5 Ways Texting Grows Your Physical Therapy Practice
Enhance the overall patient experience
By Jessica Ayre
Patients are the life of your practice, and the best way to engage them is through text message. In fact, texting enhances the overall patient experience by facilitating things like:
- Bringing in prospective patients
- Improving customer service and communication
- Boosting revenue by running SMS (or text) marketing campaigns
First, you’ll need to enable texting for your business line so patients know they can call or text you with any questions they may have. A secure business texting software will help you do this, so find one that suits your needs. You’ll need to pick one that is HIPAA compliant to protect your practice and the Protected Health Information of your patients. When you choose to text patients, be sure that you’re doing so securely, with consent, and with authorized access.
Once you have secure texting enabled, your team can handle patient conversations while you focus on helping your patients heal. Below, you’ll find five ways texting can grow your physical therapy practice.
1. TEXT TO SCHEDULE AND CONFIRM APPOINTMENTS.
Patients tend to forget about upcoming appointments, so utilizing texting to send them appointment reminders is a good way to decrease no-shows.
Implement SMS Chat on your website so patients can message you directly to set up or reschedule an appointment. SMS Chat will only add value to your website, and patients will be happier knowing that they’re interacting with a real person in real-time.
What is SMS Chat?
SMS Chat is a widget that goes on your homepage. Website visitors can initiate conversations there and continue the same conversation on their phones. This works especially well for patients who are constantly on the go.
Even if a patient needs to cancel, they can do so with a quick text, and find a better time and date that works for them. From there, a member of your team can quickly identify open appointment slots and fill them in with other patients.
After an appointment, have your team text patients a prompt to schedule future appointments to keep them coming back. Patients will be more likely to respond and give you quick confirmation. Even when a patient messages after hours, SMS Chat enables you to send an auto-response, letting them know that a member of your team will get back to them during regular business hours.
With more patients showing up, you’ll keep revenue high and keep patients coming in and out your door.
2. PROMOTE SERVICES AND ONGOING SPECIALS VIA SMS MARKETING.
SMS marketing boosts your practice’s existing marketing campaigns and helps get the word out faster.
Patients will have to opt-in to receive promotional text messages, so make sure to let them know they can receive them by texting a keyword to subscribe. Keywords are specific words or phrases like health or feel better, and it subscribes them to receive text promotions, updates, and even an SMS version of your newsletter.
How can patients opt-in? Inform them after they’ve scheduled an appointment or advertise it on your social media platforms if you’re active there.
A promotional text can look something like this:
“Happy Spring! Present this text for a free neck and shoulder massage. We can’t wait to help you feel better.”
Not only will you drive more people to your practice with promotions, you’re also offering a service people want and need. If they’re a new patient, they can try your services risk-free and be more likely to convert into a paying customer.
By letting existing patients try free or discounted services, you’ll gain their loyalty and they’ll feel more inclined to purchase more services and products from you.
Customers might not know about an ongoing special or another service you may offer, and your promotion will have a higher chance of being seen when you text it out.
3. SEND TEXT REMINDERS ABOUT ONGOING CARE AND EXERCISES.
Patient treatment goes beyond what happens in your practice. You need to keep patients accountable for their care, and texting is a great way to remind them of exercises they need to do at home.
Improve patient outcomes by sending texts like this:
“Hi [Name]! Remember to do these stretches at least three times a week. You got this!
- Hamstring stretch (10 reps)
- Figure-4 stretch (10 reps)
- Standing lunge (5 each leg)
Positive reinforcement is an important factor when helping patients achieve results. They’ll be thankful for your gentle reminders, as well as cheering on their improvement via text. These encouraging experiences will set your practice up for success, and for the next point.
4. GETTING POSITIVE ONLINE REVIEWS.
Your practice needs online reviews to rank well on search engines and stand out from competitors. Reviews let people know they can trust your business, and texting increases your chances of converting more of them into clients. After an appointment, text your patients and ask for a review. Send over a link to your review page, such as Google Reviews or Yelp.
All you’ll need to do is send patients a text that looks like this:
“Hey, [Name]. It’s been our pleasure helping you throughout your treatment. Would you mind sharing your experience with us on Google? Here’s the link: [link]. Thank you so much! We look forward to seeing you again soon.”
Always make sure to thank patients for leaving reviews, too. You can even offer them an exclusive discount for their feedback, giving them a reason to come back.
The more reviews you get, the more your practice will stand out within your community and online.
5. REQUEST AND SEND SECURE PAYMENTS VIA TEXT.
Get paid faster when you text patients billing reminders and upcoming payments. Texting for payments saves you time, resources, and the hassle of following up with patients to pay on time.
Send a secure payment request link via text before or after an appointment. You can have these scheduled to go out, or text them manually. Patients can even respond with questions about their bill, helping them clarify what exactly they’re paying for.
If patients are on a payment plan, have scheduled texts go out to remind them of upcoming invoices or overdue balances. These text reminders can say something like:
“Hi, [Name]. You have a remaining balance of $110. Here’s the link to pay: [link]. Let us know if you have any questions about your statement.”
Text payments and reminders will boost collection rates and keep patients satisfied.
Texting for your physical therapy practice’s communications has the power to significantly improve relationships with your patients. You’ll notice the difference when you see a hike in appointment confirmations, services, and more — and it’s because patients want to text you.
Enable HIPAA-compliant texting for your practice today and find a business texting software that’s right for you.
Jessica Ayre is a content marketing specialist at Text Request, a business texting solution. If your practice wants to start texting patients, Text Request can give you all the tools and resources you need to create a successful text messaging strategy.