Your practice probably gets a lot of text messages with the same types of questions. When is your office open? How do I get to your office? It’s my first appointment with this provider, is there paperwork I need to complete beforehand?
It can be tiring to type out the same answer over and over. Before text messages became the most preferred way to communicate, patients still had a lot of these questions, they just called your office instead of texting. Your practice had the option to personalize your ring-back and hold messages, so you could communicate the answers to the most common questions you receive before even picking up the phone. When patients called your office, they would get a list of your practice’s hours, directions to get to your practice, special parking instructions, or any other information you thought was important.
With more patients texting, your practice is likely getting fewer phone calls—which can save your practice a lot of time. But since patients aren’t calling, they also aren’t hearing the answers to the most asked questions, so these questions are being asked even more frequently. With a text conversation, you don’t have the option of a prerecorded voice message, and typing the same information each time someone asks for it can be time-consuming.
But with the right texting solution, you can create templated text responses to store the answers to frequently asked questions so your staff won’t have to waste time with repetitive information. Instead of typing answers to common questions every time someone asks, you can write it out once and save it into your patient relationship management (PRM) software. Then when a patient sends a text asking one of those questions, any member of your staff can quickly choose the appropriate templated response, and reply to the patient.
Not only does this option save time, it also reduces the chance for errors. We’ve all been in a hurry at some point, and sent a text message with errors. Whether it was a simple typo (Our office opens at 8 a.m. instead of 9 a.m.) or just incorrect information (Turn right at the stoplight instead of turn left at the stoplight), these mistakes usually end in the same result: a confused and frustrated patient. With a templated text message, you don’t have to worry about these mistakes. You create the message once, ensure the information is accurate, and use it over and over again.
These templates can be used in your practice in a variety of ways. You can create messages containing your practice’s address, office hours, directions to your practice or parking instructions, the link to new patient forms, or the link to schedule an appointment online. The answer to any question patients tend to ask multiple times can be easily turned into a template.
Templates don’t just have to be answers to patients’ questions, they can also contain information you frequently send patients. Messages letting them know their lab results are available, their glasses or contacts are ready, or requesting an online review are all texts your staff likely already sends, and could easily be crafted into a templated text message. Your office is busy, and any extra time is helpful. Reducing the amount of time spent answering repetitive questions can add up, and allow your practice to focus more on your patients who are already in the office.
For other must-have features when choosing a texting solution for your practice, download our checklist here.