Live Chat: A Conversational Marketing Solution for Dentists

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The Connect the Doc Team
June 14, 2023
min. read

Many dental marketing strategies are designed and implemented to improve patient retention, patient satisfaction, and conversion rates. One thing these three metrics/goals have in common is that they measure how engaged your patients are with your dental practice—and there’s no better way to boost patient engagement than using Live Chat. 

In this article, we will discuss what Live Chat really is, the conversational marketing solutions that currently exist, and introduce you to the Live Chat tool that is best suited for dentists. 

What is Live Chat?

Live Chat is a tool that allows patients to have conversations with you or your dental team via the website. Your prospective and active patients can use this tool when they visit your website. They can make inquiries about your practice and services or simply use it to navigate your website. 

Since Live Chat involves having conversations, it is widely considered a conversational marketing solution. At its core, conservational marketing is any marketing that talks or interacts directly with customers or patients. This is typically done using Live Chat, Chatbots, Voice Assistants, and conversational AI tools. 

The goal of conversational marketing is to engage your patients’ interests in your practice and encourage them to learn more about what you do. It can save you time otherwise spent having preliminary conversations with patients over email or phone calls. On the other hand, it helps patients get quick answers to their most pressing questions about your practice. It’s a win-win. 

 You may be wondering how effective this strategy is, and that’s fair. Studies show that you can boost your conversion rate by 45% using a conversational marketing tool like Live Chat. You can win 70% more qualified patient leads using conversational marketing. And keeping patients satisfaction in mind, Salesforce reports that 71% of customers, or patients, expect businesses to communicate with them in real-time. 

These statistics highlight the importance and value of conversational marketing tools and strategies. If you want to see better conversions via your dental website, you should consider investing in a conversational marketing solution. The next section of this article will discuss three common conversational marketing solutions every dentist needs to know. 

3 Common Conversational Marketing Solutions

There are three common conversation marketing solutions available to dentists today. Each of these solutions has its pros and cons, so it’s important that you consider how they impact your work and productivity. 

1. Manual Live Chat

Live Chat is a tool that sits on your dental website and is managed by your staff. When a prospective patient visits your website and engages in a chat, you or your team are notified via email or text. If you have time on your hands, you can then decide to take on the conversation.

This solution is excellent if you assign a staff member dedicated to taking on conversations with visitors. It's also great if you provide services that are a tad complicated or technical that prospective patients tend to have many questions about them. If you have a big dental practice—one that gets busy often—this might not be a great option for you. 

2. Call Center-Managed Live Chat

Like the manual Live Chat, a call center-managed Live Chat solution is a website chatbot that requires human involvement. A human has to respond to the chat, but instead of you or your team doing so, you outsource that responsibility to a call center or third-party agency.  

Typically, the call center agents will have a repository of common questions and answers. This guides the way they respond to patients’ inquiries. The agent’s job is to provide patients with the best answer while simultaneously qualifying the prospective patient and collecting their contact information. 

The benefit of a call center-managed Live Chat is that the response time tends to be relatively quick. More so, visitors may appreciate the fact that they are speaking directly to a human. However, given that the agents do not directly work with you at your practice, they may be available to address all patients’ concerns. Sometimes, they may have to refer them to you, and this could be frustrating for patients. 

More so, you might end up footing a hefty bill with this solution since you’ll charge a fee either per call, per lead, or per month. It also incentivizes the agents to focus solely on collecting contact information, and the agents, depending on who you get, may be a bit pushy trying to get patients’ details. This can leave a poor impression of your dental practice on your prospective patients. 

3. AI-Powered Live Chat

The third conversational marketing solution you should know is AI-powered Live Chat. Think robots that can handle conversations.  

These tools also live on your dental website. Some use neurolinguistic programming and natural language processing to analyze patients’ questions and provide the best answers. Others use simple workflow mechanisms to capture patients’ information. In most cases, the simpler the workflow, the higher probability of success. 

Having the robot "learn" about your practice requires a LOT of upfront work on inputting questions and answers. And sometimes, the robot simply does not understand the question. 

For example, a patient may ask, “What is Better Invisalign or Braces?” and the robot may respond with “We offer Invisalign and Braces.” Unfortunately, you’re constantly tweaking and updating your questions and answers; the robot will not get smarter. So, this can still be a great option, but it just takes a lot of teaching before the solution makes sense.

The Best Live Chat Solution for Dentists

As you can tell, there are some considerable disadvantages to using any of the aforementioned solutions. After researching these solutions, our team at Connect the Doc was still not happy with these options. So, we engineered a Live Chat tool that addresses some of the primary concerns from above—and we called it: Walter. 

"Walter" is a combination of robot and human elements. We created specific workflows and chat maps that take the prospective patients down the path of engaging with the bot and providing their contact information so they can be followed up with. 

But what makes this Live Chat unique and best suited for your dental practice is that your staff can jump into the conversation. So, if a patient asks a question like “does your practice do all on 4 dental implants?” and your staff see this conversation unfold in real-time, they can easily jump into the conversation and take it over. 

Nine times out of ten, the robot handles the chat with a very simple workflow, but for the high dollar value patient leads that pop up, you do have the flexibility to take it over.

In addition to giving you the much-needed flexibility to engage with your prospective patients depending on the nature of their inquiries, Walter also lets you continue the conversation, on-the-go, over SMS text messaging. 

Conservational marketing is an opportunity for dentists to engage with prospective patients better and in real-time. It can have a tremendous, positive impact on your patient acquisition efforts and boost your patients’ satisfaction. You should consider incorporating a conversational marketing solution like Walter into your dental marketing strategy to boost your chances of winning more qualified patient leads. 

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