When you start a text communications plan for your practice, you are reaching patients where they want to be reached, and where they are most likely to see your messages. But do your texts strike a tone that will go over well with patients, ultimately making your communications engaging and effective? When you are texting patients, it should never be thoughtless—after all, your texting tone will drive a patient’s image of your practice whenever the patient is not physically at the office. It’s time to stop seeing the text as a tool for sending out messages, and instead, see it as an opportunity for conversation that builds on the relationship patients have with your practice.
So what tone should you strike when texting patients? After years of experience helping chiropractic, dental, and other healthcare practices communicate with their patients in an engaging way, we’ve boiled down the tone all texts should take to 3 easy tips (and an easy way to remember them!).
When texting patients, we like to spear them—SPEAR. Short. Personal. Expecting A Reply.
When it comes to texting patients, consider how you yourself like to receive texts. No one likes a novel to scroll through. Everyone’s time is precious and valuable, and, in modern culture, everyone is always busy. Not to mention, we live in a time of information overload. So keeping it short will do a few things:
- Make it more likely for people to read what you send.
- Help people to understand quickly and easily what you want out of the message.
- Help your patients realize you value their time.
So take whatever you hope to say, and say it in the least amount of words possible. Cut the fat.
Whether you see it this way or not, your text communications are part of your overall relationship with your patients. It is a way you communicate, which means it is one way you are establishing your brand. Patients will see if you are using a simple auto message that hasn’t been given thought—and they will pick up an image of your practice as dry and thoughtless because of it. On the other hand, if you have thought it through and approach patient text communications as a thoughtful conversation, your patients will feel cared for, comfortable, and a sense of relationship with your practice. In addition, only send messages that apply to that patient and where they are on their patient journey. A new patient can be sent a testimonial. An established patient can be sent a thank you for their continued visits. And you can always match the tone of what you send with the overall tone of your practice.
3. Expecting A Reply.
Nothing is more dry or machine-like for patients than feeling talked at. A lot of practices we encounter use auto-messages that come with practice management software. These messages send appointment reminders, but don’t allow replies back—or if a patient does reply, it comes through to the office email, and someone has to log in to see the reply—it is a clunky way to communicate that often results in missed conversation opportunities. Instead, use a system that allows 2-way conversations so someone from the practice can see responses and get into a conversation immediately. And if you do this, your initial messages can expect a reply to get that conversation going. But this engagement isn’t about sending a message and expecting a patient to do something. It’s about sending a message that starts a conversation and leads to an outcome you desire.
So what does this look like in practice? It looks a lot like the texts you send and receive from friends. You do this all the time—with friends, you start a conversation with a go-to: “What’s up, bro?” When you engage patients, use the same tone! Here are some examples you might use in different situations:
- A patient visits your website: “How can we help?”
- A patient misses an appointment: “Are you okay?” Patients have issues that cause them to miss appointments—that is a part of life. If you make this contact, they can respond, and you can immediately get them rescheduled.
- A patient had an appointment: “How did we do?” Ask for feedback and build up your reviews.
- A patient goes dormant: “It’s been a while…how are you?” Start a reactivation or recall the conversation.
You are likely starting to see that texting patient is about communicating and engaging. Texting, as a tool, allows you to have a conversation, build a relationship with patients, and keep them coming back to the practice for more.
Zingit Solutions are set up to help you naturally engage patients through texts. Interested in seeing more about what Zingit can do for your practice?