Immediacy, privacy, and trust are just a few of the many benefits that live chat offers across a range of industries. However, when it comes to recovery and treatment centers in the behavioral health field (such as those focusing on drug and alcohol addictions), these priorities become critical requirements in the visitor experience. Treatment centers across the world are beginning to turn to live chat software to bridge critical gaps and provide essential services to those in need, saving lives in the process.
Breaks down barriers
When those in crisis make the pivotal decision to seek help, the window of time they are willing or able to seek that help could be very limited. Rather than leave patients to navigate a maze of phone trees, live chat provides immediate access to a professional who can answer their cry for help without revealing some of the ‘lump-in-the-throat’ feelings that can accompany vocal communications. According to a Harvard study, 92% of those suffering from severe addictions have an introverted personality; therefore, they are less inclined to seek help via the phone or other more direct methods. Live chat breaks down barriers and provides those who might otherwise feel uncomfortable seeking help with a safe and anonymous environment to initiate that first critical conversation.
“Those seeking help often prefer to appear 'faceless' and 'nameless' at first due to feelings of fear and/or shame surrounding their addictions. Live chat alleviates both of these pain points by giving those seeking treatment a safe, private, and anonymous (at first) outlet to find the help they need, while balancing the mental state he or she might be in."
Chris Foust, Director of Web Marketing for Recovery Ways, says, “We’re in the business of saving lives, and a first cold phone call can be ‘scary’ for many prospective patients.” The initial anonymity of live chat breaks down that barrier and is often a more attractive, alternative mode of communication for those seeking treatment during a time of stark vulnerability and uncertainty. These live chat conversations foster a sense of trust and often lead to phone calls between prospective patients and counselors, further assisting those in need.
There are two main pain points that treatment centers face when first interacting with a potential client. First, a phone call may feel too personal (at first). A person wrestling with addiction is usually in a highly fragile state of mind upon their initial search for treatment, and therefore a full phone conversation can be daunting and mentally taxing. A second pain point is that a simple form submission is often not personal enough.
Mike Burke, SEO Manager of Aid in Recovery, says that “those seeking help often prefer to appear “faceless” and “nameless” at first due to feelings of fear and/or shame surrounding their addictions.” Live chat alleviates both of these pain points by giving those seeking treatment a safe, private, and anonymous (at first) outlet to find the help they need, while balancing the mental state he or she might be in.
Live chat software can significantly cut down on an organization’s expenses by saving on phone operator costs and reducing the time employees spend on completing tasks. This increases agent bandwidth and results in lowered costs across the board, which creates more room in the budget for creating critical programs that assist those in need, hiring additional staff, upkeep of treatment facilities, and more. Another key benefit that live chat software offers is its ability to integrate with other CRM, Help Desk or scheduling systems. Live chat transcripts can be automatically sent to many third-party systems for more efficient and effective follow-up.
Addiction centers in the behavioral health field have two goals. First and foremost, the goal of any addiction center is to help patients overcome addiction and improve their quality of life. Second, addiction centers seek to brand themselves as a program that works. When addiction centers build up their reputation as effective treatment centers, both goals are accomplished simultaneously. An average of four treatment centers open in the United States every day, and in this crowded space it’s important for treatment centers to do anything and everything they can to differentiate themselves from those offering similar services.
In addition to addressing HIPAA compliance requirements, many live chat services offer customized branding of the entire visitor experience (chat buttons, chat box, etc) to present cohesive branding across the board and create an exceptional first impression. This further instills confidence and trust in prospective patients and leads to increased call volumes and higher admittance rates.
If a treatment center is trying to scale up, it becomes crucial to beta test and understand what’s working. A huge part of this process involves gathering data across a treatment center’s website(s) and other digital channels to identify opportunities for improvement. Live chat software gives treatment centers access to a wealth of insights via live chat analytics. These analytics help providers determine optimal staffing levels month-to-month, day-to-day, and hour-by-hour to ensure they are providing quality assistance to those that need it most, at the precise time they reach out for help.