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Keep your patients happy with a great online user experience

  Whether it’s down to how your website looks or how it works, there are many factors that contribute to an online user experience

As more businesses move into the online world, it’s becoming common for chiropractors to go digital as well.

If you want to succeed on the internet, ensure you’re providing a top-notch user experience, because if your website isn’t easy to use, it won’t be as useful as it could be to potential patients and colleagues.

This is a chance to create your digital brand and add value to how you are already working with patients. Whether it’s down to how your website looks or how it works, there are many factors that contribute to a website’s user experience (UX).

Here’s how you can craft an online patient experience that’s exceptional and reflective of your professional expertise.

An attractive landing page

When internet users are looking for a chiropractor, most will conduct a quick Google search and look at the first few websites they come across. They’ll take a look over the initial landing pages of those first few, and select the one that’s most appealing. How does your site look from a first-time user’s perspective? If it’s unappealing, that’s bad news for your business.

Clear branding: This is needed so that visitors know who you are and can remember the name of your practice—don’t be gimmicky or cutesy. Be clear and descriptive to be memorable.

Easy checkout: Make it easy for visitors to see where they need to go in order to pay for your services or products. This should be your site’s primary goal.

Strategic whitespace: Use whitespace on your website to draw users’ eyes to important features like calls to action and testimonials.

Important information: Stick to the most important things; don’t litter your landing page with filler content. Tell people who you are, what you do, and why you’re better than the competition. Remember to KISS (keep it simple, stupid).

If you stick to these four points (and they can be followed even with the most basic website creation tools), then you’ll likely have a good-looking landing page.

Easy means of contact

You want visitors to your site to always have an easy way to get in touch with the support team. Patients will have lots of questions about “what X means,” and “if you offer Y.” Even if the information is available on your site, they’ll probably want to talk to somebody and have it clearly explained.

Here are a few ways to ensure that the visitors to your site find it easy to reach you:

Live chat: If your customers can launch a live chat at any time with the press of a button, they can get their questions answered ASAP.

Phone number: If you’ve got a telephone line open for new patients to call in with questions at any time, list it on your site where it can be easily found. Ideally, include it in a banner on every page.

FAQ page: Some people feel anxious about speaking to a support team member (even over live chat), so for those patients it is best to provide a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page. This will help save time for both you and them.

These features should be provided by any commercial website, especially one that’s offering complicated medical services.

Patient alerts

Your patients will appreciate it if you provide them with reminders about upcoming appointments. There are lots of variations on this strategy, all of which can help improve your UX. Here are a few ideas:

Cancellation notifications: If a patient has recently tried to get an appointment for a certain date but found you were all booked up, you could send them a notification if their original choice opens up because of a cancellation.

Appointment reminders: Nobody likes to miss an appointment, so send your patients a reminder the day before. After all, no-shows aren’t good for your practice, either.

Booking reminders: Do your patients follow routines? Perhaps some visit every month or every six months. Either way, around the time that you have suggested they next visit, you can send them a reminder. They’re likely to appreciate it and you’re likely to get another appointment booked.

Closure alerts: If you ever have to close down your practice for repairs (or any other reason), let your customers know about it. They’ll appreciate your alerting them and potentially saving them a wasted trip.

You may not think that such notifications would be easy to set up, but you’ll find that commonly used e-commerce solutions make it simple to offer these services. And it’s easier to implement alert systems with an ecommerce company than it is through an independent developer. It’s generally more cost-effective, too.

Make time for testing

The best way to make sure you’ve got a good UX is to test it. A simple way to do that is to ask someone to try and book an appointment from your practice’s website. If they find it easy, there’s a good chance your average customer will, too. A fresh set of eyes can give you a perspective you hadn’t considered.

There are also services that focus on researching the best ways to improve the UX on your site. They can then implement their ideas if you approve. You may not have room for this in your budget, but it could be worth thinking about in the future.

There are many factors that contribute toward a good UX. It may be less a case of considering what will encourage the user to make a booking and more about what will make life easier for your patients. And that can be why they’ll turn to you over your competitor.

Patrick Foster is a freelance e-commerce blogger over at ecommercetips.org. He has more than a decade’s worth of e-commerce experience, and a strong understanding of what makes sites work and what makes sites fail. He can be contacted at patrick@ecommercetips.org or on Twitter @myecommercetips.

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