Navigating Live Chat, Chat AI & Conversational Marketing for Health Systems

Oct 19, 2021 1:30 PM2:30 PM EST

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Key Discussion Takeaways

How does AI technology impact customer engagement? Should you implement an AI chat platform in your company?

In the healthcare space, Tom Hileman and Brian Gresh are seeing more customers lean towards nonverbal engagement, like chatbots and live chat. Not only does it benefit the customer, but it reduces overall call volume and improves customer service in call centers, allowing agents to redirect customers to better resources at a faster rate. From a marketing perspective, these AI tools open up the digital front door, helping you learn more about your customer and foster genuine conversation.

In this virtual event, Aaron Conant joins Tom Hileman, President of Hileman Group, and Brian Gresh, President of Loyalty Health, to talk about the benefits of AI chat and conversational marketing. They discuss how AI is impacting the healthcare industry, why consumers are embracing the move towards AI communication, and how you can successfully implement AI chat technology into your business.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:


  • Brian Gresh discusses how technology is aiding communication between healthcare providers and their patients
  • How are live chats, chatbots, and other tools impacting engagement?
  • Tom Hileman and Brian talk about the current digital trends and growing acceptance of chatbots
  • Tom goes into detail on his healthcare marketing model
  • What can you achieve with a chatbot?
  • Mistakes to avoid when rolling out an AI chat platform
  • Combining live chat and chatbot for optimal efficiency
  • Brian and Tom’s advice to those considering implementing chatbot and AI technology
  • Focusing on technology and content to solve a problem in a scalable way
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Event Partners

Global Prairie

Global Prairie delivers transformational branding, marketing and digital solutions through the lens of an organization’s unique purpose. Bringing together industry leading strategy, creativity and technology expertise, we generate measurable business and social impact for our clients, their stakeholders and the world.

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Guest Speaker

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Tom Hileman LinkedIn

Managing Partner, Digital at Global Prairie

Tom Hileman is the Managing Partner of Digital at Global Prairie, an award-winning digital marketing agency that delivers high-touch, data-driven marketing solutions for leading healthcare organizations nationwide. With more than 25 years of multi-industry experience, he leverages strategic insights, measurable engagement tactics and technology to drive business growth and success. Tom has spoken at HCIC, HMPS, World Congress, SHSMD, Adobe, and other healthcare and technology events.

Brian Gresh

Brian Gresh

President, Loyal

Brian Gresh is the President of Loyal, a company that delivers end-to-end digital and AI-powered solutions for health systems and hospitals. Brian has 20 years of experience as a healthcare marketing executive, and he enjoys solving marketing and communication challenges by leveraging technology and putting user experience first. Prior to his work at Loyal, he was the Senior Director of Interactive Marketing at the University of Utah Health.

Event Moderator

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Tom Hileman LinkedIn

Managing Partner, Digital at Global Prairie

Tom Hileman is the Managing Partner of Digital at Global Prairie, an award-winning digital marketing agency that delivers high-touch, data-driven marketing solutions for leading healthcare organizations nationwide. With more than 25 years of multi-industry experience, he leverages strategic insights, measurable engagement tactics and technology to drive business growth and success. Tom has spoken at HCIC, HMPS, World Congress, SHSMD, Adobe, and other healthcare and technology events.

Brian Gresh

Brian Gresh

President, Loyal

Brian Gresh is the President of Loyal, a company that delivers end-to-end digital and AI-powered solutions for health systems and hospitals. Brian has 20 years of experience as a healthcare marketing executive, and he enjoys solving marketing and communication challenges by leveraging technology and putting user experience first. Prior to his work at Loyal, he was the Senior Director of Interactive Marketing at the University of Utah Health.

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Aaron Conant

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution.

Co-Founder & Managing Director Aaron Conant runs the group & connects with dozens of brand executives every week, always for free.

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Discussion Transcription

Aaron Conant 0:18

Happy Tuesday everybody. My name is Aaron Conant. I'm the Co-founder and Managing Director of BWG Connect we’re a networking and knowledge-sharing group with 1000s of organizations to do exactly that we network and now it's here together to stay on top of the newest trends, strategies, pain points, whatever it is that's shaping the digital ecosystem. I talk with 30-plus organizations a week just to stay on top of those. We'd love to have a conversation with people on the line today if you're just you know, looking for a strategic conversation on different things that are taking place it's during those conversations that we come up with the topics for these calls when the same topics pain points come up over and over again, really interesting conversation. We go ahead and host events like this and we kind of invite on like top leaders in the space top recommended service providers that they're helping a lot of people out and come recommended over and over again. And we just have this candid conversation so as we kind of get ready to kick this off just a couple of housekeeping items. Number one, like I said we're starting you know, three to four minutes after the 130 start time and just so you know, we're gonna wrap up three to four minutes before the 230 end time we're gonna give you plenty of time to get on to your next meeting without being late. The other thing is we want this to be as educational informational as possible so at any point in time if you have a question don't hesitate to drop it in the chat you can drop it in the q&a section there or you can always email me Aaron we'll get answers to all the questions that you send in and with as long as time allows and so with that I'm gonna go ahead and kick it off a couple of friends and partners in the network today on the line to kind of help guide the conversation as a whole give us some strategic insights and so you know Brian, Tom I'm gonna kick it over you for a brief intro on yourself in the organization Tom I'll kind of kick it to you first if you want to jump in I mean you guys are great friends partners you know support as the network for a while now just you know appreciate you and the knowledge that you bring, you know if you want to jump in, you know, intro on yourself and having group that'd be awesome, and then we can kick it over to Brian sound it

Tom Hileman 2:17

sounds good. Thanks, Aaron. I appreciate it. And I appreciate being here again. So as a lot of fun to talk healthcare marketing and specifically conversational marketing today. So Tom Hileman president of Hileman Group, we're a healthcare marketing agency, we focus on helping health systems and health care providers connect with patients and providers in the space through market marketing technology.

Brian Gresh 2:43

Oh, Brian, I'll hand it to you. Thanks, Tom. Yeah, it's great. Great to join today. I love talking about this subject. So it's a it's it's fun to be part of this. But Brian Gresh, I’m the president of Loyal, we're a company based out of Atlanta. And we're really focused on technology and specifically using AI to impact the healthcare consumer experience. So really thinking about ways that we can, we can help guide patients along their around their journey, and chatbot is one of the one of the tools that we use to do that. So I'm really excited about the conversation. And I think I think we can just kick it off if, if Aaron, if Aaron says go, yeah, just

Aaron Conant 3:25

we had a couple more people join, you have any questions along the way, just drop into the question section or the chat or email them to me, and we can kind of get those answered as we go. But yeah, we'd love to, you know, this is something that's come up more and more, I mean, we do a lot of conversations, you know, in the regulated space, you know, even thinking on the finance side, but on the healthcare side, incredibly interesting. A lot of people trying to, you know, manage, what is the new age of healthcare look like? What is, you know, what does it look like when we interact with with patients as a whole? You know, Tom, we've had this conversation, you know, before around, you know, what does it look like going forward when you've had this huge slug of people pushed into a new age of addressing their health care? And so they're super interested? Yeah, I'd love to kind of just jump into this. And you know, people can ask questions along the

Tom Hileman 4:11

way. Good. Brian, I'll hand it to you. I think that was a perfect to talk about where consumers of patients are today.

Brian Gresh 4:21

Yeah, absolutely. And maybe, you know, before we jump into chatbots, specifically, I kind of wanted to start maybe just on a high level and talk about where healthcare consumers are and why this is an important space. Yeah, I don't think it's a shock to anyone that that there's a demand by consumers and specifically healthcare consumers to use technology to connect with health care providers and health systems. They're doing it in every other aspect of their life, and they've got the technology in the palm of their hand. And so they're demanding it now in the healthcare space and you know, with the pandemic Over the last year, more and more doors were open to them to connect with their providers and they're, they're not going to allow those doors to be shut they they want that access, they want that connectivity. And, you know, I think that health systems that understand this providers that understand that are going to not only create better experiences for their customers, but they're going to gain loyalty from those patients and customers, and really see that that relationship grow on a much deeper level. So it's, it's a really important space to be in. And I think, you know, the next slide, Tom, you know, when you think about how people are using technology, and how they're engaging, they're, they're enjoying it, they, they, they're, they're doing it a lot of different ways, right? They're they're tracking their own health, they're using wearables, they're, they're thinking about their health in a much more consistent and daily weigh. The I think one huge trend is that they're more willing to share data as well, that's something that you know, it's a, that's a tough conversation with with healthcare providers, because, you know, on one hand, they're kind of handcuffed with HIPAA, and they're not supposed to, you know, allow technology to just share these types of things openly, but at the same time, they're, their customers are willing to do it. So we've got to kind of figure that piece out as well. And, and then overall, they're, they're just more engaged, more more willing to disagree with their providers now, because they have so much access to data. So all of that kind of leads back to this whole idea of conversations and conversational tools. They want to connect, they want to be part of their healthcare conversation with their providers.

Aaron Conant 6:43

I think the most interesting thing for me just on this percentage-wise, though, is if you look at the age demographic, who primarily consumes, right health care services, this well in over this index is, you know, extremely highly into an older demographic. I mean, it has to, if you're looking at 73%

Brian Gresh 7:05

Yeah, absolutely. I don't think you know, I think, five years ago, you could argue that, you know, that, that an older population wasn't using tools as much as the younger population, I think that arguments kind of been proven wrong, now. Everyone has a phone, everyone has to have an email, everyone has to have access to these tools in order to do everything else in their lives. So you know, it's not it's not so much. I think adoption is because because they want to always, but it's just they're being forced to you can't you can't do anything today without technology. So it's just a natural progression into the healthcare space, and, and they're comfortable in that space to do anything, Tom. I mean, that's, that's what you're seeing too, right? Yeah, I

Tom Hileman 7:51

mean, I think you're right on target with kind of getting pulled along. If you think about online banking, and even multi-factor authentication that we now all have to do to access banks mean we have that same technology right in our hands and we can use it for healthcare. I think the other thing I would point that's not see any statistics but what I'm seeing as they're engaged with patients is just their engagement and their health overall. I mean, COVID has done a great impact to folks when it comes to being engaged in their own health care and thinking about their health and I think we're at a unique opportunity where we have this type of technology and the deployment of it today, but as well as we have patients who are continuing to be more and more interested in how to live healthier lives, and how to engage with health systems to get that to get access

Brian Gresh 8:38

to that care. Yeah, go ahead go please, please

Aaron Conant 8:43

go ahead. No, I just think in that 60% I think just you know Tom what you're saying you know the the COVID impact on it is people were are now used to they were forced to push into this era right and online grocery pickup right i think if my mother in law was at his does Walmart online grocery pickup and loves it and now she has a new expectation on everything else in her life. The staple of grocery shopping for her has changed and banking has changed guys house you're saying and now health care for her is changing and and multiple facets and how she expects to be communicated and the speed at which she expects to be communicated with super intriguing, I can see that you know that 60% you had on that first slide. As we go through this conversation, it makes a lot of sense, right? There's a new demand. It's not like they started saying hey, I want this you know, and expect this from my, you know, health care provider. It is, is is now part of my daily life, from banking to grocery shopping. And it's easy, and I like it. I didn't want to get into it. I've been forced to get into it now. Wow, this is nice. You know, what is the next evolution in healthcare look

Brian Gresh 9:50

like so? Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, when you look at this slide, too, I think that the important takeaway here is we here About the digital front door. And it's a term that gets thrown around a lot. I think it's, it's unfortunate, it's ill defined. But it's so many things, you you have to think about every single touchpoint. But I

Tom Hileman 10:15

think what Brian was going is it isn't what isn't well defined in terms of what the digital front door is right. And it's made up of a lot of the circles that you see here, whether it's search, find a doc, whether it's your my patient, your patient portal, or accessing a chatbot, or text or even the website, right, there's a myriad of ways that people visually engage with their healthcare system or health care provider. And I know there's a nice Gartner graphic on the right hand side. And that's kind of showing some of the different sides of that, and the progression from that health journey. And then the tools that kind of intersect with that specific this one focused on the treatment side of things. So I really think it's a it's an opportunity for all of us to think about as the patients have moved online and engaged in tools, specifically telehealth, for example, or in COVID, where they kind of had to do those things. There's the only way to get access to care for a period of time when all most of the in-person visits are shut down. This is a way the digital front door is where we all need to think about as marketers and specifically healthcare marketers of how do we make our front door as wide and as open as possible to get to get our patients in for the care that they need?

Brian Gresh 11:25

Can you guys hear me now? Yep, that works. Okay, great. Sorry, I've got a little air pod failure there. And as

Tom Hileman 11:33

always, we're just moving into conversational engagement. Brian, this is an area that you're you're extremely passionate about specifically, given that some of the tools that you guys have developed it's really a question

Aaron Conant 11:46

that comes in is around Do you see patients making choices on health care providers based on the digital front door and the offerings that are there? But are they now making choices based on the total option availability of what the tech on the back end looks like?

Brian Gresh 12:08

They are and there's there's data, there's, there's studies to support that. So you know, people are thinking about the whole experience. You know, if you think about how people choose doctors, I think it's, it's kind of similar in terms of how they, they think about technology. So while we well, if you're inside of a health system, and you know, what you want is your customers to choose the doctor based on their, their specialty, their skill level, you know, all of those, those kind of appropriate measures of care, but the reality is, they're probably asking their neighbour or their friend, Hey, who's nice, who, like, there's all those other factors that they weigh in, that really don't, don't relate to the actual clinical delivery. And I think they use those same types of kind of, you know, criteria when they're thinking about the relationship they have with the overall health system. And technology is part of that. If they're constantly being thrown up barriers, and they're not able to schedule they're not able to connect with someone inside the health system. And the provider down the street provides them with that with that accessibility. They're making that decision to choose that other that other provider and I think we're going to continue to see that Yeah, I agree.

Tom Hileman 13:25

I agree Brian, I mean, I think it comes down to access right if you can't access a provider no matter what the credentials or what bills they may have and folks, folks when you when you think about scheduling Are you gonna wait six months for a specialist? If you can get a perceived equal equal level of skill in a month? Probably not right and same thing comes into you know, get the data around engaging positions for via telehealth and patient portals. People want given the the world we live in and Walmart grocery to everything people want to interact with their healthcare as soon as they possibly can. And so you will you can see a skew towards providers who are embracing these technologies

Aaron Conant 14:07

Yeah, I mean it's the it's the the bleed over from you know how they're dealing with the digital landscape today right the spoil me now. Right mentality that's out there, right, I'm on Am I want same day delivery. I have an issue I want to jump I mean, this point live chat, I want to jump on and chat. I don't want to wait on the phone on a just click a few buttons and interact. And that's every aspect of you know of a digital experience today. So no, young, super interesting, super intriguing. Of that portion has now been so segregated from the rest of that how we view healthcare, and now how much has been blended in 18 months.

Brian Gresh 14:45

It's Yeah, and I think when you think about conversational frameworks, and specifically chatbots or live chat, you know, on one hand, you have the experience piece so customers like these tools, right? Want to use them to try to engage whether it's a live person or or a chatbot, they're, they're equally comfortable. But on the on the system side, you know, stakeholders within the organization, they get to see and understand their customers in a whole new way, right? So when when you're just talking about a static webpage, you, you just know that there's been a visit or the user. But with with a chatbot, with those with those interfaces, you know, what the person is actually there for because they're telling you, they're asking you, and you're collecting that data. And when you start to see it, when you start to aggregate that data and you start to see it at a higher level, you can start to make decisions around, you know, do I need to make content changes, do I need to change an operational workflow, there's so much that you can do with that conversational data that we're just kind of, we're skimming the surface so far in terms of that, but it gives you a whole new view into your customers. And that's why I think it's really powerful. I agree, Brian,

Tom Hileman 16:02

I think the intent that you get into chatbot, much like pay per click, and some of the search aspects, but actually better in this case, because you can really measure the specific intent much better. And now with that now into the intent, I think you do need to look at your contents and some of your journey, patient journey and tune those a bit. We'll talk about that a little bit later. But certainly the intent lead side of live chat chatbots really is a is a huge opportunity for all of us as marketers.

Brian Gresh 16:32

And it's something we focus on a lot in my world where we think about what we call the intent library. And so we're constantly trying to evolve that library. So we're covering all the different intensive and the other user. And you know, the more that you can develop that that backend library, and understand your customers, then you can create the dialogues to then meet their needs. And and that's where it gets really fun. And it's it's kind of almost becoming a, I think, a new marketing skill set. That that I think a lot of marketers should think about, you know, we had content marketing, and we had writers will like, now we need people to think about intent libraries, and dialogue and conversation workflows, and to start to develop those on on the back end. And it's really, it's really evolving, it's really an emerging space, but it's going to become critical and part of the marketing toolbox. I think, as as you know, we we move forward into this space and the AI gets better. Yeah, in

Aaron Conant 17:36

you know, we, you know, having that lead into how deep Can you go and the data that you're getting, right? If there's the same question asked over and over again, I couldn't find this, I needed help with this, then you're the next level that we're getting to in digital 2.0 is not just answering the question, but then using that to, you know, update the user experience as a whole. Have a question that comes in and a quick reminder to people if you have questions, you can drop in the chat, you can drop into the question section, or you can email them to me, Aaron at it says, How can you build a complex conversation with the user when you're limited? By regulatory?

Brian Gresh 18:15

You know, I it's a great question. So, so maybe just as a as a starting point, I would say that our conversations are the chatbot framework that we work with is all HIPAA compliant. So we can handle pH II, and collect and collect data. But when you're talking about answering questions, you know, we redirect some questions, if people start to share their, you know, their very specific clinical issues or needs, that's when we take the opportunity to either direct them to another resource, or maybe give them a warm handoff to a live chat person. So bring that into a call center. situation. I think that, you know, as they use different terminology chatbots can get really good at identifying those things. And so, it's also an opportunity to be able to recognize situations that might be more critical, like, you know, we we've definitely understand when people are talking about mental health issues, suicide, you know, you can you can direct people very quickly to a resource, or maybe it's a heart related issue, thinking about serving up information about an ER, but I think it's just there's a lot of different ways you can handle the conversations. But But overall, people, you can't you can't control what people will share. But you can control what you can respond back with. I guess the way I'd sum it up. But just touching on this really briefly, I think we were making the point pretty strongly but chatbots are out there. They're being adopted not only by consumers, but businesses. You know, we're at the point where almost 50% of businesses in the US are using some form of a chat But that could be via voice SMS, on a website. But these things are becoming very, very common. And again, customers are comfortable using them. I think in healthcare, you know, the adoption, the adoption rate is, is moving pretty quickly, people understand that. Not only do customers use them, but when you think about call centers in healthcare, almost, you know, 3040 50% of the calls coming in, are non appointment related. They're just questions and chat bots are really good at answering them and helping people, you know, redirect people to to a better resource. So big, big growth and just adoption overall. It's Are you seeing

Aaron Conant 20:43

a lot this adoption at the same rate on your side?

Tom Hileman 20:46

Yeah, I mean, there's Yes, there's no, no question about it. I think a couple things play into this, I'm sure we'll ask this. Talk about this a little bit later. But chatbots me first of all, digitization when you can't necessarily get in to ask people questions in person, during the COVID. That certainly drove to this a lot. But people are a lot more comfortable to technology, as Brian was alluding to. I also think that one of the trends that we're going to see as some of the difficulties of labour at call centers, and getting appropriate staffing, I'm hearing this pretty consistently from many of my clients, it's very difficult to staff, the call centers now, with the labor shortages, we're going to have to meet our customer needs somehow and chatbots are a logical extension of that in handling some of the more mundane and tactical pieces and then leveraging the call center agents for their higher value purposes in terms of having those higher level conversations. So we're seeing that trend strongly. Aaron, I mean, I think as Brian alluded to, it's it's certainly chatbot chat, but it's live chat chat bots, conversational marketing has a has a large windows back right now.

Brian Gresh 21:51

And when we talk about chatbots, and then artificial intelligence, I mean, the subset that we're really focused on is natural language processing. And it's really tailor made for, for supporting call centers, right. So we've run, you know, volumes and volumes of conversation data, like voice data through our NLP engine. And, you know, we see a lot of a lot of opportunities to support call center, agents. And specifically, like, when a call comes in for an appointment, for instance, you know, almost three to five minutes of that call, starts with just information collection. And that's something a chatbot can easily walk a person through, then hand them off to an agent, so that they can just focus in on the piece that they need to do. So there's opportunities to reduce call time, reduce overall volume, and then just, you know, overall redirect people to to better resources. So there's, there's a tonne of use cases, as you know, when it relates to the call center,

Aaron Conant 22:56

you were talking about, you brought up natural language processing, but we're also then talking about AI in the end, right. Rapid learning, how do you see this space evolving? You know, in the healthcare space over the next one to two years? I mean, you're saying a little bit, you know, there used to be, you know, this would come in and augment adding additional staff. Now, this is actually filling in a gap on staff that's there, just you know, because of, you know, trying to, you know, staffing issues that are out there. And is this now being pushed into table stakes is this, where does this fall? And how, how much do you see it advancing? And what role does AI play in it? Is

Brian Gresh 23:39

it is it required? I'll start and I'll let Tom jump back in on the because he had some good points on the call center piece. I do think it's table stakes. I mean, the realities are there's not a there's not enough people to staff, all the call centers, call volumes not going down. And, and the technology, the models are getting better. The more data you put into your Amr AI model, the more conversations you're having, the better it gets. And so we're able to answer questions that you know, we couldn't answer three or four years ago, and now it's just it's simple. So you know, with that, I think there's the systems that use this technology are just going to they're going to get ahead because they're going to they're going to have better customer service they're going to have better access points. Tom Yeah,

Tom Hileman 24:33

absolutely. I mean, NLP I mean it essentially works and better the more data that you have at it and structured to I think Brian one thing we'll talk about probably is a little bit pro marketer perspective, how do you give the NLP engines better information to answer better? Kind of that question answer format and how you write is a little bit different when you're trying to get NLP to consume that information effectively. But to your point, Brian, it's it's certainly It's certainly evolving. I mean, we have like, we have the labour aspect I mentioned there before, but but just people are more interested in their health and they're more interacting, right? What are the number of interactions are gonna continue to grow? Probably exponentially. We're not going to be able to staff people wise for that. So we're going to have to do a better job of building tools that scale and better tools that they answer better questions. And to Brian's point of questions they couldn't answer three or four years ago, as the values of these interactions increased that the as long as we're monitoring them and and taught and managing the intent and understanding where we're failing, because we can also fail at scale to Brian, we can answer, we can answer a question wrong consistently, but very efficiently. It's just not very effectively. So there's, there's, there's kind of it's a double edged sword. The technology is this great scalability, but it can also scale to unsatisfactory levels, if we're not managing and monitoring and but we're gonna have to, in order to serve the number of patients that we all need to serve, we have to leverage technology that's going to give us that kind of scale. And also that kind of perceived personalised interaction.

Brian Gresh 26:09

Yeah. Love and maybe go ahead and please, no, I

Aaron Conant 26:13

was just a green. I said, Yeah.

Brian Gresh 26:16

Yeah, I think that the other thing when you when you think about chatbots, and how you can use them, I mean, to me, it's, why wouldn't you? There's, there's so many low hanging fruit, fruits in the, in the, just in the customer service aspect of health care. You know, there, there are companies that are trying to trying to develop AI technology around the actual delivery of clinical care. And that's, that's a hard problem to solve, right? There's, there's just so many pieces to that to that puzzle. But you know, helping people walk through customer service experience is really actually a lot easier. And there's so many opportunities to make the make the process better. So chatbots, can can be play a part or play a role in that for sure. Yeah,

Aaron Conant 27:06

just another question. Are you able to send these slides out afterwards? Can we connect you with people to send those out?

Brian Gresh 27:16

You know, I think this we can we can pass over this slide. It's just another, you know, just showing adoption across the industry. And then I'll turn it back over to Tom.

Tom Hileman 27:26

Yeah, I think where I one of the things that we can certainly talk about is some of that low hanging fruit we've built out so to manage the kind of, so there's a lot of what a lot of things that you can potentially do with any of the conversational marketing pieces. And they we focus a lot, mostly on live chat and chat bots thus far. But one of the things I think I encourage people to think about as marketers think about a model, right, because there's so much going on, if you don't have a mental model that you can apply to the situation to solve the problem, it becomes very difficult to solve anything, there's a lot of things going on. So what you'll see on the right hand side of your slide is a little model that we put together kind of our we call it our healthcare flywheel. This is essentially about patient interactions, and engagement. And you'll see five blades the flywheel from acquisition of getting the acquiring the patient to activation, the time in between the scheduling an appointment and going to the appointment to the encounter the actual delivery of care, to follow up to nurturing people. So that flywheel that we have is really a way to think about those touch points. And then what fits in that. And I think when you think about chatbots, and conversational, you can align content and information, as well as the as the walls, the questions that you would expect people to have around there from finding a doc to scheduling to some basic triage to the basic blocking and tackling of whether it's billing questions, financial questions. Wayfinding is a great, a great tool to finding teasing, using these conversational marketers. So there's a lot of other more sophisticated ways risk assessments, and some of the patient portal questions interaction that are a little more richer than deeper, but that I would encourage folks to think about a model of the journey that the patient takes. And then what are the what are your interaction points? And how are you going to support conversational marketing, assuming that you want to take that task on? So I'm a big fan of big fan branded mental models? That's kind of how I think about framing some of these complex

Brian Gresh 29:27

solutions. Yeah, no, it's it really is a great way to think about it. And, you know, when, when I kind of think about are we think about it as a company, we're not just thinking like, let's drop a chatbot on a page and hope somebody interacts with it, right? I mean, that does happen. But we also want to think about where would it make sense to add a conversational element to an activity and a lot of those things are inside of marketing campaigns or our marketing activities. So when you think about a trigger Kind of acquisition campaign where you're sending out an email dropping somebody on a landing page, instead of a static form, you could now add a conversational element to that, engage that user as they come onto the page, you know, the intent of their visit, because it, it's coming off of that, that email. So now you have an opportunity to engage with them, and potentially lead them down a path that they may not have had the opportunity to go down in that in that static way. So just the lots of lots of interesting ways to to use the conversational element. When it when you think about all of these steps, and I really, I love the flywheel model, I think it I think it aligns really well with with the technology and the idea of conversational marketing.

Tom Hileman 30:49

So Aaron, those are some of our slides to kind of frame the conversation. I'm Imagine you have some few questions building up as well.

Aaron Conant 30:55

Yeah. You know, in one goes back to kind of Brian, what you'd mentioned was, you know, you know, I kind of said as a table stakes, you said yes, usually, you know, thing is why not? And I think the question people have is, well, because it's one more thing to roll out. Like, I'm already inundated. I've got you know, 17 things in queue, it is there already, you know, what do I focus on? I don't know how to get started, right? Like, I know, I should do it. I know it's the right thing to do. But how do we kick it off? So I'll kick this into you like Tom first like, brand comes in a, you know, organization comes into you and says, Hey, we want to roll out, you know, ai chat, what does this look like? Like one of those steps that they need to do? What is timeline? What is structure look like? What is cost look like? Like? That's what they're trying to put together? Their whole? Why not? is like, I know I should? But is it? One more thing I got to put together? What is the guidance look like if people are kind of taking notes on? You know, in the light today?

Tom Hileman 31:53

Yeah, I'll start and then Brian. I mean, there's a day to day. So I'm sure I'll let him finish with some more of the specifics. I think the first thing when people most folks, don't ask us, hey, we need to put a web chat up, or a chat by most folks come with us, we have a problem. You know, we're not engaging with our patients as well, or we're having problems in the call center, getting people to schedule appointments, or whatever. So usually, a few people come in, and they're already down the path of the technology. But a lot of times that question surfaces itself as a kind of an embedded need or an embedded problem that they're perceiving. So I guess I'll start there. And is typically that's how we get asked about that question. Now it leads right to chatbots, or live chat, that conversational marketing, I would say the first thing I would look at it, it's easy today, and I did a presentation that at age MPs on some of the MAR tech stack, and there's 1000 plus potential solutions out there in the space for us today. So there's an impossible number of things to know. And we as healthcare marketers also have an impossibly long to do list, right? And so question can be what yet one more tool. And so what I would argue that is, I believe that this conversational marketing solves a variety of problems, and it has broad applicability. So it would be on my short list of things to focus on because it allows me as a marker Ewing to engage with patients in an intent based way. And I don't have very many ways to do that. as a marketer, there are few other ones search is one way to do that some of the things that you can do off of a patient portal or a logged in experience, you can you can infer that. But this is kind of the most one of the most wide open ways that we can take patient, patient intent and really make an impact as a brand and as an organization. So the things to think about would be first, what problem are we what problem or set of problems are we trying to solve? So I would think we need to use them a big covey guy begin with the end in mind. So for trying to solve what are we trying to solve? And what does that mean? And I would start to think about that. And then once you think about that, think about the if you're going to considering a tool like this, there's some very easy low hanging fruit types of activities, some are listed on this slide that you can you can achieve with a chatbot. So first, I would work on scope. Second thing I would do is do I have enough understanding of my customer that I know what those pains are? I know what those potential questions are. And then third thing is Do I have the content, the information that I would be able to effectively feed, feed a chatbot or feed the NLP that I need? Now that's a harder question to ask. That's a little bit more of a technical question. That's where sometimes folks in the space organizations like us or others can help with answering that question, but those are the first three things I would think about. Brian, you're living and breathing this every day. I guess I welcome your thoughts.

Brian Gresh 34:51

Yeah. So I think about all of those things you mentioned there's there's a couple things I would add. So one is, you know, I think Again, going back to the term digital front door, you know, the digital front door 10 years ago was the website, and primarily owned by the marketing department. I think as we talk about the digital front door, we're really talking about a technology driven omni channel experience. And it's not exclusively owned by marketing. It's, it's really owned by the organization. And so I think as you're, as you're considering this, you have to think about who are the stakeholders involved? And how can they benefit across the organization? What, what we're seeing more and more, as people are considering chatbots for their organization? Yes, there's a marketing application for it. And there's a lot of benefits to that. But we're also seeing people come from operations, from the Access Center, from billing from it, all of these other areas. And they all have a role to play. So, you know, I think my recommendation would be if you're driving the conversation inside your organization, as the marketing team, think about, who else can you partner with? That could get value out of this? Because why not? Right, you want to get that, that that full value out of out of the tool you're investing in? So I would think broadly and not just think about the marketing use case, although there are many really good ones. So

Aaron Conant 36:27

you know, just a quick reminder, others who have questions drop into the chat or the q&a, we can get them answered, you know, from a standpoint of when you're going to roll it out, are there any common, like stumbling blocks? Is there a do not do list? This isn't a right fit list. We'd love to hear your thoughts there. You know, I think people are evaluating it right now, I do agree with you, Brian, that this will be table stakes. Really, really quickly. I think it's still on that, you know, what the best in class people are doing right now, but not quite table stakes. It's going to be there really quickly. In under a year. You know, Are there examples of what not to do when rolling out?

Brian Gresh 37:06

You know, the chatbot? platform? Yeah, I definitely. I think there's, you know, you want to you want to know what your goal is? Right? What like, you know, think about the use cases, and and know how you're going to measure the success of those individual use cases. You know, if you put a chatbot on your website, people will engage with it. But, you know, what, what are they? What do you want them to do? What do you hope they're going to do? And then how are you going to measure the success of that engagement is really important. I think, you know, other considerations, and I'm talking because it's, it's the way most people launches on their website. So you know, when you're thinking about that, you can put a chatbot sitewide, you can put it on just a single page or a single area of the website. And there's pros and cons to doing that site wide, you're going to get a lot of, you're gonna get a lot of data really quick. People are gonna ask a lot of questions. Now, you're not gonna be able to answer all those questions out of the gate. And people, people generally users are pretty okay with that, they understand that it's not, it's not going to be able to do everything. But you know, that's the disadvantages, you may, you may have to say, I'm sorry, I don't understand that. But the advantage is you learn a ton about your customers, and then what you do with that data is kind of kind of the next step. But I think about I think about those things, and then going back to my earlier comment about stakeholders, you know, don't don't launch it without support. No, know who this could impact. You know, if, if people are asking questions about billing, and you haven't engaged with the billing team, you probably you probably should have, because they're gonna, that's I'll tell you the number one things we see our people ask about how to how to find a doctor or interact with doctors, they asked about appointments, they asked about billing, and they asked about how to get into their patient portal. Those probably be my top five things. So make sure all those teams are engaged with you, if you're going to you're going to drive this for certain, if not,

Tom Hileman 39:13

so got some, some enterprise anx with it. So I think alignment and governance is credit O'Brian on that I would also encourage people to think about where they do put the data and then also nudging people to the bot, right? Not all your content, you always get the pay off of content. You can as you Brian mentioned before, when you're doing a marketing campaign where you made a landing page, there's no reason you couldn't use a bot and that focused area or nudge people to the bot for your content. As long as they're getting their information needs served. The bots a great way to is a great way to go but we also can kind of quote market or direct to the bot. Yeah, I mean is,

Aaron Conant 39:55

you know, variety you mentioned there. You know those five questions. They were all easily answered questions. I mean, that's the reality. Right? And so, you know, that gets into staff augmentation and support. Like, what chunk? Do you see it covering? You know, go to Brian first. And you know, Tom, I know you work with a tonne of organizations as well. But how much does that augment and or support?

Brian Gresh 40:22

it? It depends. And I think it goes back to what Tom just said, though, about thinking about how you're going to drive usage. That's, that's a really key component. So out even outside of healthcare, you know, average chatbot usage on you know, with it with a bot that's launched on a website, that's just kind of passively there, we see about anywhere from one and a half to 3% is typical in terms of usage in its engagement rate. So the percent of people visiting the website that engaged with the with the chatbot, you can drive that usage up by doing things like adding a call center message that says don't want to wait on hold, go to our website and use our chat bot or, you know, putting it in all of your email, communications, all of those different things can drive up your usage. But you definitely want to think about how you're going to create engagement around those different activities. And I'm sorry, Aaron, could you could you repeat the last part of your question? I kind of went off on a tangent there. And

Aaron Conant 41:31

no, it was all around, you know, you know, staff augmentation? And how much is it helping out?

Brian Gresh 41:36

That's, yeah, it's a it's a really good question. For people I think it's, it's, it's hard to measure. In that, if you're, if you're capturing somebody in the chatbot, it's very hard to know whether or not that saved a phone call. So the way we look at it is his overall call volume going down. And we do see measurable reduction in call center, but it's but it's not always a perfect science. Because sometimes people will come in, you can't measure that call, or if somebody goes to that call center, unless you're using some sort of tracking mechanism to bring them back to the chatbot. You can't You can't necessarily create that attribution. But I would say Generally, we do see reduction in call centers. And the other the other key component that we haven't talked a lot about, we've been focusing on chatbot. But I think especially in healthcare live chat, is a really is a really important piece of the puzzle because healthcare is complicated. chatbots can't answer every question. If you can support a live chat component, chat bots can do a really good job of directing or doing warm handoffs to live chat agents when when conversations escalate.

Aaron Conant 42:57

Yeah, Tom, I can see you nodding your head. You've seen live chat, you know, kind of the combination of the two, you're launching the two together?

Tom Hileman 43:04

Yeah, I think it's it's to Brian's point, it's using what each are good for, right? So I think about staff augmentation. If you have a fixed finite set of people who can answer the phone, would I rather than be giving out phone numbers for people to call or doing some basic activities about finding doc or scheduling? Or would I want them to hire and ask questions and answers in advising. And so I think when I think about it, I think that the chat bots do a great job of handling kind of what I call basic blocking and tackling communications and interactions, then they free the humans up to either do live chat and or phone calls. And I think to Brian's point is, the live chat is very good, very effective, for those high those higher complexity interactions. And so when I think about how to i, from an enterprise perspective, I'd want the chat box to maximise around the blocking and tackling that, and that may increase over time, as Brian says, as it learns more and it can answer better, right? But handling those basic questions and taking that 10 or 20% of those questions off the call center, either handled via live chat or in person, and they handle the higher complexity. If you can achieve both of those things, I think then you've done a really good job of putting a solution in

Brian Gresh 44:23

place. And one of the things that that Tom mentioned earlier in the conversation was the idea of of data or structured data on the back end. And we haven't really talked a lot about kind of how the chatbot functions, but certainly, the more access to data the chat bot has, the better it can do at answering questions. And so that's not just conversational data. But that could be access to a patient record, access to billing data access to provider data. We tie in and do integrations with a lot of different back end systems. So You know, the more you can feed that chatbot, the more can answer. So we do things like one example, appointment confirmations. So we work with a one health system that, you know, during during COVID. And when vaccinations were being rolled out data, huge amount of appointments for vaccinations, people were, were calling back the call center, because they would forget when their appointment was, and so they just had all this volume coming in just to confirm appointment, we did a tie into epic, just around appointment confirmations, people who just asked the chatbot, they would have to give like three pieces of information, and they'd get their confirmation through the chat bot, and we took all that volume off the call center, so but you have to be able to tie into it. And that's that's another really important piece of the puzzle.

Aaron Conant 45:53

I think the other piece of staffing and, Tom, I think you're hitting on that a little bit, right was, there's not necessarily if you go with a live chat, you know, there's, you know, there's that flow over that, you know, the chat bot has, you know, opened up some, you know, space or, you know, time of the day for, you know, the the call center team, to, you're not gonna have to add on a bunch of people. I think that's a concern that's out there. If I go with a live chat, which I need to, like we just talked about, you've got chatbot, he's a kick over to something and maybe it's a live chat if it you know, like Brian, you're saying at the beginning, right, if it gets, you know, with the regulatory question that came in, well, do I have to hire more people for this? And, you know, is that seems like, No, not necessarily. Tom, what do you see in that space? What do you see people hiring?

Tom Hileman 46:49

No, I mean, I think people, reallocating, within existing staff so that they have I mean, the thing is, we, I don't know how much more scale we're going to get from kind of a headcount and a number of people in the departments, you can justify them. But today, given some of the Labor shortage is everywhere, it's hard. It's even if you can get the additional requisitions. It's hard to kind of pay that off with people. So I think it's really to be smart about how we're leveraging our existing resources, and where we're putting their their efforts at, I think is how I would frame it. Aaron, I just think that you would need additional headcount help? Of course, it would, it certainly would help in the call center would certainly help to staff more chat, certainly would help for a lot of things. But I don't think we can go in with that expectation, I think we ought to get the expectation that from a headcount perspective, we're going to be neutral. And then how can we leverage these investments to create time by automating some of the mundane tasks? Or the repetitive tasks to the chatbot? It's kind of it's kind of how I would look at that.

Brian Gresh 47:49

Yeah, and we see most of our clients are not hiring additional folks. They're cross training, and providing those those opportunities for people to dedicate, you know, either to the phone or to, or to a live chat conversation. I think interesting. Interestingly enough, we, we measure satisfaction rate of agents, and overwhelmingly they prefer to be on live chat than on the, on the phone. And they can handle more conversations at once as well. So it's, it's pretty interesting, when you give them the opportunity, they they tend to go down that road.

Aaron Conant 48:24

I mean, that's, you know, in reality, not super shocking with, you know, if you look at demographics, they they chat, you know, they text all the time, right, there's that nonverbal communication that they love to just quickly respond, you know, to anybody at any time. Are there? So we've got just a few minutes left here. Is there anything you know that you know about Brian, first than others, like key things you thought would come up today that didn't that come up routinely that are top of mind for you, or you're looking at or maybe something new that's coming down the pipe?

Brian Gresh 48:57

I, it was interesting there there. We didn't really talk about dialogue development. And kind of get, I mean, that's a little bit getting into the nuts and bolts. But, you know, I think when you're thinking about staffing around a chatbot implementation, you have to think about this as another vehicle of content delivery. conversational engagement, requires content. And you either have to have that supported with the vendor, or you have to do it yourself. So it's just a consideration when you're when you're thinking about that, and I think it's, you know, it is a lot, it's a lot of work. So it's not something you you can go into, you know, without without making sure you have the resources, you know, set up for it. So I just, I would add that in if anyone's considering going down this road to think about that.

Tom Hileman 49:52

Yeah, I would add on to that. I mean, I think I was actually gonna say the same thing where I think when you think about how do you train the chat bots, I think about some of the writing. And the content needs for chat bots are slightly different than the kinds of the right for end users and for, for your general marketing or communications purposes. So what I think one of the things that people don't often consider is that the dialogue development issue, as you call it, Brian is pretty is is very important. And it's not necessarily a skill that most in house staffs have. So they need a partner of someone to help them with that. so easily, we get a little bit into the nuts and bolts of NLP and how that stuff works. So that's not what we have today. But I think that's certainly a key area of it. And the other thing, I think some of those questions are, well, how do you integrate chatbots with all these tools like epic and provider directories and things like that, that usually comes up when I'm talking about chatbots? Because that's part of the power, as Brian alluded to one of the examples about confirming appointments, there's a lot of power of connecting the chat box in this new data sources.

Brian Gresh 51:00

Yeah, and that that probably goes back to the overall kind of technology selection. And, you know, I think people should know that. There's, there's a lot of chatbot frameworks out there. And they're really designed is more like empty shells, that you have to kind of program that intent library, the dialogues, all of those kind of pieces, and then do some of the integration work that Tom mentioned into all these back end systems. So there's, there's really that kind of buy it or build it choice as well that comes with it, you you can certainly build a chatbot. But it's just like building a website and all the other pieces that go along with it, you you really have to decide do you have the resources to do that? Or is this a is this more of a partnership opportunity? So just another really important consideration?

Aaron Conant 51:49

Yeah, love it. You know, Tom, kind of like final key takeaways here. As we wrap it up, we probably got about, you know, a minute left. We'd love to hear your thoughts here. You know, kind of wrap this up is we we wind down this this conversation. I'm sure we'll have more in the future, for sure. But

Tom Hileman 52:07

thank you, and thanks for having me. And Thanks, Brian, for being on today. I think if I wrap it up in 60 seconds or so, I would think about when conversational marketing is extremely powerful. If we think about the options that we have as marketers, never we've been able to have a more interactive conversations that are not in a technology way than we do today. So I think I think that tools provide a tremendous opportunity for us. I think we need to think as marketers, what problem or problem or set of problems are we trying to solve, and then make sure we have the right technology. And as Brian alluded to the right content, and integrations to support that. I think those are some of the key things to think about about leveraging these tools. To me brands right on point you buy versus build. My experience, the building is difficult if you're if you're not fully invested, and have all the full resources and know how to write the content. And there's a plethora of really great solutions out there for this. So I would think about the problem you have in front of you think about the resources and how you might solve it, and how would you solve it in a scalable way. And I think chatbots and live chat are a tremendous set of tools to do that. Thanks for having us here.

Aaron Conant 53:20

Yeah, absolutely. Thanks, Brian. Thanks, Tom. And, you know, thanks, everybody who doubt and thanks for the great questions. You're looking for more information on this subject across the board. Don't hesitate to reach out to Brian or to Tom put time on their calendars for sure their resident experts in this space but also great friends, partners, supporters of a lot of different organizations in the network as a whole and come highly recommended. So it'll be 100% be worth your time and encourage everybody to have that follow up conversation. With that we're going to kind of wrap it up here. hope everybody has a fantastic Tuesday everybody, take care, stay safe and look forward to having you on a future event. Thanks again, Brian. Thanks again, Tom. You guys are awesome.

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