Live Chat vs. Chatbots for Dental Practices

June 27, 2022
January 26, 2024
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What is live chat?

A live chat is a chat application that is hosted over the internet. Users can chat with others from anywhere in the world in real time. It is a powerful tool for businesses, especially healthcare businesses.

It is important to integrate rising technology with business to make the most out of your budget. The action overlooking the integration of technology into your practice will result in a decline in your conversion and retention. And that is why you should think of using live chat or chatbots for your dental practice.

Live Chat Statistics

  • Demographics between the ages of 18 to 49 years olds prefer live chat.
  • 73% of customers prefer to use live chat as a means of communication with companies.
  • 20% of millennials like using live chat.
  • 60% of customers will make a purchase after a live chat conversation.

With statistics such as these, it is hard to ignore the impact live chat or chatbots can bring to your business. This technological shift has allowed businesses to connect with a broader demographic of customers.

Additionally, chats are popular with millennials and gen-z. Almost all of them opt-in for communications through chats instead of calls or emails.

Advantages of live chat

1. Helps improve the communication experience for the customer:

The problem with emails is that your customer will have to wait for a while to get a response. Additionally, emails have a good chance of getting lost in the inbox, drowned by other emails. Phone calls are a no-go, due to the time and call transfers to different representatives. However, with live chats, your customer can ask an inquiry and receive a response promptly.

2. Personalization of the interaction with customers

Live chats are between two people talking via an application, which means a customer is conversing with a company representative.

Now, this does two things. One, it creates a human experience and personalizes the company to the customer. Two, the representative is tailoring the interaction with the customer, so the live chat is personalized. That lets the representative build a rapport with the customer and convert them into a patient.

Disadvantages of live chat

1. Too much work during peak hours:

Unfortunately, your representative will not have the same amount of work throughout the day. There will be times when there are no customers to help. And sometimes there will be too many customers online.

You can try to predict the workload for a specific time. It is near impossible to accurately pin the workload. So during peak time, your representative will have their work cut out for them.

2. Trolls and unwanted messages:

Since most of the live chat conversations will be anonymous (unless the user logs in), you will receive several messages from trolls. Most of this trolling is done out of boredom and is not harmful. However, your representative should be careful not to disclose private information such as name, contact details, social media handles, and addresses.

What is a chatbot?

A chatbot is a computer program or software that “converses” with a customer to provide information. It is typically used over the internet. And it is an AI-based application. There are text and voice interactions available in chatbots that make them easy to use.

Advantages of chatbot

1. Scope of around-the-clock support for your patients:

Even with two or three cyclic shifts, it is difficult for representatives to cater to all customers. Even with multiple ongoing chats, work at peak time is too much, even for an experienced worker. You do not need to worry about your representatives being overworked.

Additionally, chatbots can work 24 hours, all 7 days of the week.

2. Boosts customer acquisition rates and eases onboarding:

Chatbots have many advantages. Prompt answers, relevant information, convenience, and so much more.

Over these, there is one adventure more, and that is the cherry on top. The customer does not have to wait for a representative to be available. So they can inquire at any time of the day and get a prompt response.

Disadvantages of chatbot

1. Does not work for all demographics:

While chatting is a preferred method of communication among millennials and gen-z. It is not popular among the older generations.

Additionally, some demographics can't or won't use chatbots due to disabilities. So you will need an additional channel to reach these demographics.

2. Implementation time can be a problem:

Chatbots are AI-based applications. Hence, it will take them for your chatbots to be 100% operational across your platforms. It will take time for your chatbot to understand its objective and learn how to respond. Although the chatbot might not take months to become operational, this time between setup and result is worth nothing.

Live chat vs chatbot

There is no one solution to your live chat or chatbot debate. You should not choose one because it worked out for another company or because someone told you to. Which option you choose should depend on factors that affect you.

A few factors would include:

  • Budget/cost-efficiency
  • Requirements
  • Audience size and demographic
  • Implementation time
  • Response speed
  • Languages

It is a huge part of deciding whether to go for the live chat or chatbots.

Now that you have your advantages and disadvantages, you should be able to choose your own. A great way to decide is to try out both options on a small scale if the arguments are not helping you decide.

You can also choose to employ both of them. There are a few areas that either can not cover. However, with both options, your customers can choose which they are most comfortable with. You do not lose out on any demographics.

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