Mar 16, 2023

Just Text Me: 5 Ways SMS Can Enhance Patient Satisfaction

The use of SMS communication at your clinic is more powerful than you may realize. Not only do texts bolster an impressively high response rate (8x higher than email), they also receive quicker responses. Studies have shown that 90% of text messages are opened and read within 3 minutes of receiving them. Numbers like that demonstrate how effective they can be for managing the flow of information between your clinic and your patients.

With the advent of Uber, Door Dash, and Amazon’s same-day delivery service, society is growing increasingly accustomed to receiving immediate gratification. And our communication habits don’t appear to be immune to this trend. In a recent study conducted by Accenture, a Global IT and Consulting company whose clients include the likes of Dell, SalesForce, and IBM, over 60% of patients surveyed said receiving fast responses from their service provider is essential to their overall satisfaction.

Over 60% of patients surveyed said receiving fast responses from their service provider is essential to their overall satisfaction. 

With this in mind and with texting being one of the fastest ways to communicate, we present 5 ways to start using SMS communication to enhance your patients’ satisfaction:

  1. Send post-appointment follow-ups: The same study by Accenture found that 70% of patients prefer clinics that use email and SMS for preventative and follow-up care. Following an appointment, sending a text with a link to your patient portal or a reminder to book their next appointment not only shows that you’re committed to your patient's well-being but also helps with patient retention. Learn more about setting up automated texts.
  2. Offer two-way texting: Here’s a scenario for you, you’re running late and are rushing out the door. Theoretically, are you more likely to call, potentially wait on hold and say you’re running late or send a quick text? With two-way texting, patients can skip the phone call and contact you via text.
  3. Automate appointment reminders: Emails get buried and people forget things, it happens. SMS not only offers another convenient way to remind patients of their appointments, but it can also supplement an email reminder and help reduce no-shows.
  4. Reduce call volume: Enabling patients to text your clinic also helps those patients that still prefer to call you. You’ll reduce your practice's call volume and as a result, have shorter hold times for those who do call. Less time on the phone means your front desk staff has more time to assist patients in-house.
  5. Automate birthday greetings: It may seem like a small gesture, but little gestures add up when building and maintaining relationships with your patients. Sending out a personalized, automated “Happy Birthday” text is simple to set up and helps reinforce the fact you care about your patient's well-being and you’re appreciative of their business.

Implementing SMS communication has far-reaching benefits. Properly utilizing SMS will not only improve your patient's experience but assist in many other areas of your practice. In many cases, treatment is a long-term commitment, so remember to give your patients immediate gratification once in a while.

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