Solutionreach recently hosted a series of webinars where we presented top ten lists to help make your life easier—everything from how to use the Solutionreach Community, to navigating office turnover and the best features you should be using in your PRM software. Don’t worry if you missed them, you can check them out here.
We believe you can never have too much of a good thing, so we decided to put together one more top ten list. This one is all about how to make a two-way texting solution work for your practice. The majority of your patients would prefer to hear from you and connect with you through text, so if you aren’t offering this option, you could be missing out on some potential patients and revenue. Count down with us as we cover the ten tips to make texting work for your practice.
- Customize Your Hold Message
Most practices have a prerecorded message that plays when patients call before a staff member picks up or when they are placed on hold. This is a great place to let your patients know they can text your practice. Most patients would rather text you than talk on the phone, so if they hear this option in the prerecorded message, they might just hang up and text your practice instead. But even if they wait through your hold message, they’ll at least know for next time and will be more likely to choose the texting option.
- Update Your Website
Most of your new patients are coming from an online search. In fact, 66 percent of patients are searching online before they choose a new provider. So make it obvious on your home page that any patient, new or current, can text your practice instead of calling. Sometimes that phone call to schedule an appointment or ask about insurance is just one more hassle for patients looking for a new provider. Let them know right from the start how easy it is to connect with you through text.
- Make an Announcement
If a texting option is new for your practice, you might need to remind your patients a few times before it sticks. The best way to do that is to include a short sentence or two in all the communication you’re already sending—like newsletters and emails. It’s also a good idea to post an occasional announcement on your social media channels. It can be as simple as a quick sentence reminding them of how easy it is to reach your practice with questions or concerns.
- Develop a Process
Once your patients are aware they can text your practice, you’ll need to have a process in place for your staff to ensure that incoming texts aren’t overlooked. Depending on the size of your practice, it might be easiest if a specific person is responsible for reading all incoming texts and responding or flagging them for follow-up by a coworker. Another procedure that has worked for practices is archiving messages after they have been taken care of. This not only insures all messages receive a response, but also that patients only receive one reply, and not a reply from every member of your staff. Making sure your team members know who is responsible for responding to incoming texts will keep things running smoothly in your office.
- Text Your Patients First
Don’t wait for your patients to reach out to you, start the conversation and text them first. It can be a simple text, such as, “Have a question but don’t have time for a phone call? No problem, just text us!” This lets your patients know they can text you about anything, not just to confirm appointments after they’ve received a reminder.
- Talk About It
Just like you want to make sure you let patients know about the texting option on social media and through your written communication, you should also let patients know when they are in the office. When patients are checking in, completing paperwork, or speaking with a staff member, your team can let them know they can text your practice instead of calling you. If you have time, you can even give patients a short demonstration to show them how easy it is.
- Send a Thank You
Texting isn’t just a great way for your patients to connect with you, it’s also a way you can connect with your patients. Sending a text after a new patient’s first appointment to thank them for choosing you can go a long way in building their loyalty and ensuring they keep coming back.
- Follow Up After an Appointment
Sometimes appointments are rough—a patient needed a painful procedure, or you had to deliver an unexpected diagnosis. Texting patients the next day to check on them and let them know your staff is available to answer questions can make a difficult appointment a little better for your patients and show them how much you care.
- Text About Payments
Nobody likes to talk about payments, but it’s a topic that often needs to be discussed. Sending a text to a patient letting them know they have a balance due, or that your billing department needs to speak with them tends to get better results than a phone call your patients likely won’t answer. It’s quicker for both your patients and your staff.
- Make Changes
The last tip to implementing texting into your practice is to make it work for you. Texting is supposed to make your life easier, not create more work for your team. So give it a try for a few weeks, then schedule a meeting to discuss the processes and results with your staff. If something isn’t working, change it. You can also connect with your peers on discussion boards and get tips about how they get the most out of their texting solution.
Interested in learning more about texting your patients? Check out this free guide 'What's Next with Text.'