Healthcare Service Provider’s Guide to Live Chat and AI Chatbots


The Healthcare Service Provider’s Guide to Live Chat and AI Chatbots

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Chapter 3

Live Chat Best Practices

Despite healthcare’s utilitarian nature – people will always need quality care – patient expectations are rising based on their experiences in other sectors. Consumer experience is the new brand; tech-savvy consumers are far more likely to compare the service and support they get from a healthcare provider to the service and support they get elsewhere. Healthcare providers are no longer just competing with others in the healthcare industry, they’re being compared to every experience that their customer has ever had – from paying a phone bill online to ordering food on a delivery app.

Pair those rising expectations with tighter budgets and outdated systems pushed to capacity, and you’ve got an industry sorely in need of digital disruption. The place to start? Live chat, because it’s fast, direct, convenient, and cost-effective.

Live chat is a must for any healthcare provider. Those that aren’t using it are already behind, while those that are can still step up their game.

The following live chat benchmarks – derived from usage data for Comm100 customers in 2018 – can help you see how your business stacks up. They’re split into different team sizes to provide a more personalized picture of current service standards by business size.

Use these benchmarks and the best practices that follow to help you shape your live chat strategy.

Patient Satisfaction

The key to increasing live chat satisfaction is personalization. Healthcare providers need to see live chat as more than just a messaging channel; it’s a platform for timely, direct, and genuine communication.

With intelligent routing and segmentation features, chat can easily connect consumers to the right department without the need for an IVR maze. When you’re setting up segmentation and routing, consider these factors:

  • Routing by geography (Region, country, city, )
  • Routing by language (English, French, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Deutsch, Spanish, )
  • Routing by interaction history (New visitor, returning visitor, VIP visitor, )
  • Routing by department (Cardiovascular, Otolaryngology, Physio,)

Keep in mind none of these are mutually exclusive. Healthcare providers can personalize their conversations and address specific needs with all these parameters, or a combination of them all.

Sending consumers to the right department the first time and cutting out the need to manually enter numbers will result in a quicker, much more personalized experience.

According to CCW’s latest Disruptive Technology Report, low wait times are one of the top signs of a great consumer experience.

This is a metric where live chat could potentially have the most impact on your business, but only when done right. As discussed above, chat concurrency is a unique feature that phone simply does not have. While agents can only take phone calls one at a time, they can take as many concurrent chats as they can handle.

The phrase to keep in mind here is “as many concurrent chats as they can handle”. When starting off, we recommend a maximum of three concurrent chats until you have a sense of individual capacity. Trying to push your agents too far, too fast may reduce wait times in the short term but could be detrimental to your first chat resolution (FCR) rate and client satisfaction scores in the long term.

After you understand your team’s capacity for concurrent chats, keep in mind these factors:

  • Staff your agents well to be prepared for the peaks and valleys of chat volume. Phone call volume and website traffic are good ways to predict when more live chat agents will be
  • If your agents are overloaded with FAQs, consider adding a chatbot to free up your agents to handle more complex questions and cut wait times while keeping overhead low
  • There are other ways to help your agents, such as canned messages, knowledge bases, and artificial intelligence that reads incoming messages and gathers suggested responses from available resources

Average Chats per Month

Your standard for average chats per month can and will differ depending on your use case. If you’re using live chat for pure FAQ deflection, your best bet is to add a chatbot to your consumer experience strategy.

More often than not, when a healthcare provider deploys live chat the number of inquiries from other channels often does not go down. This is mainly because live chat taps into an audience that never would have picked up the phone  in the first place. Offering live chat as a channel provides access to a brand-new audience that providers were not able to reach before, creating opportunities for expansion and growth.

Chats on Mobile

With the rising popularity of on-the-go telemedicine applications like Babylon, mobile chat is a fundamental part of a successful consumer experience strategy and should not be ignored when deploying live chat.

With mobile, consumers can take control of their own health from the convenience of a smartphone, with access to round-the-clock healthcare support.

A few instances of when using mobile chat is more convenient than going to a clinic in person:

  • Booking an appointment with a doctor
  • Accessing doctor consultation notes and videos for quick reference and/or sharing
  • Managing prescription details and preferred pharmacy for easy prescription pick up
  • Requesting referrals for diagnostic tests or specialists when needed

When rolling out mobile chat, keep in mind that the chat button and window will behave differently on mobile versus desktop. Healthcare providers should take care to ensure all these elements are designed accordingly or they risk providing frustrating and negative experiences.

Chats on Mobile

Case Study - Viata

Industry: Pharmaceutical Retail


The Challenge

Viata recognized that the key to success for an online pharmacy is in building customer trust and providing visitors with quality, real-time support. They needed a tool that could scale with their business as they grew and deliver exceptional, multi-language online customer service across Europe.

The Solution

Thanks to live chat, Viata has greatly improved how they deliver customer care, earning the status of market leader in their industry. For them, chat helps make every interaction – from search to checkout – a great experience. For Viata’s customers, quality customer service is only a click away.

By the numbers

  • Sales conversion rate of 20% from live chat
  • Visitors that chat with agents are 3 times more likely to convert than those who don’t
  • Visitors that initiate the chat are 5 times more likely to convert

“Our mission is to exceed the typical pharmacy experience. Live chat was a condition to start working towards that mission and be a better pharmacy than what customers are accustomed to. Our strategy is to have very personalized communication with our customers, so we set up our chat to enable customers to pick and choose who they want to talk anytime they visit our site. In our industry, context is important to building trust when talking about health-related concerns.”

Gianni De Gaspari
Co-founder, Viata

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