Twenty-five years ago, a brand new way to reach friends and family was born. Part phone call, part email, and completely awesome.
Since 1992, when that first simple “Merry Christmas” text went flying across the airwaves, life as we know it has fundamentally changed. Today, more than 200,000 text messages are sent EVERY SECOND of the day in the United States alone. A staggering 97 percent of smartphone owners text on a regular basis. It’s easy to see why texting has revolutionized communication.
It is impossible to even count the number of relationships that were started (or killed off!) thanks to that basic 160-character message. These relationships include the one between you and your patients. You may be saying to yourself, “But I’m already using text.” While it is great when healthcare practices text patients, many are often failing to take full advantage the texting phenomenon.
Appointment reminders just scratch the surface of the potential texting has to create dedicated, satisfied patients. Texting is one of the easiest and most effective ways to bring a smile to the face of patients of all ages. How can you use texting to lead to super happy patients? Check out these innovative ways successful practices take advantage of texting beyond appointment reminders.
#1: Enable two-way texting
Have you ever sat through a lecture, unable to participate? As the professor drones on and on, your eyes start to glaze over and you wish the whole thing would just end already. Has your office become the boring professor? Are you talking AT your patients, but not talking WITH them? Texting was intended to start conversations, not lectures. Enable two-way texting so that your patients can send you a message when they have a question.
#2: Make it personal with birthday messages and promotions
Today’s modern patient wants to feel like more than just a number. Personalized messaging is incredibly effective at not only creating happy patients but also at attracting new ones. As Forbes put it, “Personalization is not just a nice-to-have option, but a must-have marketing strategy.” With personalized text messages, you can do just that. This can be easily accomplished by setting up text messages to wish a patient happy birthday or to share a special promotion going on.
#3: Create groups to customize messaging
Along with personalized texting, you can text customized groups. Want to send a message that is directed specifically at women over the age of 25? Have a promotion that you think will really hit home with retirees? Today’s texting features allow that to happen. The more specifically you target messages, the more effective they will be.
#4: Keep in touch with patients you haven’t seen in awhile
Everyone has those patients. You know the ones—it’s just been too long since you’ve seen them. If you call them or send an email, it’s likely that your message will be ignored. Not so with texting. Studies show that 98% of text messages are read¹. There is no quicker way to get back in touch with a patient.
#5: Offer earlier appointments to fill canceled appointments
One thing that can really hurt patient satisfaction is being forced to wait ages to get in to be seen. From the perspective of the practice, nothing is worse than appointment cancellations that don’t get filled. With text messaging, you can send out a quick message to patients to let them know an appointment has just opened. The patient loves it, and your practice keeps its schedule full. Everyone is happy.
The good news is that with today’s technology, the majority of these texting options can simply be put on auto and left to take care of themselves. This means that you can get back to work, taking advantage of those face-to-face patient opportunities while technology looks after those virtual patients. It’s a win-win for everyone!
Looking for a texting solution? Don’t miss the eBook, “7 Must Have Features for Texting Solutions.”
 SMS Marketing Wallops Email with 98% Open Rate and Only 1% Spam, Mobile Marketing Watch, 2014