There are three major trends these days: people prefer to message (and not call), automation, and artificial intelligence. Facebook Messenger Chatbots stands at the confluence of these three trends.
As conversational marketing becomes more mainstream, the usage of chatbots by businesses and professionals is expected to grow. Facebook Messenger chatbots can be extremely useful for dentists and dental clinics and should be made a part of your dental marketing arsenal.
Please note, If you’re practising in the United States don’t use Chatbots extensively for patient interactions because it’s not HIPAA Compliant.
This article is a practical guide to Facebook Messenger Chatbots for Dental Clinics and covers what are these, why one should use them, what problems can they solve and how to set them up for your dental clinic!
What is a Facebook Messenger Chatbot?
It is an automated software-based on Facebook messenger that can interact with your potential and current patients on your behalf. Based on its design, it can solve simple to complex problems, automate mundane daily interactions etc for your clinic.
They sit on your Facebook Business Page and can be called for in multiple ways.
Patients today want not just high-quality dental treatments but A-class experiences as well. You may be great at your clinical work but being available and promptly answering queries is still one of the best things you can do to give your patients a stellar experience.
In a busy dental practice, a dentist rarely gets a chance to do this often. Here’s where chatbots can chip in and solve problems They keep your support channel online even when you’re not (thanks to automation and artificial intelligence).
The best part about this equation is that setting up a chatbot still is quite inexpensive and very few people are using it for their dental marketing.
According to Business Insider, messaging apps have now become more significant than social networks. People use them for communicating, and they are great tools for small businesses like dental clinics.
Types of Chatbots
These are simple chatbots designed to follow specific rules. These are suitable for answering simple questions, and most Facebook Messenger Chatbots fall in this category.
E.g., opening and closing hours of the clinic, consultation fees, links to an Instagram page or a youtube channel, or asking for directions to your clinic.
These are more advanced, interactive chabots and are used to solve more complicated marketing challenges.
A great example is HDFC Eva Chatbot. If you’re an HDFC Bank customer, you must be knowing about this advanced chatbot, which does many functions other than simple ones.
Benefits of a Facebook Messenger Chatbot
It makes you always available
Your clinic needs new patients coming in daily. If new interactions are always dependent on one person, they are bound to be delayed. A bot makes you always available.
According to research, 68% of customers will choose your competitor if they think you don’t care (delayed response is one big turn-off!). A quick response is a great way to ensure that people who discover your clinic online end up booking appointments quickly.
Saves “human” time
They can automate mundane, repeated interactions like FAQs, consultation charges, doctor timings or questions like “Do you offer Dental X-rays?” etc. They save human hours because if not a chatbot, there has to be someone answering these queries for hte patients in person.
While you can always put these questions in the FAQs section of your clinic website, it is always prudent to provide people answers to these questions in the chat sequence itself. This way they don’t have to leave the chat interface (facebook messenger) and get all the information.
If you’re looking for a simple chatbot, you can make one for free. If you’re not very tech-savvy, or do not have the time you can hire a professional online on websites like Upwork and Fiverr at a very low price point.
Effective means of communication (compared to Email marketing)
These chatbots can be used to broadcast information to your patients or leads in a single click (pretty much like Whatsapp Broadcasts). We can also use email marketing for the same but an important point is the open rate.
Classically, E-Mail Marketing has seen the highest open rates of 20-40% these days while Chatbots can give open rates as high as 80-90%.
People are less likely to open their email inbox daily compared to their messenger inbox. E-Mail marketing is expensive (around $1000 yearly fee if you choose a reputed service provider) and you need a professional to setup the lead forms, automations etc.
In fact, People are 3.5 times more likely to open their Facebook messenger rather than a marketing email in their inbox!
Practical Applications of Chatbots for your Dental Clinic?
Generate Leads (enquiries) and prequalify them:
The enquiries that are generated from your marketing campaigns (Google Ads, Facebook Ads and other channels) can be redirected to your chatbot (instead of your phone).
This way you can pre-qualify the leads based on their specific treatment related requirements even before they have actually had a word with you.
Eg: You can segregate enquiries based on whether they have had a consultation before, or whether they are looking for a specific treatment option etc. You can design your chatbot to ask any number of questions and seek answers before confirming them their appointment. All of this happens with zero human intervention.
Help them select a relevant service:
Patients can select from a list of services being offered and be asked questions specific to the chosen service.
Eg: if someone selections “Consultation” from the service list, he may be asked questions like whether this is their first consultation or a follow up consultation. There is no limit to the chat sequences that can be developed in similar fashion.
Patients can book, reschedule or cancel appointments without calling your office. This can be done with an integration of your facebook messenger chatbot with scheduling plug-ins like Calendly.
All information is processed automatically and email confirmations are sent to both parties instantly.
If you want patients to download and view your resources, like a check-list of things they need to do after they get their extraction done, or simple post-restoration instructions.. You may ask them to download it via your chatbot!
Automate your follow-ups:
Every patient requires some follow up after a few weeks. Though you can manually call them once in a while but chatbots can make this task seamless.
Messages can be sent to the patients asking for their welfare and requesting them to book a follow-up appointment using chat sequences.
If you’re a course instructor as well and organise webinars, chatbots can be an additional tool for you.
People can browse through your course catalogue online, can select and register for webinars through the chatbot. The chatbot can integrate with email marketing tools and can send registration confirmation information to the attendees.
After you’re done with someone’s treatment, you can send them messages that help them post feedback.
Chatbots can integrate with various feedback collection tools to make this process automatic.
Grow your Audience:
Chatbots are great for nurturing your audience. They can help you broadcast messages, updates related to your practice, your social media activities etc to your “list”.
Every person who interacts with your chatbot can potentially be added to the list and nurtured over sometime, till they convert into a patient!
Integrate with Facebook Ads:
Chatbots can be directly integrated with facebook advertisements. This is a very potent marketing tool because people who are targeted through Facebook Ads can then directly interact with your chatbot.
If used with a well planned Facebook Ads Strategy, Facebook Messenger Chatbots can make sure that you are never free inside your operatory!
4-Step Process to build your own Facebook Messenger Chatbot
Step 1: Identify the Pawn(s)
Identify the biggest problem of your business related to prospective clients or existing customers. Enlist all the things that you want the chatbot to do for you.
Doing this gives you a clarity on designing of the chat sequences.
Common areas where chatbots can help are patient service (answering common questions, managing appointments. and collecting feedback), sales/marketing and lead generation.
Step 2: Look for Repetitive Actions
Check the communication that’s currently happening between you (or your receptionist) and your patients. Identify things that are being repeated over and over again.
These repititive actions can be automated using chatbots.
Step 3: Build your bot!
- It doesn’t require much effort and time.
- It’s easy to use and often includes built-in templates.
- There is zero to minimal coding required, and it usually takes less than an hour to setup.
- It solves most problems.
Choose a platform that offers chatbot and live chat both. This way, if the customer’s query is unresolvable by the bot, you can take care of it manually.
Tips for effective chatbot setup:
- Simplicity: Keep things simple, and design your bot messages to be short and to the point. Use emojis, images, videos, and GIFs to make the text interactive and exciting. While people will know that they are interacting with a “software”, they should also feel the human element of it.. so make it interactive, interesting and fun!
- Transparency: Transparency is the key. The customer should know that they are interacting with a bot. Also, when you request their personal information (during appointment booking), make sure to emphasize that their information is safe with you.
- Personalization: “Hi, Rohan!” is better than a drab, “Hi!!!!”. Personalization makes the conversation friendly.
- Independence: Give your audience an option to stop or unsubscribe from updates (usually by typing STOP or NO)
- Continuous Learning: Keep learning from your mistakes and keep your bot updated based on your learnings.
Step 4: Integrate
Absorb the chatbot into your marketing armamentarium. Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Whatsapp Status, Google My Business etc can be funnelled to your chatbot for filtering of leads, getting appointments/calls, and building your list.
Here are few useful resources I found on the internet. I suggest you check them out. Please note that I have no financial affiliations with them and any decision that you take on their website is entirely your responsibility.
Chatbots for the Healthcare Industry by Chatfuel
- Chatbots are an opportunity: If you look closely, a lot of your competitors might not be using it effectively.
- They have already started changing our business, and after this Covid era is over, they would be even more indispensable.
In this article, I have explained the basics of chatbots, why they should be used, and the related aspects. Identify a business problem, choose a chatbot software, and start building a bot for your clinic. I also took you through the simple four-step process to design and set up your first bot. I have also included a few additional resources and suggested reading resources to broaden your knowledge on this subject.
I hope you found this helpful. Do share it with others and help us spread the word!
I keep updating this article based on the new things that I learn. If you feel something’s missing here, feel free to email me about the same.