6 Reasons You Need Patient Chat in Your Optometry Practice

Consumers these days are pressed for time and are focused on convenience. One way you can meet consumer expectation is to use 2-way texting for communication. Here are 6 reasons you need patient chat in your optometry practice.

1. It’s the preferred method of communication for many

Six billion SMS (short message service) messages are sent every day in the United States, according to Forrester Research, and over 2.2 trillion are sent a year. Messaging is the new channel of choice, according to Twilio research, which states 89% of consumers want to use messaging to communicate with a business.

2. It’s less intrusive than a phone call

Nielsen research shows that Americans text at least twice as much as they call, on average. It’s easy for people to glance at a new message while in a meeting or watching a Netflix marathon when a phone call would normally be ignored.

3. It’s more immediate than an email

Do you want your patients to show up on time for their appointment, or just when they get around to it? That can be the difference between sending a text message vs an email. In fact, according to Mobile Marketing Watch text messages have a 98% open rate, while email has only a 22% open rate. Text messages rarely go unnoticed or unanswered and are the ideal medium for reaching patients in a timely manner.

4. It’s a better customer experience

Forrester Research indicates that 77% of customers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service. Rather than call in and be put on hold if a staff member is with a patient, patients could just text in their inquiry and go about their day. With more patient conversations happening over chat, it also frees up the phone for tasks that really need that live call.

5. It makes you stand out

A common theme among new competitors arising in the market is their use of digital technology to transform an entire industry (think Amazon, Uber, and Airbnb). The optometry industry is seeing its own slew of startup disrupters and in order to survive, independent practitioners need to pivot quickly in order to adapt to new consumer expectations. Eye care practices that can meet these new expectations stand out from the pack and make patients happy. Happy patients are more likely to leave good reviews and spread the word to their family & friends.

6. It adds a personal touch

Patient chat can supplement an automated messaging system by allowing you to have 1 on 1 conversation. If your practice is using something like Prime Nexus for automated appointment reminders and other notices, doesn’t it make sense to allow patients to reply directly to that reminder? It’s also the best venue for emojis like these:

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What is the difference between chat and text?

Chatting and texting are frequently used interchangeably but there is a difference. Texts are sent via SMS, which stands for Short Message Service. It is a universal technology for exchanging short text messages between a fixed line or mobile phone devices. Chat is done through an OTT (or Over the Top) application like iMessage, WeChat, Hangouts or Facebook Messenger and does NOT require a cellular connection, but instead uses an internet connection.

With our new Prime Nexus Patient Chat feature, you’ll be adding an OTT application to your office computer which will translate your chat messages into text messages. This combines the immediacy of texting with the accessibility of a central chat application and allows for 2-way texting from a computer to a mobile device. No need for patients to download another app!

>> Learn more about Prime Nexus Patient Chat


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