By Ryan Hungate, DDS, MS, practicing orthodontist and founder and CEO, Simplifeye.
From Uber to Airbnb, disruption is all around us. While older generations may look at Millennials askance for changing the business and societal frameworks they built, it is undeniable that many changes make life easier. Many now prefer to do the bulk of their shopping through apps; tech-empowered logistics make one- and two-day shipping possible; requesting a taxi no longer requires a loud whistle; and scheduling appointments can now be done online.
The factors that have driven digital transformation and disruption thus far – convenience, simplicity and accessibility – offer clues as to which industries or processes need to adapt. Considering that 63 percent of millennials prefer live chat to phone calls, 88 percent of millennials prefer texting to calling, and 60 percent of the same group dread making phone calls to set appointments, it is reasonable to predict that millennials will no longer opt to make phone calls when dealing with businesses in the near future. So, what are the alternative solutions?
Many platforms have emerged over recent years with frameworks empowering businesses to offer options for setting appointments and getting quick answers without relying on phone calls. The overarching feature is the ability to participate in live chat, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to make inquiries and schedule appointments with real people, not chatbots. In addition to this, many of these platforms feature self-scheduling capabilities enabling people to book appointments via online portals, as well as streamlined invoicing capabilities so both businesses and customers can enjoy a seamless payment and record-keeping experience. Some providers have even integrated video portals to facilitate appointments, which offers convenience for both the business and patients.
To glimpse what this type of technology looks like in practice, imagine someone in need of an appointment with an optometrist to discuss a vision issue. The person may get busy at work, then go to the gym, and then head home. Later that night after dinner when the busy day finally winds down, the person at last remembers to set the appointment. Instead of having to wait until the following business day to make the call, the person visits the optometrist’s website and is immediately greeted with a friendly welcome message in a chat box staffed by a trained representative who can schedule the appointment within minutes.