The communication methods, platforms, and devices available to modern businesses and consumers are numerous and diverse.

Having all of these tools immediately accessible can be both a blessing and a curse. We frequently find ourselves multi-tasking, tangled in a web of group chats, email chains, video conferences, and social media updates. Sometimes this web makes us models of efficiency, accomplishing and communicating more in a day than people just 25 years ago could ever imagine.

However, this connectivity can also leave us feeling scatter-brained and totally disorganized. We find ourselves frantically searching our email box for that message we should have archived, or we never get that voicemail because we didn’t know our box was full, or we can’t take calls because we’re too busy texting five different people at once.

Connectivity sometimes seems to divide us.

The Advent of Unified Communications

When harnessed correctly, the same digital technology that leaves us fragmented can also bring together all the different components of our work and personal lives. Unified communications, or UC, is a concept that has developed over the last 25 years of communication innovation. It describes the integration of enterprise communication services such as instant messaging, telephony, conferencing, desktop sharing, and data sharing with non-real-time communications such as voicemail, email, SMS, and fax.

Unified communications allow a user to send a message from one medium and receive the same communication on another medium. For example, if someone receives a voicemail, a unified communications system permits that person to access the contents of the voicemail through email. A non-real-time message like an SMS can be viewed through a variety of other media, not just through one’s smartphone.

Unified communications optimize business processes and enhance communication by reducing latency, managing the flow of information, and eliminating device-specific dependency. They are especially enabled by Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, which essentially means digital telephony. Digital telephony has de-emphasized the importance of daily phone calls and made creating a single platform that provides mobility, presence, and contact to all the devices at a company’s disposal the hallmark of any good phone system.

A phone system that unifies business communications empowers each individual employee by providing them with tools to increase personal productivity. More importantly, the right phone system automates this productivity through well-designed programming. This automation streamlines the business process by identifying appropriate resources to be made available to an employee at the appropriate time.

Weave’s phone system conveniently integrates communication through features such as customer reviews, appointment reminders, appointment confirmations, and business texting. Let’s take a look at how each tool works within a unified system and how they benefit individual customers, employees, and your business as a whole.

Business Texting

With Weave’s system, business texting is more effective and personable than the generic and annoying reminder texts people receive from other businesses. Weave’s software allows a real dialogue to take place because it utilizes a two-way approach to texting. This conversation between patient and practice reaches across multiple platforms thanks to the unified nature of the system.

Many patients now prefer to communicate with their healthcare provider via text. They like having the ability to text because it makes the process of asking questions, confirming appointments, and scheduling future visits much more convenient. When customers feel comfortable in their communication process with a business or practice, they are more likely to continue to frequent that particular practice, helping the business build a strong clientele base.

Two-way texting also saves your practice massive amounts of time. Instead of having to place calls to individual patients, your staff can automate texting in order to reach out to large numbers of clients. Instead of being overwhelmed by the abrasive tone of a frustrated customer over the phone, office workers can calmly look up the answers to questions and then text back.

Additionally, texts are stored in the system’s database, giving practitioners the opportunity to monitor performance, analyze the effectiveness of their texting service, and discover new approaches to business communication.

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Appointment Reminders

Weave’s phone system allows you to determine exactly when reminders go out. The text template is easily modified, giving you the opportunity to customize reminder texts in as many unique and personable ways as desired. The integrated nature of the software empowers your business by spanning across all types of communication, from text to phone to email.

When customers are given the option to text, businesses encounter a much higher response rate than normal. Customers appreciate the convenience of being contacted in a timely and discreet manner. They also notice the subtle, personal gestures in reminder texts that can only be created by utilizing software designed to allow for various types of reminders.

Reminder texts work across many different industries, including dental, optometry, and medical practices, as well as other small businesses. Businesses find these reminder texts convenient because they enable them to automatically schedule the distribution of texts that they would otherwise only be able to send by phone, which takes a huge amount of time, or email, which often goes unnoticed by its recipients.

Appointment reminders go directly to a patient’s smartphone, almost certainly ensuring that the reminder will be seen. This style of communication dramatically increases the likelihood that a patient will stick with your practice and decreases setbacks like no-shows and general confusion about appointment times and locations. Plus, these reminder texts are HIPAA compliant, which means your practice can feel good about its customer communications and its adherence to medical code and ethics.

Appointment Confirmations

Weave’s system uses multiple touchpoints in one integrated approach to communications. It allows your business to schedule confirmation messages to be sent out two to three weeks before an appointment. If appointments continue to go unconfirmed, an additional confirmation call or text will be sent out two to three days before the appointment.

Customers enjoy this model because it saves them the time and hassle of having to call and check up on each of their appointments. They notice when your business takes the initiative to contact them. With this integrated approach, patients can read a confirmation text and respond anywhere, anytime. This ease of use keeps them from having to deal with a stream of reminders and prevents endless games of phone tag that are common with analog and unintegrated systems.

Businesses have a much higher success rate when their appointment confirmations are configured correctly through unified communications. Clients are already experiencing the benefits of integrated communications in other areas, and Weave brings these conveniences to the medical field. This means that you and your staff can also avoid phone tag when dealing with appointment confirmations.

Customer Reviews

Every practice should have a reputation management system that allows it to manage its online reviews. This type of system gives you the ability to brand your mentions and improve ratings on review sites. If the reputation management system is truly modern, it will enable you to collect reviews from customers, respond to reviews, and report fake or slanderous reviews.

Customer reviews are an incredibly popular resource; 92 % of customers use online reviews! What’s even more surprising is that most customers trust online ratings as much as they trust the personal recommendations of their family and friends. The majority of customers say online reviews help them gain trust in a business and decide to go with its services.

Businesses benefit from reviews because they show that their practice is legitimate and credible. Even when they are negative, reviews can show important company values, such as transparency, authenticity, and honesty. An integrated phone system allows your business to see reviews from multiple websites through one program. Notifications make it possible to respond quickly to customer reviews and learn from negative feedback.

Weave’s Unified Communications

The concept of unified communications has permanently altered the way businesses use their phone system. An integrated system brings together all aspects of communication, from basic telephony to texts to emails to conferencing to gathering market data. This process of integration is proven to increase a business’s productivity and revenues by making communication as simple and convenient as possible.

Weave’s phone system conveniently integrates communication by unifying texting, appointment reminders, appointment confirmations, and customer reviews, phones and more.

Two-way texting saves your staff and customers time by giving them an option besides plain old-fashioned telephone calls.

Appointment reminders improve your practice’s relationship with its customers by taking the initiative to reach out to them through personable and timely messages.

Appointment confirmations simplify the sometimes complex process of ensuring that your patients make it to their appointment by relying on an automated schedule designed to meet the needs of each individual client.

Finally, customer reviews managed through Weave’s integrated system can build your practice’s reputation across numerous websites while allowing you to view and regulate these reviews from one place.