Why Client Text Messaging Is Better Than Chatbots for Home Care Agencies

When to use artificial intelligence and when to use the power of immediate human connection

Text messaging can make it easier for a variety of busy clients to contact your home care agency.

When your clients need to discuss the health and safety of their family members, it’s important that they can contact your home care agency quickly and easily. Even more important is their ability to talk to a real person who can help.

But what if those clients aren’t able to send an email or make a phone call? Do you give them the option of texting your agency?

Client text messaging lets you improve the client service process while maintaining the human connection your clients deserve.

What is client text messaging?

Client text messaging is just what it sounds like: a client is able to send a text message to a real person at your home health care agency who is ready to respond in real time. This might be a customer service representative or a home healthcare professional.

Chatting with clients via text lets them initiate conversations with your home care agency quickly from their phone or desktop browser.

Why text messaging for home care clients?

So, why is text messaging a worthwhile investment? Because consumers overwhelmingly prefer human interaction to chatbot interaction when it comes to solving customer service problems.

According to HubSpot, 81% of consumers say that for large customer service issues, they prefer human interaction to chatbots, and 77% say the same for small issues too.

Chatbots are a popular tool for customer service, inside and outside the home care field, but they don’t always meet your clients’ needs. For example, when a client needs help finding a new caregiver for a parent, or a potential client needs help determining if in-home care is the right choice for their family, talking to a chatbot can feel cold and impersonal.

It’s in these moments you need the personal touch only a human can provide.

Chatbots powered by artificial intelligence (AI) can play a role in customer service, but it should be only part of your client services suite, and never your only point of contact.

Chatbots vs. text messaging: what’s the difference?

Both chatbots and text messaging can connect clients to your agency, but there are some things chatbots cannot replicate, and some ways your clients may not feel comfortable interacting with AI.

There are two ways you can connect with clients and prospective clients via text:

  • Text messaging: Connecting clients with a real human through a traditional text message conversation
  • Chatbots: Connecting clients with a chatbot powered by artificial intelligence that mimics human conversation

When to use client text messaging

Client text messaging is best for addressing client needs that require emotional intelligence and nuanced problem-solving skills. For example, filing complaints, raising concerns, or asking for help that’s not so straightforward.

Client text messaging is ideal for:

  • Handling private or sensitive information
  • Introducing prospective clients to the services you provide and fielding their questions
  • Helping clients evaluate what kinds of in-home care services are best for their family
  • Providing updates on client health in real time
  • Troubleshooting billing
  • Offering your clients one more avenue to engage with you when they have a concern

When to use AI-powered chats

Chatbots powered by artificial intelligence do have their place. When you need to answer clients’ basic questions or help them perform basic actions, like scheduling a call or requesting a callback outside of business hours, chatbots can help you do that at low cost.

However, they can be very impersonal and actually damage meaningful connection with current or potential clients, so proceed thoughtfully.

AI-powered chatbots are best reserved for:

  • Handling basic administrative tasks, like providing contact information or schedule availability, to onboard clients more quickly
  • Completing basic client intake forms (though sensitive information should be handled by a human in a secure digital environment)
  • Scheduling informational calls or requesting a callback
  • Collecting feedback or requesting that clients complete a survey

Chatbots can serve as a backup to client text messaging when agency staff isn’t available. For example, if clients need to contact you outside of regular business hours, you can give them the option of interacting with a chatbot or, say, sending an email.

Is client text messaging right for your home care agency?

Text messaging can help you establish trust and increase engagement with your current clients and create an excellent onboarding experience for new ones.

Consider that many clients may not have the ability to send an email or make a phone call when they need to, or they may simply prefer text messaging.

Clients who need an easy way to text your agency include:

  • People in the sandwich generation, juggling both child care and elder care
  • People who cannot make a personal phone call or send a personal email during work hours and need an easy means for asynchronous contact
  • People who are hearing impaired and need a text-based means of conversation
  • People who prefer text messaging to other forms of communication

The easier it is for your clients to reach out, the more engaged they will be.

Want to make texting clients a lot easier?

Home Care Marketing Pros offers a number of digital marketing solutions for home care agencies and to see how we can help with text messaging for your agency, contact us today!

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