How Can I Text All My Patients?
One common question we get when we explain that we are a communications platform that helps your practice use text to engage patients is, “How do I text all my patients?” It sounds easy, right? Instead of a mass email, send a mass text! Done!
While it would be simple if that were how it worked, do you really want to communicate with your patients in that way? We have gotten so used to the idea of marketing to mean reaching as many people all at once and as fast as possible through the platform of email that we have forgotten what it’s like to be on the receiving end of a marketing plan. It’s time to revolutionize how we think about reaching patients, changing our thinking from a “marketing to” plan to an “engaging with” plan. Why and how can we do that?
Let’s take a look at why it’s time to remove the “text all my patients”-at-once mentality and shift into a “text all my patients”-in-a-two-way-and-personalized-conversation mentality.
1. Text is not email—and that’s a good thing.
All marketing platforms are different and should be handled accordingly. Just as you wouldn’t put the same message on a billboard, where you have only moments as someone is driving by, as you would in a magazine where someone browsing might stay for a while, you need to treat each communication platform as the separate tool it is. Email is built to be sent out to your entire list at once—which is easy to do. Its ease, though, also has led to its downfall as the prime place to reach your patients. Every company and their mother can build a list and send emails to thousands of people at once, so people have become so inundated by emails that they have stopped paying attention. Studies show that less than 20% of marketing emails are opened and read. In fact, a recent Campaign Monitor report showed that an average open rate for emails was 17.92%. (1) Texts, however, are a different story. 98% of SMS (text) messages are opened, according to Gartner.(2) The lesson? Text will get the attention of your patients. However, we have to see it and use it as the medium it is—and when people text, they want it to be personal and to be able to reply. Only texts that apply to a patient’s individual situation should be sent to that patient.
2. TCPA Phone spam laws won’t allow mass texts to all.
The FTC has established rules for text messaging to protect consumers, as they should! You would not want to receive unwanted texts that don’t apply to your situation, so we are sure you wouldn’t want to send messages like this to your patients and potential patients. Your patients do want useful, helpful communications, though, so they can opt-in to receive messages from you. Then it is your job to use your messaging responsibly and in a way that is helpful to promoting good communication with your patients. A platform like Zingit can help you comply with SPAM laws and will use the proper technology to avoid being tagged as SPAM and blocked from your patients’ phones.
A word of caution: Other text messaging companies or sales representatives may encourage you to text blast your lists, but be wary of the risks and the expensive fines for running afoul of the TCPA. Unscrupulous companies or representatives typically have clever lawyers that pass this risk onto you and even have you indemnifying them for your costly litigation and fines.
3. It’s complex! If it were as simple as sending a quick text blast, we’d be out of the job!
The process of communicating with patients via text in the most effective way involves planning in accordance with appointment times, filtering by appointment type, and being prepared to respond to any messages you receive back, in addition to many other factors. But you don’t have to sweat it—Zingit integrates with your Practice Management Software to automate messaging, understand and recall patients who have gone dormant, and send appropriately timed appointment reminders. Zingit includes robust tools to ensure that you are always texting all of your patients, but you are doing it on an individual, personalized basis and you are prepared to engage with them in 2-way conversation as you go.
4. Good communication is personalized.
A text blast that is sent to a group of people would be immediately recognized for what it is and disregarded or worse, make a person angry. With texts, you want to be hyper-personal and also hyper-relevant, or you risk being a nuisance. You also want to allow for a person to respond—what’s less personal than “replying C” to some robot that is asking you if you are coming tomorrow? The typical appointment reminder that is included with your PMS is likely robotic to receive and does not allow for responses. But what happens when life happens to your patients and they are running late, or get busy and miss several appointments, or any number of normal things that keep them from your practice despite their best intentions? A good text sent at the right time and with the right information can help patients keep appointments, reschedule, and be recalled when they have gone dormant. You shouldn’t have the goal to “text all my patients”—you want to text each patient right when they need it in the situation they are in. No one wants to be talked at—they want to be a part of a conversation. Let Zingit help you initiate with a text and make it easy to keep the conversation going until the patient makes their happy way into your practice.
5. Build a culture of engagement—patients will thank you!
Gone are the days of traditional advertising that “talks at,” and here are the days of building relationships with potential patients and current patients using communication that “talks with.” Your staff will thank you for freeing up their time, since they will be free of the voicemail phone-tag game. Texting will be faster for staff and patients, and you will be reaching patients where they want to be reached. Not only will you be more likely to help patients remember appointments, reschedule, or be recalled, but they will appreciate the ease of communication. And happy patients mean good online reviews (which Zingit can also help cultivate), but also you will get the best thank you of all, as happy patients are more likely to make personalized recommendations to family and friends. Two-way communication leads to two-way benefits!
The Takeaway on Texting All Your Patients
If it sounds like a lot of effort to contact each patient via text, especially if you have a large practice, give Zingit a try. Our robust program will not only make it systematic and natural, but it will help you scale your practice for growth. Interested in learning the answer to your pressing question: “How can I text all my patients?” Schedule a demo to see how you can do it individually, personally, and the engaging Zingit way.