When adopting a platform to text appointment reminders and other important information to your patients, you have a choice. You can go with messages sent from a short code — that five or six digit nonsensical stream of numbers that looks like it was generated at random. (Spoiler Alert: It was.) Or, you can take your game up a notch in terms of the patient experience and have those texts sent directly from your practice's landline phone number.
You might be thinking that using a short code has worked for you in the past, so what’s the problem? Well, a short code isn’t necessarily bad, it just isn’t the best option. Those five or six digits in your short code don’t have any relation to your practice, they were picked randomly and assigned to you. Your patients don’t know your short code from the one their pharmacy uses to let them know their prescription is ready. Moreover, short codes are generally associated with automated messages, not the personalized texts your practice wants to be sending.
Still not convinced that texting from your existing practice landline is better than using a short code? Here are a few more nuggets that might help you see the light:
You won't look like a spammer.
Even if you're texting a patient for a totally legitimate reason (which of course you are), any text that's delivered to a patient from a five-digit short code looks like spam. It just does. In a time where patients are thirsting for deeper connections with their healthcare providers, the spammy short code approach isn't a good look for your practice.
Every text is a branding opportunity.
You spend a lot of time (or pay someone to spend a lot of time) fine-tuning your website to make sure you're making a great first impression for patients. You focus on getting amazing reviews from your current patients. You rock it out on social media. Yet if we look at where you'll connect with patients most often outside of their visits, it's these seemingly-simple texts. Text-enable your phone number to give these touches the same attention you give your website, your reviews, and every other practice marketing element.
It doesn’t take anything extra.
In fact, it takes less effort than you are already putting in. Instead of listing two numbers on your website, one to call and a short code text, how much easier would it be to just give one phone number and let patients know they can call or text it. Including this on every email you send, and every conversation have with patients doesn’t take any extra time, but it lets your patients know they only need to remember one phone number to connect with you — no matter which method they prefer.
Because you CAN.
That's huge because this wasn't always the case. Everything you've read to this point about why you need to text-enable your phone number should make total sense, but in the past, you didn't have the opportunity to do it. It wasn't even an option. It now is and it doesn't cost extra to add another branding element to your patient communication and prevent yourself from potentially looking like a spammer.
Check out even more info on why texting is such a big deal in this slideshow: