live chat saves you money and time

Live chat is much more efficient than returning phone calls or responding to emails. With live chat, there’s no need for you to employ extra staff in customer service. Live chat can deal with this much more quickly and effectively. In fact, trained live chat agents can handle three chats at the same time.

Live chat provides real time support

Visitors often come to your site with an urgent problem, say a nagging toothache. They want a solution now. Live chat can give them the answer they need right there and then. And it doesn’t have to be restricted to your office hours. Live chat can be provided 24/7 to deal with emergencies around the clock.

How to make the most out of live chat

You’ll want to use live chat to provide amazing customer service to your visitors.

These are my top tips:

Be quick

According to a survey by Econsultancy, people appreciate live chat because they get their answers answered immediately.  So be quick with your responses. Don’t leave people staring at an empty screen wondering if there’s anybody on the other end.  

Be proactive

The great thing about chat is that you don’t have to wait for a visitor to get in touch with you. You can use live chat to pop up and start the conversation. Now you don’t want live chat to appear for every visitor as soon as they visit your site.

A better approach is to target your visitors by having chat pop up on certain pages which are more likely to generate patient leads. You can also set chat to pop up when a visitor is just about to leave, so you’ve a chance to change their mind.

Be human

This is the most important one.

Visitors respond best when they get to chat with a real, live human being. Don’t use fake looking stock photos from an image library. Get your chat agents to use their real names and provide real photos.

Address your visitors by their name. It’s a great way to build rapport.

Don’t use canned responses. You want agents who can engage in real-life conversations. You don’t want robots reading from a script.

Make sure your agents chat using natural, casual language. Stiff, overly-formal language will put people off. You want your visitors to feel they’re chatting to a friend. Good agents will be able to mirror your visitors’ language to make them feel comfortable.

Should you outsource your live chat?

It can be a challenge to put people at ease when they’re looking for a dentist. It’s doubly challenging when you’re only using typed text.

Live chat is simple to do, but hard to do well.

At The Chat Shop we provide teams of trained live chat agents to our clients. We operate a rigorous training and recruitment process:

    • We only employ English speakers from the UK and USA. By using local language speakers, our agents can pick up the nuances in the chat to help build a relationship.
    • We emphasise the human touch. We choose agents who have a warm and friendly personality and can express it using just text.

 

  • We put our agents through specialised training. Using our Explore Identify Match (EIM) methodology our agents are trained to keep the conversation flowing to help visitors find the answers they’re looking for.

 

We believe power of live chat is lies not in the technology itself. It lies in the experience you’re offering.

Your website visitor is not going to remember filling in another contact form.

But having an amazing chat with someone who’s empathetic, well-informed, and dedicated to finding a solution?

They’re going to remember that.

And our clients love the results.

On average we generate 50% more leads from existing web traffic using live chat.

Jonny Everett
Co-founder, Director
T: 020 3567 1036 | M: 07825 758 957
E: jonny@thechatshop.com | @JonnyChats
 
 

 

Published by

Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.