How Healthcare Chatbot Automation Can Increase Patient Retention


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Healthcare chatbot automation can help your company improve on a number of critical KPIs, including patient retention. How? By reducing call center wait times, increasing patient satisfaction by getting information quickly and easily, proactively reminding patients of appointments or available services, and more.

Accomplishing all of this is much more attainable within your ability and budget than you may think. By selecting the right BPO partner, you can implement messaging automation solutions guaranteed to improve your customer service and take your healthcare operations to the next level.

OutPLEX Has the Communication Solutions You Need

Whether you are looking to use healthcare chatbot automation for the first time or overhaul your existing messaging automation system, OutPLEX is here to help. We offer a full range of CX solutions, including voice services, back-office support, messaging, and automation. We can help you select and program the software technologies best suited for you and your patients.

Chatbot automation is becoming increasingly more valuable; however, it should not be the only way you interact with patients. Chatbots work best when used in concert with:

  • Digital messaging: If a query is too complex for the automation to solve, a seamless transfer to SMS text or another messaging app, such as WhatsApp, allows a human agent to take over and resolve the request.
  • Call centers: For complicated problems, or situations where someone may not be physically able to message, those patients will appreciate the ability to speak with a live agent.
  • Interactive voice response: IVR makes it easy for a caller to explain what they need and have the system immediately direct them to the right department without waiting in a queue for initial filtering. Also, IVR can often answer FAQs without needing to transfer to a live agent, eliminating bottlenecks. 

To learn more about these services and others, contact us at any time for a free quote.

There are Many Benefits of Utilizing Healthcare Chatbot Automation

The Conversocial State of CX Trends Report 2021 analyzes customers’ views and feelings about automated customer service solutions. When asked about chatbots, their replies indicated that:

  • Poor chatbot interactions are common: 54% of respondents said they have had a “bad bot experience when talking to a brand.”
  • Customers want to use chatbots: Nearly 60% of customers said they were comfortable with bot-driven interactions. Nearly 70% said they would be willing to use a bot if it led to a better customer service experience.
  • Customer preference for chatbots is growing: The report notes that the figures cited above increased over the prior year, indicating a growing appreciation and preference for chatbots and other digital forms of communication.

Despite bad experiences, customers are still willing and even eager to use a chatbot—but only if it can provide a better, more convenient experience than traditional communication channels. OutPLEX can work with you to program a chatbot that:

  • Responds to your customers’ needs: We use your past interactions with customers to “teach” the chatbot how to respond to standard queries and issues.
  • Is intuitive to use: Interacting with a chatbot should be as easy as texting a friend. The simpler and more effective the chatbot is, the more likely it is that your patients will use it.
  • Works with your preexisting systems: We strive to integrate new and old software in order to maximize your current investments and minimize your spend on new technologies.
  • We maintain for you: If you ever encounter an issue, our tech support department works quickly to get it corrected.
  • Resolves problems efficiently: Ideally, a chatbot should solve a patient’s concern on the first try. When this is not possible, the chatbot should redirect patients to other sources (for instance, a live agent) who can provide further support.

By providing your patients with a chatbot that addresses their needs quickly and easily, you can increase patient retention and satisfaction.

Can Chatbots Really Help My Patients?

It may seem counterintuitive to turn to automation when you want to give your patients a better, more responsive customer service experience. However, chatbot automation is now at the point where it can often provide patients with even greater value than a human being. For example, chatbots can be:

  • Faster: Patients can interact with a chatbot as soon as they realize they have an issue rather than having to locate the proper phone number and sit through holds and rerouting. Chatbots tap into a robust knowledge base and use that information to provide instantaneous answers faster than a human could even type them. 
  • More convenient: Chatbots can be placed in clear, easy-to-access locations on your website, both desktop and mobile. They are not subject to regular working hours and can be accessed at any time.
  • Easy to use: If programmed correctly, using a chatbot should be as simple as clicking a few buttons and typing or dictating a few sentences.

It is important to balance technical solutions with what Forbes calls “the human touch.” Chatbots, like every other communication channel, have their strengths and weaknesses. The strengths—speed, convenience, and ease of use—make chatbots ideal for handling straightforward or common queries, such as:

  • Basic, non-emergency health questions
  • Directions to a healthcare facility
  • Hours of operation
  • Appointment confirmations

Even the chatbot’s main weakness—the inability to solve more complex problems—can be mitigated by programming the bot to:

  • Identify a patient’s problem quickly
  • Direct the patient to other digital or online resources that may help them
  • Make it easy for the patient to contact a live agent if necessary

How Healthcare Chatbot Automation Works

You do not need an in-depth understanding of how chatbot automation works to recognize its value and use it to its fullest potential. This overview will only cover the most basic steps for creating and maintaining an effective chatbot. OutPLEX can assist you with each of these steps and provide further information on how they can help you meet your patient retention goals.

First, Make the Chatbot Accessible

This does not mean simply placing the chatbot in an obvious spot on your webpage. As the Bureau of Internet Accessibility explains, it is crucial to make chatbots accessible for blind, hard of hearing, and otherwise disabled users. This is especially relevant in the healthcare field, where patients may be struggling with challenging health issues and do not have the patience or energy to deal with inaccessible technology.

Next, Allow Your Chatbot to Learn

Even before your chatbot goes live, our team will program it to respond to customers’ messages based on your previous business-to-customer communications. The more customers interact with the chatbot, the more data we (and the chatbot) have to work with. This means the chatbot will become even more effective as time goes on and the knowledge base expands.

Then, Program the Chatbot with Useful Replies

An efficient chatbot can immediately identify the patient’s intent for contact using keywords and phrases. The chatbot can then offer potential solutions or sources (e.g., a webpage that is pertinent to the patient’s query) until the patient indicates they are satisfied.

Alternatively, the chatbot must be able to recognize when it cannot solve a particular issue. In such cases, we can program it to direct the patient to other channels, such as:

  • A voice agent
  • SMS texting
  • A messaging app

Ideally, the chatbot will either automatically transition to the new channel (i.e., an agent stepping in to start responding in lieu of the bot) or provide a phone number or link to these alternate channels. This way, it is easy for the patient to move to the next step, and they are less likely to abandon the interaction.

Finally, Reprogram as Necessary

Technology and customer preferences can grow and change. What works today may not be as efficient or desirable a few years down the road. In addition, your company’s goals may shift over time, requiring different chatbot capabilities.

OutPLEX understands the ongoing need to adapt and grow. We are always ready to reevaluate your chatbot’s programming and execute both quick fixes and complete overhauls as necessary.

Get a Free Quote from OutPLEX Today

OutPLEX offers a wide range of communication services, including healthcare chatbot automation, to fulfill all of your healthcare business’s needs. Our solutions can help you increase patient retention by making it easier for customers to get the answers they need. Call us today for a free quote.

Learn more about our Healthcare & Medical CX Solutions.