There’s no doubt that chatbots are the latest technology to change the way we do business. With their many benefits, chatbots solve workplace issues regarding productivity and customer satisfaction.
For dental practices, chatbots dramatically reduce the workload and pressure of administration staff. That’s because they complete the simple but mundane tasks that, if added up, take up the majority of an admin staff member’s workday. While tasks such as answering a phone call to cancel a dental appointment seem quick and easy, the truth is that these small jobs interrupt employees who could otherwise be putting more time and effort into their larger jobs.
First, let’s outline exactly what chatbots are. Powered by artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots carry out conversations with customers through messaging apps or websites. Rather than speaking to a staff member, chatbots handle the communication for you. They can be integrated on the home page of your website, as well as just about any messaging app, including Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
In terms of productivity and convenience, chatbots are beneficial to both staff and patients. In fact, an increase in productivity has a direct impact on the profits of the practice.
Here are 5 practical functions that chatbots can do for your dental practice.
1. Book Appointments
Possibly the most common reason admin staff answer the phone every day is to book appointments for patients. Chatbots make this process significantly easier by being more efficient and convenient.
Not only can the chatbot interpret customer details, but it also displays the dentist’s calendar straight away. This is especially convenient for determining what date and time both the patient and dentist are available.
This function can also reduce waiting time at the reception desk when the patient attends the appointment. That’s because chatbots have the ability to send QR codes for patients to scan when they arrive.
2. Reschedule Appointments
Patients with regular dental visits know that you should book your appointments at least a month prior. Dentists are very busy so it’s necessary to confirm a vacancy with them well in advance. However, sometimes things come up and you have to reschedule.
Rescheduling appointments is a breeze for chatbots in messaging apps. Firstly, chatbots already know your details from the profile you use to message them. Secondly, they’re intelligent enough to remember your previous conversations if need be. In fact, chatbots are designed to be just as personalised and natural as human beings.
Rescheduling appointments through chatbots mean that there’s less waiting time than trying to call the dental practice, and it can also be done after work hours.
3. Automatic Reminders for Appointments
Most dental practices have already set up an automatic SMS service to remind patients of their appointment the day before. However, chatbots take this function one step further. Whenever they need to, patients can simply ask the chatbot when their appointment is, and it will reply immediately. This is due to two reasons. Firstly, the chatbot won’t waste time asking who the appointment is for, as it already knows the patient’s details. Secondly, artificial intelligence can generate a response instantly, whereas an employee would have to manually check their database.
Chatbots can also communicate additional information such as a map and directions to the practice. This is especially useful for patients who are new to your practice.
4. Convenient and Safe Payments
Chatbots allow patients to store their credit or debit card detail and check their dental bills or balances whenever they need to. Patients can organise automatic recurring payments, or simply ask to pay their bills through the chatbots, without having to visit the practice or organise payments over the phone. This is a significantly quicker method.
Additionally, patients don’t need to worry about the security of their bank details. Like all technology nowadays, chatbots must abide by strict rules and regulations to protect the privacy and safety of a patient’s personal banking details.
5. Send Surveys to Patients after Appointments
I can’t emphasise enough how beneficial it is for your business to ask for feedback or referrals. Often people hesitate to ask, but the truth is, customers are more than happy to recommend you to their friends and families or publish positive feedback on social media if they like your services. Simply asking for feedback is the best way to get positive reviews, which you can publish online to attract more patients.
Chatbots keep track of patient’s appointments, which means they can be programmed to automatically send a message asking for the patient to rate the service or give quick feedback. This solves a problem that would have otherwise been neglected and benefits the business by allowing them to improve both their performance and lead generation.