Like the Phoenix, the chatbot rose a couple of years ago from the ashes of Google’s war on popups. Long before the frames that appear five seconds after you land on a website offering to send you the latest news, chatbots made their appearance in the corner of the screen. At first quiet and unobtrusive, they have now become much more evident on most sites.
What Are Chatbots?
Chatbots are programmable tools built into a web page that enables healthcare websites to respond to users’ questions and comments based on the keywords they input. They typically run on platforms such as Facebook’s Messenger, Twitter, WeChat and others, although there are sophisticated, custom-built platforms available, too. The bots provide pre-scripted answers to common questions and use machine learning to adjust their answers according to the progression of the conversation.
Usage in Healthcare Marketing
Bots have a remarkable value in marketing effectively to healthcare clients, simply because they are the first point of contact between a prospective consumer and a provider. It makes no difference where users are located, what type of device they are using, or what their levels of internet literacy are—they can find what they want simply by asking the bot. There’s no longer a need to spend wasted minutes searching or scrolling through content to find specific information.
As Good as Human Help
The bots offer almost the same value as having a human standing by to help users navigate the website, and although their primary purpose is to benefit the company, they also provide a helpful service for clients. Advanced bots are powered by artificial intelligence that enables them to understand complex requests, customize responses and improve communications over time.
According to April 2017 statistics from Facebook, around two billion instant messages travel back and forth between individuals and businesses every month. More than half of internet users would rather use a messaging platform than call customer service by phone, and 53% prefer to purchase from companies they can message online. Based on these stats, healthcare companies that avoid using chatbots in their marketing strategy are potentially missing out on a very large audience.
The benefits of using chatbots centers around the way they automate conversations across a healthcare organization. This results in:
- Reduced time and costs. By automating processes that would require an employee to handle, companies save time and money that can be allocated elsewhere.
- Lead qualification. By identifying what visitors are looking for when they arrive on a site, the chatbot qualifies leads based on IP addresses and determines what information to display.
- Better outcomes for users by asking qualifying questions that enable the bot to route them to the best place to get the info they want.
- After-hours support and quick answers in emergencies, so users don’t have to wait. Data shows customers expect a response in 0-4 hours, but brands take 10 hours to reply to after-hours queries.
- Increased engagement with users, in a fun, interactive fashion.
For more information on incorporating chatbots into your healthcare marketing, call Wax Custom Communications at 305-350-5700 or visit waxcom.com.
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